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Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Climate Collaboratorium: Harnessing Collective Intelligence to Address Climate Change Issues

Mark Klein & Thomas Malone

Global climate change is perhaps the most pressing and important problem currently facing humanity. It is also unique by virtue of being a truly systemic problem of vast complexity: it affects every one of us, and is directly affected by every one of our actions. Like nothing else, dealing with climate change calls upon us to engage in effective collective decision making on a global scale.

The spectacular emergence of the Internet and associated information technology has enabled unprecedented opportunities for such interactions. To date, however, these interactions have been incoherent and dispersed, contributions vary widely in quality, and there has been no clear way to converge on well-supported decisions concerning what actions, both grand and ground-level, humanity should take to solve its most pressing problems.

The goal of this project is to address this important challenge through the creation of a new class of web-mediated discussion and decision making forum, called the "Collaboratorium." This system, currently under development, will use an innovative combination of internet-mediated interaction, collectively generated idea repositories, computer simulation, and explicit representation of argumentation to help large, diverse, and geographically dispersed groups systematically explore, evaluate, and come to decisions concerning systemic challenges.

See the article on this project in the summer 2007 issue of Innovations

Watch a You Tube movie that shows how the deliberation component of the Collaboratorium works

Read some recent articles in the press about the Collaboratorium:
--> New York Times climate blog, April 2008
--> climate blog, April 2008
--> Nature Network News, April 2008
--> Sloan Management Review, Spring 2008
--> MIT Technology Insider, Best of 2007 Special Edition

Read a working paper on the first pilot of the Collaboratorium's deliberation system

Read a short paper on the Collaboratorium by the project's lead researchers

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