All Intelligence is Collective Intelligence

Published in Journal of Multiscale Neuroscience, 2023

Recommended citation: Falandays, J. B., Kaaronen, R. O., Moser, C. J., Rorot, W., Tan, J., Varma, V., … Youngblood, M (2023). All Intelligence is Collective Intelligence. Journal of Multiscale Neuroscience, 2(1), 169-191.

Collective intelligence, broadly conceived, refers to the adaptive behavior achieved by groups through the interactions of their members, often involving phenomena such as consensus building, cooperation, and competition. The standard view of collective intelligence is that it is a distinct phenomenon from supposed individual intelligence. In this position piece, we argue that a more parsimonious stance is to consider all intelligent adaptive behavior as being driven by similar abstract principles of collective dynamics. To illustrate this point, we highlight how similar principles are at work in the intelligent behavior of groups of non-human animals, multicellular organisms, brains, small groups of humans, cultures, and even evolution itself. If intelligent behavior in all of these systems is best understood as the emergent result of collective interactions, we ask what is left to be called “individual intelligence”? We believe that viewing all intelligence as collective intelligence offers greater explanatory power and generality, and may promote fruitful cross-disciplinary exchange in the study of intelligent adaptive behavior.

Download paper here