Collective Intelligence

Dr. Norman Johnson, Chief Scientist of Referentia Systems participates in Risk Roundup to discuss Collective Intelligence.


What is collective intelligence and why does it matter to a digital global age and the imminent space age? For most of documented human history, collective intelligence was confined to small groups locally. In a digital global age, because of the advances in information, communication, digitization technologies, internet and more, we are now capable of having collective intelligence on a global scale, across all boundaries in cyberspace, geospace and space (CGS). To accommodate this shift in scale and the growing demand for transparency, collaboration and cooperation, there is a beginning of a global effort to build truly collaborative systems at all levels: local, national and global. In the coming years, the emerging collaborative collective intelligence systems will likely have a potential to dominate all processes across nations: its government, industries, organizations and academia (NGIOA).

Evolutionary Journey Towards Mutualistic NGIOA Symbiosis

The digital global age has brought a beginning of an end to nations living in isolation, and the beginning of nations living in an interconnected and interdependent global economy. This is a stepping-stone to the coming tomorrow of a space age.

Today, individuals and entities across NGIOA stand on the brink of a technological tsunami in CGS. This is fundamentally altering the way each component of a nation lives, works, and communicates to with another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the technology revolution triggered transformation across CGS is unlike anything NGIOA or humankind has experienced before in any of its prior technological revolutions.

The speed of the current ideas, innovations, technology and breakthroughs across CGS has no historical precedent and is fundamentally disrupting almost every component of a nation. In addition, the breadth, depth and impact of these changes herald the transformation of entire interconnected and interdependent systems of socialization, education, innovation, production, management, governance and more. While there is no way to calculate just how this information, communication and digitalization technology revolution or evolution will unfold, one thing is clear, the silos are breaking across NGIOA. It is important to evaluate further:

  • What impact will nations see because of imminent break down in silos?
  • As NGIOAs are evolving on the back of technology transformation, where is the collective NGIOA evolutionary journey going?
  • Is survival in a digital global age a case for cooperation at all levels of NGIOA?
  • Irrespective of CGS, is there a need for new systems, methodologies, frameworks tools and technologies that can remove the selfish behavior of individuals, entities, or any component of a nation?
  • Will this approach to collective NGIOA intelligence and evolution be considered for the design of desired collectives in terms of efficiency, equity, and sustainability?
  • What would bring necessary collective changes and transformation? Is it the causal elements of NGIOA working together, collaboratively, that will produce necessary changes and transformation?
  • Is there a need to take a more balanced view of this global reality and understand the emerging trend in the collective intelligence evolution cycle—that is towards mutualistic symbiosis?
  • How to overcome cultural resistance in all forms?
  • Is there a need for mutualism to stimulate and encourage this digital global age promise and journey to space age collectively?

Technology Transformation and Potential for Collective Systems

The advances in information, communication and digitization technologies, especially the internet, along with many others, now allow most connected individuals from across nations to work together in new innovative ways.  In addition, blockchain technology allows nations the digital infrastructure on which the global systems can be built. It is important to evaluate further:

  • Is the time now ripe for systems to benefit from collective intelligence?
  • How should we structure collective intelligence systems so that collectively, NGIOA can act more intelligently than any individual or entity?
  • What is the goal of collective intelligence? Why does it matter more today in cyberspace and space? Where is collective intelligence evolving?
  • What are the causes affecting collective intelligence?

Collective Risk Management System

Demand for transparency, collaboration and cooperation is increasing in a digital global age. In the face of this reality, it is important to evaluate whether few elected or selected decision makers across NGIOA can be trusted to make all decisions about risks from CGS and all its interconnections. The proposed CGS risk intelligence from the few versus collective NGIOA risk intelligence is a choice we as a society will need to make. It is important to evaluate further:

  • Will collective NGIOA risk intelligence play an effective role in how we manage our CGS risks?
  • What role individuals and entities across NGIOA can play in managing interconnected CGS risks?
  • Will there be a fundamental change in how we approach collective intelligence due to blockchain?
  • When we say we want to solve societal problems or NGIOA problems using collective intelligence, do we have what it takes in terms of determination?
  • What impact will we have of the making of a global risk brain?
  • Will we see the value in the Risk Roundup initiative and information structure as reflecting the collective CGS risk knowledge or collective CGS risk intelligence of a community of users?

Shared Organizations

At the rate technology is changing, no individual or entity across NGIOA can fully keep up in the innovations needed to compete. Instead, shared organizations are drawing on the power of global collaboration to involve collective participation of the decision makers. It is important to evaluate further:

  • Is there a rise of shared organizations for collective knowledge and intelligence sharing?
  • Are there new ideas being generated and explored by collaboration of cooperation of individuals and entities from across NGIOA creating opportunities outside the confines of entities or nations?
  • What applications of collective intelligence do we see currently across NGIOA?
  • How to build truly effective collective intelligence systems?
  • What does collective intelligence mean to different entities across NGIOA? What are the conditions that will lead to collective NGIOA intelligence?
  • What is the nature of collective intelligence that is enabled because of the computer code, connected computers, internet, information, communication and digitization technologies along with the blockchain technology?
  • How can individuals and entities across NGIOA be connected on internet so that collectively they act more intelligently than any individual or an entity has ever done before?
  • How many initiatives are there currently that qualify as collective intelligence initiatives?
  • What are the drivers that matter for collective intelligence?


