Social tools are those that augment human social structures and capabilities with new communications channels, behavioural patterns and participant abilities. For example, the persistent “contactability” provided by mobile phones has altered our social expectations and enabled a whole range of behaviour: “swarming” to ad hoc events; “slow background conversations” and status updates via SMS; contact-details exchange allowing for very quick social link creation.
Smart-phones and web-applications such as Facebook and Twitter further enhance our socialisation capabilities, allowing us to keep appraised of and connected to a huge number of people at any time, albeit loosely.
Intelligence amplification (IA) refers to the effective use of information technology in augmenting human intelligence. The idea was first proposed in the 1950s and 1960s by cybernetics and early computer pioneers.
IA is a special category of human augmentation, with tools and techniques specifically designed for augmenting cognition: calculation, comprehension, recall (memory), decision-making and learning. An abacus or calculator, for example, allows a tool-wielding human to calculate faster and more accurately than an unaugmented colleague; similarly, an augmented human with access to Wikipedia can look up a huge level of detail on any contextual topic.