DAEJEON, Dec. 20 (Korea Bizwire) — A big data analysis has showed that a select few can easily dominate public opinion.
The Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information (KISTI) announced on Wednesday that it had verified the regularities surrounding the formation of collective intelligence by studying the development process of online encyclopedias, journals, and patents.
Collective intelligence is shared or group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration, collective efforts, and competition of many individuals and groups.
The emergence effect, which argues that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, begins with collective intelligence.
Wikipedia or other open source projects are classic examples of collective intelligence. Collective intelligence, however, is vulnerable to fake news that has been spreading through online channels.
The research team sought to understand the issue by using complex methodologies to track down the process within the massive collective intelligence.
The success of the research depended on finding regular patterns within very complex streams of data.
The research team first looked into the development patterns of 863 Wikimedia projects written in 273 languages, which showed that the development process slowed down as time passed, due to the shrinking number of new contributors.
The team named this phenomenon the ‘monopoly effect’.
The team then moved on to quantify the inequalities among contributions by measuring the Gini Index, which led them to discover that the monopolistic influence of the few began controlling most behaviors of other contributors, the so-called ‘monopolization effect’.
As more intelligence was accumulated, the level of inequality in terms of creating intelligence increased.
Monopoly groups appeared in the early stages of creating collective intelligence, constantly affecting entire phases of intelligence formation. It was more or less impossible for new contributors to join the monopoly squad.
Based on their findings, the research team built an agent-based model to recreate the asymmetric emergence effect. The model clearly shows that the accumulation of knowledge leads to stronger monopolization.
Similar phenomena have also been observed offline. Academic journals and patents tended to depend more heavily on fewer researchers in countries with larger stocks of academic publications and patents.
Paradoxically, online encyclopedias, conventionally known for easier access and contribution, tended to be more exclusive and more vulnerable to monopolization than offline journals or patents.
“Lower entry barriers and lighter restrictions can mean more exposure to monopolization,” said Yun Jin-hyuk, a researcher at KISTI. “With the current state of affairs, online intelligence is most likely to be distorted by the few.”
The study was published in the online edition of Nature Human Behavior on Tuesday.
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)