II. Planetary Prodigy: A Global Sapiensphere Learns by Her/His Self
C. Mindkind Sapiensphere: WorldWise Collective Intelligence
Jolly, Alison. Lucy’s Legacy. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999. An anthropologist finds in the evolution of sex and intelligence more evidence for cooperation than competition. A consistent, widespread pattern appears of diverse, recurrent, nested systems from the bacterial realm to cells, organisms, and human groupings.
We seem now to be in the midst of a fifth major transition: the joining of human societies into a global network. (28) We have traced the emergence of biological organization from primeval chemistry to bacterium to cell to body. At each stage a larger, coherent whole emerged from the linkage of independent parts. Each is a holon, simultaneously one and many, a single organism and yet a community of individuals. (408)
Jones, NIcola. The Learning Machines. Nature. 505/146, 2014. An excellent report about how the artificial intelligence endeavor, after many fitful years is lately aided by big data and cloud prowess so as to attain a mature capabilities. A pioneer for this phase has been the University of Toronto computer scientist Geoffrey Hinton, a recent Google hire, who with colleagues and students conjured “deep recurrent neural networks” based on the cortical algorithmic connections of human brains. Readers can access a wide web of info and players – Andrew Ng, Yann LeCun, Yoshua Bengio, Jitendra Malik – many papers on arXiv. The result is a promising new dimension or noosphere just opening for imaginative development and public service. Another good entry is “The Man Behind the Google Brain: Andrew Ng and the Quest for the New AI” in Wired, online May 7, 2013.
Three years ago, researchers at the secretive Google X lab in Mountain View, California, extracted some 10 million still images from YouTube videos and fed them into Google Brain — a network of 1,000 computers programmed to soak up the world much as a human toddler does. After three days looking for recurring patterns, Google Brain decided, all on its own, that there were certain repeating categories it could identify: human faces, human bodies and … cats. (146)
Kelly, Kevin. Scan This Book. New York Times Magazine. May 14, 2006. A movement to digitally record the world’s non-fiction and fiction print materials, and to make them freely available to everyone, anywhere, is fast becoming a reality. In a few years a person will be able to access on a PC or even PDA the entirety of human knowledge. By so doing, the universal library of Alexandria is now realized on a global scale. With a total search capability, any work, whether classic, textbook, manual, or novella, will be instantly available. And it is our website premise that such a grand repository, due to an emergent worldwide humanity, might indeed be achieving its own integral discovery
Kelly, Kevin. The Planetary Computer. Wired. July, 2008. As the worldwide electronic web intensifies, the magazine’s cofounder and complexity sage advances one of the most complete comparisons of such a noosphere with the dynamic anatomy and physiology of a human brain. Similar trillions of neural synapses and terabytes of script and image processing serve to outline the advent of a true global cerebration. But the step to imagine that a novel planetary person could attain her/his own salutary discovery and knowledge still eludes.
Kelly, Kevin. We Are The Web. Wired. August, 2005. Writer, editor and web pioneer Kelly surveys the logarithmic worldwide interconnection of personal computers since the 1980’s and 1990’s and looks ahead to its completion circa 2015. By this scope, its developing structure of fractal, neural-like networks appears as a planetary encephalization similar to a human brain. Metaphors do mix and it is also called a global Machine. But I add such an emergent noosphere is not yet appreciated for a potential to achieve common understanding and knowledge, accessible to everyone.
Over time, a Wikipedia article becomes totally underlined in blue as ideas are cross-referenced. That massive cross-referencing is how brains think and remember. It is how neural nets answer questions. It is how our global skin of neurons will adapt autonomously and acquire a higher level of knowledge. (133)
Kraut, Robert, et al. Scientific Foundations: A Case for Technology-Mediated Social- Participation Theory. Computer. November, 2010. At this late hour, at a mid-point of the first decades of a new millennium, one might report that across a broad range of fields and endeavors, a breakthrough maturity and credence seems to be just now attained. In this case, a team which includes MIT’s Tom Malone states a strong claim that our way forward must involve increasing efforts to foster and access socially “collective and collaborative intelligences.” This approach can then be advanced by tailoring worldwide knowledge gaining and sharing websites such as Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, TopCoder for communally written software, eBird for multiuser tracking of migrations, and myriad others that pool thousands of participants to achieve a common goal. A novel aspect (see Malone below) is to see such efforts in genetic terms, another is to realize (Woolley, et al, herein) that these vast “collaboratories” can acheive a group cognizance on their own.
Bringing the TMSP research community together to work toward making theoretical advances and developing the underlying technologies present several challenges. These include meeting the general need for theoretical integration across levels of analysis (for example, from individual psychology and behavioral economics through social processes and organizational dynamics), within levels (such as communication, relationship formation, and trust building), and across theoretical frameworks and representations (for example, dynamic systems, random graph theory, and computational cognition). (23)
Krumov, Lachezar, et al. Motifs in Co-Authorship Networks and Their Relation to the Impact of Scientific Publications. European Physical Journal B. Online First, March, 2011. We highlight this report by Technical University Darmstadt, Martin Luther University, and Jacobs University computer scientists for its perception that similar viable topologies and dynamics reoccur across widely separate realms of genomes, brains, and earth’s self-organizing education sphere, and are akin to modes of information processing.
