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21st April 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM BST
This Galvanised seminar addresses the opportunities that collective behaviour and collective intelligence may offer for addressing a wide range of social and political issues. In keeping with the dual science/arts theme of Galvanised, the seminar will be presented by a biological scientist and a social and political scientist. Collective behaviour evolved in animals and serves many functions ranging from increasing safety (fish schooling) through to attachment (such as in primate groups). In humans, collective intelligence has been shown, experimentally, to solve certain problems much faster than individual action, strikingly in Riley Crane’s successful crowd-sourcing framework that won the Red Balloon challenge set by DARPA in 2009. New collective intelligence methods are increasingly and widely used in science, business and government, sometimes combined with artificial intelligence. Many other examples of the concept of “Big Mind” will be offered by our two speakers, along with the limitations of such approaches.
Professor Iain Couzin was born and brought up in Edinburgh. He is now a Director of the Max-Planck Institute of Animal Behavior and the Cluster of Excellence ‘Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour’ (University of Konstanz), a National Geographic Explorer and a 2023 Rothschild Distinguished Fellow at the University of Cambridge. His work aims to reveal the fundamental principles that underlie evolved collective behaviour, and consequently his research includes the study of a wide range of biological systems, from neural collectives to insect swarms, fish schools, primate groups and human crowds. He has been the recipient of various high-profile awards. In 2022 he received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize—Germany’s highest research honour.
Professor Sir Geoff Mulgan (University College London) argues that collective intelligence, prompted in part by a wave of digital technologies, has the potential to address and perhaps help solve some of the great challenges of our time. He served as Director of Policy and later as Director of the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit in Downing Street under Tony Blair, and before that as the co-founder of the Demos ‘Think-Tank’. He was Chief Executive of the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA), advises governments around the world, and is now a Professor at UCL. He is an editor in chief of the journal Collective Intelligence. His most recent book is ‘Another World is Possible’ (Hurst/OUP)
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