the power of collective cognition

Steven Poole in The Guardian:

Intelligence – at least according to IQ test scores – is declining across the globe, which won’t surprise anyone who follows the news but doesn’t exactly bode well for the continuing survival on the species. What to do? One suggestion made by this book is that we all connect our brains to neural interfaces which will collect everyone’s thoughts in a massive “super-brain cloud”, the better to sweetly reason ourselves collectively out of disaster. What could possibly go wrong? This isn’t yet feasible anyway, but it is an example of the neuroscientist author’s determined optimism. Her central argument is important and correct: that we have become too used to thinking of intelligence as the private skill of individuals, vying against one another in a neoliberal world of relentless competition. What is needed, especially in an age of irredentist warmongering and climate disaster, is a greater emphasis on our ability to reason together, our “collective intelligence”.

This has been possible, of course, since we gruntingly taught one another how to make flint tools around the cave fire. What does neuroscience add to our understanding of it?

More here.