Recently I was asked a couple of questions:
"Do you think the path to collective intelligence will be one that must be taken intentionally? Or can a collective intelligence emerge unintentionally?
After a collective consciousness emerges, must it necessarily be aware that it is a collective consciousness? Or, can a collective intelligence exist without being self-aware?"
My response is: the path towards collective intelligence need not be taken intentionally, since it already exists. One way to refer to it is as the 'collective unconscious'. All living species are inherently connected in varying degrees of subtlety. As human thought is becoming increasingly globalised, and awareness of distant events is reaching more people, the empathy and shared thoughts/emotions that this produces is all adding to this 'unintentional' collective intelligence. The thought forms that we emanate go towards the state of our collectivity. However, what I am saying is that an intentional awareness of collective intelligence is more affective and functional. Why? Because an intentional act carries with it more force, power, and effectiveness than a non-intentional action.
This may serve to answer some of the 2nd question. A collective intelligence can exist without being self-aware because, as stated, it already exists. Yet awareness fosters active participation. A collective consciousness does not require that all 'components' or 'members' are conscious, since a conscious entity produces an exponential effect, so only a few conscious 'nodes' or people can represent the many. This is why human history has progressed from the actions of a few...yet the agents of human history have mainly been conscious drivers/participants, or either the agents of conscious entities.
Our conscious evolution then will have a much more profound effect if we, as participants, are conscious of our participatory role.
Intention is a very important element.
An interesting book to read in reference to this is Peter Russell's 'The Global Brain Awakens'