TheCollective is the set of agents that cooperate either consciously or unconsciously to form a CollectiveIntelligence. The scientific community is a good example.
Trekkies also know this as the happy bunch known as TheBorg. However, TheBorg is some cross between a HiveMind and a CollectiveIntelligence. They are more like a DistributedMind.
Due to Star Trek or other reasons, the term "TheCollective" sounds ominous and foreboding. Maybe it should, who knows, but collectives form naturally in many places.
Some criteria for a collective are:
Must be formed from autonomous, individual agents;
Must be self-organizing;
The agents must interact in some way;
A myth is that the agents must be willing to cooperate, but random interactions may cause self-organizing behaviour. See InsectBehaviour for a discussion of this.
A community or society is usually a collective.
In the GoaTrance subculture, a group that meets to listen to GoaTrance and MindExpand? together is called a collective. -- SamLey
Like TheDiamondAge minus the nanotechnology, eh?