A /r/Place of collective intelligence

When I’ve talked about collective intelligence in the past, it’s usually about how the internet is decentralising information systems and connecting individuals who, through open sources and sharing, add to the pool of knowledge and debate. It is often linked to the transitioning structure of society and information technologies and developing online networks.

But it doesn’t always have to be so dry. Sometimes, it can be creative!

Nothing illustrates collective intelligence (or collective imagination) better than Reddit’s ‘Place’:

“There is an empty canvas. You may place a tile upon it, but you must wait to place another. Individually you can create something. Together you can create something more.”

Reddit launched /r/Place on April 1 giving users one pixel, every five minutes to add to an interactive canvas with over a million contributors placing 16 million tiles in 72 hours.

The site’s communities – subreddits – banded together on the creative battleground to push their own cultural and political agendas by creating relevant images or destroying others. Did someone say propaganda?

In the time-lapse below, watch the American flag disintegrate and be rebuilt right at the end.


Even the big guys from The Australian couldn’t ignore the “collaborative, creative and unashamedly weird” work at Place.

My little piece below illustrates my joy when I realised the concept of collective intelligence could relate to something so fun.


2 thoughts on “A /r/Place of collective intelligence

Add yours

  1. Once again we see Don’t Hug me I’m Scared exploring and representing the society we live in… A fine meme indeed.

    I like to see someone focus on the positive creative implications of the internet and it’s capabilities, it is somewhat refreshing. Though we have seen some of the more ominous examples in class, like the co-ordinated Russian bombing in Syria, or the Hilary propaganda, both being made in real time, I think people can miss the point that this is one of the many ways that the open source possibilities of the internet can give repressed individuals power, and the ability to engage change, and impact upon their societies. This is extremely inspiring, and one of the key advantages of a pro-open source future for our internet.

    Anyway. Good and thoughtful post.
    Have a good evening.


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