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Scenius Gardens Digest No. 1

An exercise in collective intelligence


Over the last few months, a group of us have come together to discuss and explore how collective intelligence can improve our individual productivity and sensemaking capabilities, and how such collective intelligence can best be cultivated by open, stigmergic practices.

How can we structure regular meetings to be energizing and inspiring, a time to learn about cool new things and get valuable feedback, rather than a time on our schedule we are obligated to sit through?

How do we want to go about identifying our areas of alignment, and what products, if any, we want to emerge from our collective efforts? How can we plan such things without endless logistical considerations which threaten to fatigue everyone before we even get started?

One thing we quickly discovered is our collective awareness of projects and resources holds valuable answers to many of our individual questions, and the facilitation of this knowledge can be a solid basis for our continued association, involving minimal levels of commitment or cognitive overhead.

One idea was to collectively curate some encapsulation of these discussions, and the various digital artifacts exchanged along the way, hence the creation of this publication: an irregular digest from a sensemaking scenius.

This first issue will set the stage for future issues, planting the seeds which may develop into more substantive scenius projects. To set the tone, we share our thoughts on the broader digital information space called the "internet" through the lens of metaphor.

A Game of Sense

As an exercise in collaborative sensemaking, Kristen and Dave designed a simple game of sense: a prompt-and-response social game.

The prompt was inspired by a diagram from Joy illustrating a lineage of common metaphors for the internet: files/folders -> super highway -> web -> universes:

Prompt: What is your experience of the internet of universes and the evolution of how we got here? Do you prefer another metaphor for navigating / organizing information online?

Ronen tapped into stigmergy, asking if we could view our digital annotations as social trails left across the web.

Marc shared the internet as layers of the earth, referencing Maggie Appleton's visual-perspective on the Dark Forest and the Cozy Web.

Gabriel described the web as a system of interconnected paths, with browsers as compasses or maps.

Charles explored the internet as community wisdom garden, one to be tended and nurtured as a collective.

Tom went modular and composable, looking at component parts of the web at different scales.

Glenn imagined the internet as a body through the lens of cells, tissues, and organs.

Jon embraced the metaphor of the internet of universes, and all of the different contexts of the internet that have shaped his life.

Dave envisioned the web as a global brain, complete with biofeedback systems, emotional intelligence and mind gardens.

Kristen navigated the web as an ever expanding universe, an expanse of latent space we move through looking for cosmic islands of solid ground.

What about you? What metaphor do you think best describes the internet? Feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

Recommended Reading

From Inside the Scenius

The following writings were published by members of this group:

From Outside the Scenius

Active Projects

Glenn is working on Catalog, a space for book people.

Kristen and Dave are working on Tanaki, an AI character for developing friendships powered by the Lingonberry Friend System.

Thomas is working on Bundlr, for publishers, creators, curators and readers to create their news & information space.

Ronen and Shahar are working on Sensemaking Networks, an upgrade of social media designed for scientists and other knowledge workers, combining AI and decentralized semantic nanopublishing.

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