• July 14, 2015
  • Blog

GENERAL QUESTIONS

WHAT IS UNU? Simply put, UNU™ is a new social platform that unleashes the brainpower of groups. It allows people of common interest to form a Swarm Intelligence on any topic, to answer questions, make decisions, or just have fun tapping their collective wisdom.

WHO CAN UNU? Everyone!  In fact, the more people who join together in a real-time swarm, the more insightful the answers.  Currently, we’re still BETA TESTING so we are limiting the number of users who can join.  You can sign up for our Beta Program here.

WHY UNU? First, it’s a fun way to socialize online for groups of all kinds, from friends and colleagues, to complete strangers with common interests. UNU combines all the value of a traditional chat rooms with the ability to tap the Collective Intelligence of any group.  The output is fun, funny, and remarkably smart.

HOW DO I UNU? UNUM is structured like a traditional Chat site or Forum but instead of rooms or threads, user join “unums,” each being a unique swarm intelligence with its own views and perspectives.  Every unum has its own unique name and identity that can Tweet and Post to forums.  This allows groups harness to their collective wisdom and give it a voice within the social media world.

HOW SMART IS UNU? A merger of social networking and artificial intelligence, UNUM allows groups of users to form their own “intelligent swarms” that tap their combined knowledge, intuition, emotions, and insights.  Early testing shows that swarms can outperform experts in various fields.  We’ve seen UNU swarms predict the Oscars, the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup, and the NBA Finals with remarkable results.  To read see the results, follow our blog or download our latest paper here.

HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN UNU? Currently, each unique swarm can support up to 50 simultaneous users and plan to expand that number over time. At the same time, the UNU platform supports an unlimited number of simultaneous swarms, each of which is assigned a unique identity and history of questions and answers.  In this way, the UNU platform can support unlimited numbers of users, with intelligent swarms forming and dissolving to address whatever topics that users are interested in at the moment.

WHY SWARMS? It all goes back to the birds and bees.  After all, birds flock and bees swarm for a very important reason – to empower groups to reach heightened levels of performance, exceeding the abilities of any individual among them.  Inspired by the swarm2power of these natural systems, UNU was invented to do for people what millions of years of evolution has done for so many other species, from the birds and the bees, to fish and whales: allow us make decisions, together, as a real-time dynamic systems.  To learn more about the power of human swarms, read our latest short paper here.

WHY ARE SWARMS BETTER THAN POLLS? Swarms bring us together, while polls are polarizing. Polls identify our differences, but do little to help us find common ground. In contrast, Swarms are dynamic systems that use feedback loops to enable a real-time negotiation among the participants.  When swarming, users push and pull on each other until a solution is converged upon that maximizes group satisfaction. Swarms leverage a group’s combined knowledge, opinions, insights, and intuitions to unleash a unified collective intelligence that no poll could ever reveal.

CAN UNUM BE USED FOR RESEARCH? Absolutely.  Academics from major universities around the globe are already using UNU to explore the power and intelligence of human swarms.  To join our research-partner program, send an email to info@unanimousai.com.

BASIC INSTRUCTIONS

HOW DO WE ANSWER QUESTIONS?  When someone asks a question, it appears on everyone’s screen at the same time along with a set of possible answers. The group then works together to move the glass puck to the answer everyone can best agree upon. How does this happen?  Simple – every user can pull on the puck using a graphical magnet that’s controlled with your mouse or touchscreen.  You simply use the magnet to pull on the puck in the direction you want it to go.  Of course, everyone is doing the same thing, so the puck moves based on the collective will of the group, everyone working together as one.  The answer doesn’t reflect the views of any single individual, nor does it reflect the average views of the group – instead it reflects an emergent intelligence that develops from the complex interactions of the swarm in real time.

question hexHOW CAN I ASK QUESTIONS?  To ask a question, simply enter it in the dialog box at the top of the screen and click the ASK button.  In addition to entering your question, you can also indicate a set of answers.  You do that with the dropdown menu to the left of your question text.

ASK BAR

THE DROPDOWN MENU provides you with a number of standard sets of answers such as YES/NO and TRUE/FALSE, or you can define a RANGE OF VALUES the group will choose from, for example $0 to $1,000,000.  If none of these suit your needs, you can pick CUSTOM which allows you to enter your own choices around the hexagon.  Or if you want to leave the choices up to the group, you can pick SUGGESTION mode, which will ask the group to suggest the choices around the hexagon.

WHY WAS MY ASK BUTTON WAS REPLACED BY A TIMER? The Ask Timer is there to give everyone a chance to ask questions.  You see, in a large swarm, we can have situations where lots of people want to ask questions at the same time.  To avoid a bottleneck, every user gets a timer that indicates how long they need to wait to ask.

timer

Sometimes your timer puts you at the front of the pack, sometimes at the back, but it cycles through so everyone takes giving everyone a fair chance to have first crack at asking questions. We are working on additional methods to ensure that everyone has a fair and easy way to get their questions asked, especially in large swarms.

SCORES & CREDITS

WHAT IS BRAINPOWER? Whenever a swarm answers a question, UNU computes a score for the group called Brainpower (BP) that reflects how well the group worked together to find common ground.  Groups that converge quickly achieve high BP scores while groups that converge slowly, achieve a lower BP score.  And when a group fails to converge upon an answer at all (Brainfreeze), the BP score is 0%.  It’s important to note that BP scores for single questions don’t mean much, for some questions are just harder to converge on than others.  That said, the average BP score over time gives an indication of how efficiently a group pools their diverse knowledge, experience, opinions, and insights and converges upon solid answers.

