In 2005, the term “Harnessing Collective Intelligence” (HCI) was coined by Tim O’Reilly to help understand how to harness the collective intelligence to make web 2.0 applications even better. It is one of six basic principles in Web 2.0 which is a second-generation web-based technology and service.
Web 2.0 is designed in a way, so as to help collaboration and sharing between users. It is a communication medium platform that is user-centered, decentralized and collaborative. It sees users as co-producers, co-creators and co-developers. In Order to make HCI happen, the software/spplication developers need to develop the software which can create an architecture of participation to involve users to participate in both implicitly and explicitly. For example, building an online encyclopedia (Wikipedia) which provides a platform for harnessing people to perform specific tasks like capturing and sharing contents.
Web 2.0 is all about HCI which is the heart of Web 2.0. According to Dion Hinchcliffe, there are 5 Ways to Harness Collective Intelligence, (1) Be The Hub of a Hard to Recreate Data Source, (2) Seek Collective Intelligence Out, (3) Trigger Large-Scale Network Effects, (4) Provide a Folksonomy and (5) Create a Reverse Intelligence Filter. Wikis, blogs and social networking applications such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are the examples of a platform with Collective Intelligence (CI) that encourage user-generated content.
Wikipedia is well known and the most widely used wiki software/website. It is also an excellent example of CI with explicit user participation (voluntary contribution system). It is a new form of open publishung online that can be edited by anyone with access to the posts. It is an online peer to peer collaborative multilingual and the biggest multilingual free-content encyclopedia on the Internet, with 15 million articles in over 240 languages [Wikipedia, 2010]. The extensive use of hyperlinks and simple user contributions usage model (an input field and an edit/save button) make it so popular. It enables content to be generated and up-linked by all who choose to participate. As well, it encourages users to become the content producers to edit or correct other users’ existing posts.
Quick and Easily Done Wiki (QEDWiki) is smiliar to Wikipedia that has “Harnessing Collective Intelligence” attribute. It is an application wiki which is a browser-based assembly canvas used to create simple mashups. This application was built by IBM. The following is an introduction video clip which shows how QEDWiki works.
In conclusion, HCI is changing the relations between producers and consumers of media. It helps users to paricipate with applications and create more valuable and meaningful content. Without users’ interaction, all of Web 2.0 application may not have existed or could be worthless.
Hinchcliffe, D. 2006. 5 Ways to Harness Collective Intelligence.
Retrieved March 7, 2010 from : http://web2.socialcomputingjournal.com/five_great_ways_to_harness_collective_intelligence.htm
Ogbuji, U. 2007. Real Web 2.0: Wikipedia, champion of user-generated content.
Retrieved March 7, 2010 from : http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/web/library/wa-realweb4/
Wikipedia. 2010. Wikipedia.
Retrieved March 7, 2010 from : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia