Hive Mind

Smart together

Hive mind describes various kinds of shared intelligence. The term is derived from the social phenomenon that describes the group intelligence of many, rather unintelligent individuals such as bees. In practice, it means that the result of group work exceeds the sum of individual work.

The term is also often used in science fiction to refer to a unified consciousness or intelligence formed by several alien individuals. An example of this would be the Borg in the popular Star Trek franchise. Whilst neurons in the human brain act like a hive mind, humans obviously do not have the ability to form a hive mind with other humans.

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Shared Intelligence in Action

Hive minds have been scientifically observed a number of times by asking several people to guess the weight of an object or animal. Whereas the individual estimates more or less missed the actual weight, the average was nearest to the actual result. Crowdsourcing makes use of this fact. Crowdsourcing also compiles the knowledge of many to create a mutual information database.

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Hive Mind Variations

Collective Consciousness

Collective consciousness is a set of shared beliefs, morals and ideas that are shared within a society. Overall, it refers to a shared understanding of what is normal in society rather than a specific moral compass. This is a also more traditional explanation of the term. More modern examples would be shared experiences, memes, and solidarity in certain matters. Examples of this kind of thinking depend on what area of society is looked at. Society is comprised of varying groups from families to organizations all the way up to nations. The shared experiences of these groups will have an effect on their ideas of what is right and normal.

Collective Intelligence

Also known as group intelligence this variation stems from collaboration, crowdsourcing, and collective efforts. It’s also seen in collective decision making and peer reviews. When used in projects and marketing this kind of intelligence is based on a network of trust. This network has three main components that work together: Groups of Experts, hardware and software, and data, information, knowledge. The application of these three factors would be referred to as collective intelligence.


This is a psychological phenomenon that happens when a group of people desire for confirmity or harmony. A strong urge for cohesion may make a group agree on something at all costs despite it possibly being wrong or even irrational. At its worst, this way of thinking can be seen as cult behaviour. For this kind of thinking to happen the group has to actively avoid raising any issues or alternative ideas and simply agree with the crowd. This can also be heightened by peer pressure, time limitations or even threats and result in the group all thinking in the same way with no disagreements.

Herd Mentality

These groups of people are sometimes referred to as “sheeple” a mix of the words “sheep” and “people”. This refers to the passive, herd-like behaviour of some groups of people. Therefore, groups are easily manipulated or controlled, often by higher or government powers. Likewise, they tend not to question anything and simply believe any information they are given because the rest of the group doesn’t question it either.

Swarm Intelligence

Often used in AI systems, this variation is the collective behaviour of natural or artificial self-organized systems. In nature, this kind of intelligence can be seen in bees, ants, animal herding, bacteria and bird flocking. Human swarming can be formed via the creation of real-time networks of distributed users. An example of this was a study by Stanford University. Doctors connected by real-time swarming algorithms were able to diagnose conditions with a much higher rate of success and individual doctors.

Universal Mind/Egrecore

The universal mind is a metaphysical or spiritual concept. This suggests that there is an underlying force within all beings and in the universe. Discussed by philosophers since 480 BC, it is believed to be true by some to this day. Egrecore is an occult concept that represents a physical entity bourne from the collective thoughts of a group. Such entities are often referred to as angels, watchers, or guardians. In addition, a more modern belief is that this relates to when a group comes together with the same ideas due to a common purpose in life.