WHAT ARE CREDITS? Credits are awarded for every question in which you participate. In the future, users will be able to spend credits on features and capabilities.  For example, in swarms where there are a lot of people wanting to ask questions, credits could be used to ensure everyone has a chance to ask questions. During Beta Testing, all questions are free to ask and credits cannot be spent.

HOW DO I EARN CREDITS?  Credits are awarded for answering questions, the more you contribute the more you earn.  If a group works well together and receives a high Brainpower score for its answers, extra credits are awarded to all the participants.  If the group has a Brainfreeze — it fails to reach an answer within the 60 second limit — all participants lose a few credits. This encourages all participants in the group to seek common ground.  You may also lose credits is if you ask a question the swarm deems is a “Bad Question” by the group.  This allows the swarm to police itself against deliberately disruptive or nonsensical questions.

WHAT ARE KUDOS? In addition to credits, special awards called Kudos are given to users who achieve particularly high levels of performance when contributing to answers.  In addition, Kudos are given to users who give “suggestions” that are selected by the swarm as the top answer.  Unlike credits, Kudos are earned but are never spent and thus indicate total user-performance over time. In the future we will unveil high-score boards that indicate which users have asked the most questions, been part of the most answers, and accumulated the most Kudos.

OTHER COMMON QUESTIONS

WHY THE TIME LIMIT? When using UNU, swarms are given only 60 seconds to answer each question. Academic research shows that answers given under time pressure are more likely to yield honest opinions and drive collaborative decision-making.  In addition, our testing shows that people enjoy the quick-moving, free-flowing conversation that comes from asking more questions .  Although we limit to 60 seconds, most swarms answer question much quicker than that.

WHY THE ASK-TIMER? Between questions, the Ask Button may be replaced by a timer and require users to wait for it to run down before they can ask a question. We do this to ensure that all users get a fair chance to ask questions of the swarm. Users who have just asked a question have extra time added to their timer. This creates a fair and enjoyable process for everyone.

HOW DOES THE MAGNET WORK? Every user controls their own magnet and uses it to pull on the puck. You can position your magnet with a mouse, touchpad, or touchscreen.  The closer your magnet is to the puck, the stronger your pull.  The process is easy and intuitive. You can get the feel of this by trying the “magnet practice app” here.

WHY DO I ONLY SEE MY OWN MAGNET?  The puck’s movement is based on the position and orientation of every participant’s pull on the puck, but during the question, only your magnet is visible to you.  After a question has been answered, you can click REPLAY and see the full swarm – all the magnets working together as a living system to move the puck.  Why do we do it this way?  If you were able to see the magnets of others, it could influence your opinions.  This is called “Social Influence Bias” and it can distort the intelligence of a group, turning a few participants into “leaders” and others into “followers.”  The result is ‘Group Think’ or a ‘Herd Mentality’ which has been documented by Harvard researchers as a major flaw in sites that use up-votes or likes to quantify group opinions.  UNU solves this by empowering groups think together in unison, nobody leading and nobody following as the answer emerge in synchrony.

DOES EVERY USER HAVE EQUAL PULL? All members of UNU are equal contributors to the process. This creates an even playing field when making decisions, expressing opinions, or generating ideas.  You’ve probably experienced groups, teams, clubs, and organizations that are dominated by a small set of individuals due to status or personality. This is not only frustrating, it’s been shown by researchers to hinder groups in expressing their true collective intelligence. UNU solves this by providing a level playing field, enabling a genuine meeting of the minds.

DOES THE LOCATION OF ANSWERS MATTER? In some circumstances, there is potential for the location of choices around the hexagon to influence outcomes.  We have identified these circumstances and UNU’s unique algorithms account for such positional biases and eliminate any significant effects of choice location.  Users can expect fair and meaningful deliberations and decisions regardless of where answer choices are located around the hexagon.

CAN I BE A MODERATOR? Yes, passionate users who wish to become moderators of unum swarms can email us at Joe@unanimousai.com.  For topic-specific unums, moderators should have a unique passion or interest in the topic or theme.

CAN I CHANGE THE BACKGROUND ARTWORK? Yes, UNU supports a variety of “skins”, allowing you to customize the aesthetic to appeal to personal tastes.  You can set a different background skin by simply typing “skin=1” or “skin=2” … “skin=7” into the chat window.  To return to the default skin, just enter “skin=0”.  If you have ideas for new skins, feel free to email us!

WHAT IS THE “TOP THAT” BUTTON FOR? For questions that use “suggestion mode”, the choices are submitted by members of the swarm, the first six suggestions showing up around the hexagon.  The swarm then picks the best one.  But what if most users think there are better answers out there that were not yet considered?  Simple – if enough users (more than 35%) click on TOP THAT, the question will be asked again, giving users another chance to submit suggestions. These suggestions will go up against the winner from the prior selection.  Thus, you can think of this as trying to unseat the selection.  And the swarm can keep fielding more and more suggestions until the group feels confident that they’ve converged upon the best possible solution.

WHAT DOES POST TO REDDIT” DO? As you might guess, this posts to Reddit.  But don’t worry, you have a chance to confirm your post inside of Reddit before it goes live.  Also, if the Moderator of a particular unum-swarm has linked it to a related subreddit, your post will be directed to that sub-reddit.  If it’s not linked, you will have a chance to choose the subreddit.

HOW DO I TWEET? In order to Tweet the answers that UNU generates, all you need to do is click the Tweet button.  That said, you must link your UNU account to Twitter under your profile page for this feature to be enabled. Otherwise we don’t know what account name to Tweet for.