Pyramidal collective intelligence applies to large human organizations that operate through centralized decision making processes applied to top-down chains of commands.
Pyramidal collective inteligence operates as a pyramidal setting of original collective intelligence clusters, as expressed in this diagram.
This shortlist will get updated regularly.
- A centralized power structure controled by a few individuals
- Division of labor: fragmented tasks allow the distribution and optimization of work
- A chain of command: that distributes the execution of tasks in a top-down way
- A culture based on authority
- Casts and social classes
- Standards and norms
Most decision making and governance belong to a few persons at the top of the social edifice (governments, board of directors, concils, committees, etc). In many cases one single individual personifies the entire organization: CEO, President, Général, Pope, General, Ministry, Supreme Commander, King and Queen, etc.
Division of labor
The complexity and variety of tasks and skills that emerged through history naturally lead to division of labor. It also allowed to make people interchangeable for a similar work. Division of labor has optimized the distribution of tasks, making pyramidal organizations extremely efficient and goal oriented.
An immediate corollary, the division of access to information, establishes a context opposed to holopticism called panopticism – controlled and partitioned information. Panopticism means that people from a central point of view can see and control other people. Check Wikipedia article.
Chain of command
A chain of command means that orders get transmited and executed from top to bottom, with division of labor that allows the distribution, fragmentation and specialization of tasks.
In order to exist, authority requires a specific social dynamics sustained by culture. It can emerge from divine right, by filiation, by merit, by expertise, by law, by cast, by diplomas, etc… No matter the legitimating principle, authority institutes a pawl effect, a dissymmetry in the information transmission between the emitter and the receiver. Authority works hand in hand with chains of command. It determines the rules, assigns rights and prerogatives, organizes the territories (and thus labor division), and distributes wealth (usually by means of money).
An authority-based pyramidal society doesn’t need to have an authoritarian political or social model. Authority can hide in ontological structures (see invisible architectures, i.e. the way society sees and builds its social reality through language.
Name, profession, qualification, wealth, facts, misdemeanors, caste and lineage position an individual in the social landscape. Whether we speak about casts in the early forms of pyramidal collective intelligence, or social classes in modern industrialized countries, social fabric operates via complex stratification of social hierarchical categories.
Scarcity generates channels of allegiance from those who need toward those who have. It naturally catalyzes the hierarchies of pyramidal collective intelligence. This phenomenon of hierarchization is strongly accelerated by the Pareto effect (the more we have, the more we earn). Hence scarcity belongs to the DNA of pyramidal collective intelligence.
The most common mean of organized scarcity has existed through currency. Money is historically a social convention and an information system made to allow the market to function. It serves as a medium of exchange and a store of value. Unlike what many people believe, scarcity is not an inherent quality of money, but an artificially maintained property.
Standards and norms
Standards and norms allow the interoperability of parts and artifacts within the collective. Electronic components, pieces of machinery, software code, all have a ‘jointing pattern’ made to chain their added value and build more complex functional sets.
Standards and norms don’t operate exclusively through pyramidal collective intelligence. However, in a scarcity based economy, they serve as mechanisms of control and added scarcity by means of proprietarization.