The Hive Mind


Over the past few years, I've radically redesigned my approach to
learning. In the past, I memorized information. Now, I need to be a
knowledge navigator, not a repository of facts. I've delegated the
management of facts to the "Hive Mind" of the internet. With Web 2.0,
we're all publishers and authors. Every one of us can be instantly
connected to the best experts, the most up to date news, and an exobyte
multimedia repository. However, much of the internet has no editor, so
the Hive Mind information is probably only 80% factual – the challenge
is that you do not know which 80%.

Here are few examples of my recent use of the Hive Mind as my auxiliary brain.

was listening to a 1970's oldies station and heard a few bars of a
song. I did not remember the song name, album or artist. I did remember
the words "Logical", "Cynical", "Magical". Entering these into a search
engine, I immediately retrieved Supertramp's Logical Song lyrics. With
the Hive Mind, I can now flush all the fragments of song lyrics from my
brain without fear.

My daughter asked me a question from her
chemistry homework about calculating the mass of nitrogen gas gathered
over water. I did remember the ideal gas law (PV=nRT), but I did not
recall how to correct for the partial pressure of water using Dalton's
Law. One quick search for "nitrogen collected over water" yield sample
problem sets from colleges that refreshed my memory with all I needed
to know.

While writing, I'm constantly looking up words, concepts, maps, and dates. I know how to look for them and where to find them.

are a few times when the Hive Mind yields surprising results. I wanted
to learn more about the Stimulus Bill's "Healthcare IT Standards
Committee". I wanted to check out the "ARRA privacy timeline". Finally,
I was looking for information about the "healthcare CIO". All three of
these searches returned my own writing as the first hit. The blessing
and the curse of Web 2.0 is that blogs are the news and personal
opinions can become facts.

At the moment I have a balanced
separation between my own mind and the Hive Mind. However, as we
Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, I wonder if the separation between our
human mind and our network mind will blur.

I remember an Outer Limits episode Stream of Consciousness
(actually, I found it in Wikipedia by searching Google for "outer
limits episode stream") in which everyone in society is connected to
the "Stream" and shares a network connected existence based on information, not knowledge. In the end, the Stream is destroyed and mankind has to re-learn how to think for themselves.

As the closing dialog of that episode notes

make tools to extend our abilities, to further our reach, and fulfill
our aspirations. But we must never let them define us. For if there is
no difference between tool and maker, then who will be left to build
the world?"

Words to live by as we use the Hive Mind of the internet.

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DR. UZOMA GERALDINETaylor Wakefieldshahmurad65The healthcare guruAmy Lundberg Recent comment authors
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Taylor Wakefield
Taylor Wakefield

Check out Raymond Kurzweil’s book, “The Singularity is Near” or the blog “The Technium”. Interesting thoughts about the human and machine minds merging.


LAHORE MEDICAL & DENTAL COLLEGE Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics 5th Periodical Test (Chemotherapy) for 3rd year MBBS Date 8th April, 2009 Time allowed: 70 minutes Total marks 50 NOTE: Choose the best answer 1. An AIDS patient, who is being treated with multiple drugs, develops breast hypertrophy, central adiposity, hyperlipidemia, insulin resistance and nephrolithiasis. If these changes are related to his drug treatment, this drug belongs to which group of anti-retroviral drugs? a) Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTIS) b) Non-nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NNRTIS) c) Fusion Inhibitors d) Protease Inhibitors e) Integrase Inhibitors 1. A 35 year old HIV… Read more »


The questions are okay but what about their answers

The healthcare guru

It is this 80% which will provide new thoughts and innovation that will take us to tne next level of development. Quite often the experts go around the beaten path and idealogies – it is difficult to teach an old horse new tricks.
That is not to say that there could not be wrong information out there – but then how often we have seen 20% also issuing corrections!

Amy Lundberg

Great blog. Wonderful thought on the hive mind overall.

Dan McLaughlin

The hive interconnectivity is a challenge for those of us who teach health professionals. The traditional resources of textbooks, journal articles and case studies are now being supplemented (surpassed?) by on line resources.
I think those of us in the academy have an obligation to help John and others find the 80% that is true.
Dan McLaughlin
University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis MN

sue houck
sue houck

Wonderful insights. Hive mind puts a nicer name to what I thought was disorganized collections of information to which i want quick access but are too much to memorize e.g. a “best healthcare redesign” desktop folder with dozens of subfolder topics.
I immediately cut and pasted your pearl-laden first paragraph into a “great snippets” document on my desktop to which I’ll add others and read during computer hiccups.

Dr. Rick Lippin

Great topic
But as the cliche goes we are awash in the excesses information, lacking in knowledge and deeply devoid of wisdom. The miracle of the internet has contributed to this loss of wisdom.
Where to find and rekindle wisdom?- Poetry! – which of course is on the Internet but rarely read and even more rarely shared
Put it in your hive:)
Dr. Rick Lippin

Steve Davis

Interesting thoughts, John. Back in college, I used to worry about losing my calculator. Would I be able to revert to old-fashioned addition and subtraction? I guess the answer is having lots of paths to learn and lots of methods to tap the Hive, where all are important but none are critical.
I’d be interested in your thoughts about how the Hive Mind concept relates to organizational learning.