Today, technology has democratized information and intelligence! Let us all embark on having individual and collective NGIOA goals to elevate the discussion on this critical topic of collective intelligence to move beyond self-serving ideology and sound bites and into the hearts and minds to shape the coming tomorrow in cyberspace, geospace and space. Let us be self-aware, conscious, informed, develop our minds and collectively evolve. Now is the time to talk about collective intelligence!

For more please watch the Risk Roundup Webcast or hear Risk Roundup Podcast

About the Guest

Dr. Norman Johnson has been active in pure and applied research programs nationally and internationally. He seeks to understand for the greater good: the interplay between top-down centralized structures and bottoms-up distributed processes – across all types of social structures from extended families to organizations to societies to natural systems. He sees collective organization through the lenses of social identity (awareness of us-versus-them), the tradeoffs between structure and options in evolving systems, and the power of emergent problem solving of diverse collectives – particularly as the source of all deep social change.

About Referentia

Referentia is a fast growing, high-tech company based in Hawaii with staff located internationally. They team with strategic partners in industry, government and academic worldwide to combine basic research with proven commercialization capabilities focusing on cyber security. Dr. Johnson as Chief Scientist provides leadership in Referentia’s strategic planning and development of new technology areas. As Principal Investigator (PI) he led two projects for developing disruptive technologies for human and malware threats for DARPA and ONR. He was also PI on the planning and analysis of the cyber experiments for PACOM J-85 (Terminal Fury), arguably the first repeatable, quantitative and scientific performance studies of network and host sensors on realistic network configurations and traffic.

About the Host of Risk Roundup
Jayshree Pandya (née Bhatt) is a visionary leader, who is working passionately with imagination, insight and boldness to achieve Global Peace through Risk Management. It is her strong belief that collaboration between and across nations: its government, industries, organizations and academia (NGIOA) will be mutually beneficial to all—for not only in the identification and understanding of critical risks facing one nation, but also for managing the interconnected and interdependent risks facing all nations. She calls on nations to build a shared sense of identity and purpose, for how the NGIOA framework is structured will determine the survival and success of nations in the digital global age. She sees the big picture, thinks strategically and works with the power of intentionality and alignment for a higher purpose—for her eyes are not just on the near at hand but on the future of humanity!
At Risk Group, Jayshree is defining the language of risks and currently developing thought leadership, researching needed practices, tools, framework and systems to manage the “strategic and shared cyber-security, geo-security and space-security risks facing nations today in a digital global age. She believes that the contested commons of cyberspace or space cannot be secured if NGIOA works in silo within and across its geographical boundaries in cyberspace, geospace and space. As security requires an integrated NGIOA approach with a common language, she has launched cyber-security, geo-security and space-security risk research centers that will merge the boundaries of geo-security, cyber-security and space-security.
Previously, she launched and managed “Risk Management Matters”, an online risk journal and one of the first risk publications, publishing “Industry Risk Reports of Biotechnology, Energy, Healthcare, Nanotechnology, and Natural Disasters” over the course of five years. Jayshree’s inaugural book, “The Global Age: NGIOA @ Risk”, was published by Springer in 2012.

About Risk Roundup

Risk Roundup, a global initiative launched by Risk Group, is an integrated cyberspace, geospace, and space (CGS) security risk dialogue for individuals and entities across nations: its government, industries, organizations and academia (NGIOA).

Risk Roundup is released in both audio (Podcast) and video (Webcast) format and is available for subscription at (Risk Group WebsiteiTunesGoogle PlayStitcher RadioAndroid, and Risk Group Professional Social Media).

About Risk Group

Risk Group is a strategic security risk research organization. It focuses broadly on the risks facing individuals and entities across nations: its governments, industries, organizations, and academia (in short referred to as NGIOA). Its approach is broad, encircling cyberspace, geospace and space (in short referred to as CGS). It firmly believes that collaboration within, between and across NGIOA will be mutually beneficial to all stakeholders across nations—for not only in the identification and understanding of critical CGS security risks facing one nation, but all nations.

Risk Group believes that risk management, security and peace walk together hand in hand. Though security is related to management of threats and peace to the management of conflict, risk management is related to management of security vulnerabilities as well as management of conflict, and it is not possible to conceive any one of the three without the existence of the other two. All three concepts feed into each other. Risk Group believes that the security we build for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for everyone across nations. Tradition becomes our security-so if we build a culture of managing risks effectively it will lead us to security and security will lead us to peace!

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