Crowdsourcing opinions, information or small chunks of work from large numbers of people is helping tackle challenges as varied as training AI to predicting floods.8 Citizen science projects engage the general public to help scientists to collect and analyse data, and even to develop new theories. Open innovation platforms like Kaggle and InnoCentive make it possible for companies to outsource engineering challenges to independent experts. And deliberative democracy is being used to involve everyday citizens in political decision-making in countries such as Taiwan.9
Technology is already crucial to these projects, but there are growing efforts to augment them with new tools to enhance the CI of large groups. These include better means of gathering and visualising data, collaborative mapping technologies and open source repositories of information and tools. AI is also playing a growing role in facilitating CI by filtering and summarising complex data, organising human knowledge, helping to connect experts, and optimising deliberative processes.10 CI may ultimately incorporate both humans and AI agents working together, though this would require major breakthroughs in AI technology.
Decentralisation technologies such as blockchain and quadratic voting are also opening up new avenues for enhancing CI.11 In particular, decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs) could help run organisations in a distributed and non-hierarchical fashion.12 The technology is still in its infancy, but could eventually provide ways to organise anything from local energy systems to finance bodies in more collaborative and inclusive ways.