What is collective intelligence?

Along with “generative AI,” the term “collective intelligence” has been making significant rounds in the business and tech arenas. While “collective intelligence” is becoming more widely discussed, it’s still not a common phrase and often needs explaining.

At ScaleHub, collective intelligence is the special sauce that combines the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and human intelligence (HI), plus the added scalability of a network of crowd contributors 2.3mil strong.

With the increased popularity of AI talk (thanks, ChatGPT), we want to shed more light on how collective intelligence has become a subject of fascination for the brightest minds in tech and on the powerhouse that is ScaleHub’s collective intelligence solution.

Did you know: In 2006, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) established it’s Center for Collective Intelligence (CCI) which has been at the forefront of research in this field ever since, uncovering ways that people and computers, when connected collectively, can act more intelligently than ever before. At ScaleHub, we’re applying this concept with our unique combination of AI and HI, enabling us to offer nearly unlimited scalability when it comes to data processing tasks like labeling, validation and verification.

Defining collective intelligence & uncovering its impact

Collective intelligence, as defined by CCI, refers to the ability of a group to achieve more intelligent outcomes through collaboration. Contemporary uses of collective intelligence can be anything from sites like Wikipedia—where there is diverse human input on a subject leading to efficient gathering of information, alongside AI to detect and remove vandalism, and to automatically translate articles—or Google’s robot check “reCAPTCHA” that asks you to identify how many street light images there are in order to determine that you’re not a bot at the same time of training its image recognizing technology.

The CCI’s Handbook of Collective Intelligence draws from disciplines like computer science, biology, management, economics, and social psychology, to identify shared research challenges and methodological perspectives. The result is a comprehensive overview of collective intelligence’s theoretical foundations and practical applications.

Maintaining the balance of collective intelligence: AI & crowdsourcing

ScaleHub was founded on the principle of utilizing the best of AI and HI. While each has its strengths (and shortcomings), when combined in the right way, AI and HI can accomplish far more when deployed together. The CCI highlights this interdependence related to crowdsourcing in their handbook:

“Why does crowdsourcing need AI? Crowdsourcing is an effective medium for congregating a large set of workers (usually virtually) who assist with a common goal. This allows for creative new applications that use the wisdom of crowds or the round-the-clock availability of people. At the same time, the sheer volume of tasks, and highly varying skills and abilities of workers typically make it infeasible to manually manage task allocation as well as quality control. Moreover, the design of crowdsourced interfaces and workflows to accomplish a new task remains cumbersome and expensive.”

The CCI’s handbook then provides a “long-term vision of AI for crowdsourcing”:

“A long-term vision of AI for crowdsourcing is to enable optimal design of workflows and engagement of task instances, thereby making crowdsourcing platforms highly efficient, saving thousands of man-hours and millions of dollars, and also making crowdsourcing really easy to use for a novice requestor. AI is a natural fit for this vision because, in general, AI algorithms are great at building models, drawing inferences, and detecting outliers from the data. They are also effective in taking decisions in uncertain environments towards maximizing an objective.”

While this may be CCI’s “long-term vision,” ScaleHub has already brought this vision to life: by combining AI and crowdsourcing. In document processing, data extraction and data labeling, AI and crowdsourcing alone are only efficient to a certain level. But by combining the efficiency of AI with the unique skill set of HI, businesses are able to scale and speed up their business processes effortlessly. This mindset is how we create unlimited scalability while maintaining a high accuracy rate (99.x%) and bridging the gap to 100% automation rates.

Harnessing the power of collective intelligence

By combining AI and a global crowd, ScaleHub’s solutions tackle the processing of large volumes of business documents efficiently, accurately, and in full compliance with data privacy regulations. Moreover, our solution also eliminates language barriers—our specialist crowds are located around the globe and our services are available in more than 160 languages, including character-based languages like e.g. Japanese.

Exploring the power of the crowd

If we piqued your interest in collective intelligence and you’re looking for more resources on the subject, we recommend delving deeper into this topic by exploring the Handbook of Collective Intelligence.

Curious about how collective intelligence can positively impact your business in practical ways? Contact us today and see how your business can leverage collective intelligence to clear up the document-centric bottlenecks in your organization.

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