Co-authorship networks, where the nodes are authors and a link indicates joint publications, are very helpful representations for studying the processes that shape the scientific community. At the same time, they are social networks with a large amount of data available and can thus serve as vehicles for analyzing social phenomena in general. Here we show that the success of individual authors or publications depends unexpectedly strongly on an intermediate scale in co-authorship networks. We find that the average citation frequency of a group of authors depends on the motifs these authors form. In particular, a box motif (four authors forming a closed chain) has the highest average citation frequency per link. We also relate this topological observation to the underlying social and socio-scientific processes that have been shaping the networks. (Abstract)
Last, Cadell. Global Commons in the Global Brain. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 114/1, 2017. In this special issue, a Free University of Brussels, Global Brain Institute, researcher offers an insightful prediction. Rather than the touted technological singularity as machines take over, a more likely occasion could be the beneficial fruition of a worldwide cerebral faculty. Prime aspects and movers are an intentional human facilitation, which if properly situated could provide an integral, Earthwise knowledge we need to solve intractable problems. A Global Brain Singularity will involve the Internet as a universal coordination medium, provide distributed, open-ended superintelligence, foster societal self-organization towards planetary systems, and ultimately facilitate our self-becoming. In January 2017, a world bent on divisive, fanatical planetcide could immensely benefit from these imaginative scholarly visions.
The next decade could be characterized by large-scale labour disruption and further acceleration of income and wealth inequality due to the widespread introduction of general-purpose robotics, machine-learning software/artificial intelligence (AI) and their various interconnections within the emerging infrastructure of the Internet of Things. In this paper I argue that such technological changes and their socioeconomic consequences signal the emergence of a global metasystem (i.e. control organization beyond markets and nation-states). Consequently, this paper attempts to develop a conceptual framework to aid an international political transition towards a post-capitalist, post-nation state global world. This conceptual framework is grounded within the Global Brain, which describes a planetary organizational structure founded on distributed and open-ended intelligence. The socioeconomic theory of the Commons means distributed modes of organization founded upon principles of democratic management and open access. (Abstract edits)
Laxton, Rita. The World Wide Web as Neural Net. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 64/1, 2000. There are deep parallels between the Internet and a brain as they both cogitate by a redundant pattern matching of perception and experience.
The primary hypothesis is that it can be shown that the World Wide Web’s birth, growth and knowledge acquisition patterns are remarkably similar to those of the human brain. (55)
Lenartowicz, Marta. Creatures of the Semiosphere. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 114/1, 2017. In a Global Brain issue which she co-edits, this is a paper by the Free University of Brussels systems sociologist with a recent doctorate in pragmatics, semiotics and sociolinguistics from Jagiellonian University, Krakow. Its subtitle is “A problematic third party in the humans plus technology cognitive architecture of the future global superintelligence.” Her contribution thus adds a novel quality to an imminent planetary knowledge achieved by this nascent faculty. An “individuation of the semiospecies,” via a triad of information, discourse and understanding can result. In accord with our website premise, a worldwide learning process on its own, which we desperately need, goes unnoticed. See also The Individuation of Social Systems by ML, et al in Procedia Computer Science (88/15, 2016). OK
Contrary to the prevailing pessimistic AI takeover scenarios, the theory of the Global Brain (GB) argues that this foreseen collective, distributed superintelligence is bound to include humans as its key beneficiaries. This prediction follows from the contingency of evolution: we, as already present intelligent forms of life, are in a position to exert selective pressures onto the emerging new ones. As a result, it is foreseen that the cognitive architecture of the GB will include human beings and such technologies, which will best prove to advance our collective wellbeing. Since the rapid evolution of interconnecting technologies appears to open up immense emancipatory possibilities not only for humans, but also for the intelligently evolving ‘creatures of the semiosphere’, it is concluded that in the context of the rapidly self-organizing Global Brain, a close watch needs to be kept over the dynamics of the latter. (Abstract excerpts)
Leuf, Bo. The Semantic Web. New York: Wiley, 2006. In order to make the Internet more user useful, searchable, interactive, self organizing, correcting and responsive, its textual basis needs to be reconceived. First proposed by Tim Berners-Lee, the present work provides a good introduction to this on-going project.
Perhaps we are also approaching something more than just a vast globally-accessible knowledge repository. There is the potential to develop devices, services, and software agents that we might converse with as they were fully sentient and intelligent beings themselves. (314)
Levy, Neil. Neuroethics: Challenges for the 21st Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. A Research Fellow at both the University of Melbourne and Oxford explores the ramifications of advances in neuroscience which augur for increasing abilities to influences mental states and capacities. The book is noted here for a lengthy chapter on the “extended mind hypothesis” whereof aware intellects reach pervasively beyond the body into social settings.