Date of Original Version



Book Chapter

Abstract or Description

Human-computer interaction (HCI) works to understand and to design interactions between people and machines. Increasingly, human collectives are using technology to gather together and coordinate. This mediation occurs through volunteer and interestbased communities on the web, through paid online marketplaces, and through mobile devices.

The lessons of HCI can therefore be brought to bear on different aspects of collective intelligence. On the one hand, the people in the collective (the crowd) will only contribute if there are proper incentives and if the interface guides them in usable and meaningful ways. On the other, those interested in leveraging the collective need usable ways of coordinating, making sense of, and extracting value from the collective work that is being done, often on their behalf. Ultimately, collective intelligence involves the co-design of technical infrastructure and human-human interaction: a socio-technical system.

In crowdsourcing, we might differentiate between two broad classes of users: requesters and crowd members. The requesters are the individuals or group for whom work is done or who takes the responsibility to aggregate the work done by the collective. The crowd member (or crowd worker) is one of many people to contribute. While we often use the word “worker,” crowd workers do not have need to be (and often aren’t) contributing as part of what we might consider standard “work.” They may work for pay or not, work for small periods of time or contribute for days to a project they care about, and they may work in such a way as each individual’s contribution may be difficult to discern from the collective final output.


Crowdsourced drafts available from MIT:



Published In

The Collective Intelligence Handbook, Thomas W. Malone and Michael S. Bernstein (Editors).