|by Flemming Funch|
What I am looking for is a better global brain - a better way for us to be connected together, where our collective intelligence will tend to emerge.
I'm looking for a structure of inter-connectedness where more connections add up to more intelligence, rather than more confusion. It would become better when more people participate. Increased diversity would increase the rate of evolution, and make the whole system more intelligent and more stable.
Certain things about the Internet work that way, but most of the specific components do not. The web does become richer the more web pages there are, and it becomes more likely that one can get any particular question answered by searching on the web. But my web browser wouldn't deal well with, for example, 100,000 bookmarked links, and most websites have to limit their scope in order to not be confusing. My e-mail inbox certainly doesn't get more intelligent the more e-mails I get. It just makes me appear hopelessly dis-organized, because I can't keep track of my mail.
Thinking aloud Â… it seems that the structures that thrive in the face of increasing volume, complexity and diversity, are those that aren't fixed structures. I mean, any system that depends on any "nicely organized" system of categories or slots or branches of any kind will break down if things are moving too fast or expanding too quickly. The yellow pages of the phone book are useful, but only because the categories stay fairly static. You might still need "plumbing", just like 10 or 20 years ago. But if the categories were switching around too much every year, or every month or week, with new categories emerging, and old ones disappearing, then it would no longer be very practical to make yellow pages like that. Or, if there were suddenly millions of categories.
So, for example, a "search engine" metaphor will work no matter how much information is there. The search engine program and database might have to become better as the volume increases, but from the user's standpoint it remains being a useful model. In part because it appears to be organized ad hoc by whatever pops into the user's mind. You can right away get a bunch of items that are organized around whatever concept you put in. Not organized in any terribly useful way, aside from trying to show you the most promising places you ought to look further.
Now, our social systems - how we organize society - have the same problems as our information space. Because of a lack of good ways of letting society self-organize in a productive fashion, a lot of things are over-simplified into fixed systems. Many of which are killing the evolutionary intelligence of diversity and self-organization. For example, every few years we select, from a very limited set of choices, through a simple majority, some representatives who will govern us. Those representatives become, for a time, dictators who set rules for how we are supposed to behave. Other parts of government have the job of forcing us to follow those rules, by the use of violence, threat of violence, economic penalties, or threat of economic penalties. That's all extremely crude.
What I'm looking for is some kind of holy grail of inter-connectedness - some kind of system that will help us being connected in more radically useful ways.
Maybe it will emerge by itself, spontaneously, as some kind of evolutionary quantum leap, where suddenly it becomes abundantly clear for most of us how inter-connected we all are, and how we all can function meaningfully as cells in the global brain.
At this point many of us are sensing that we are all connected, sensing vaguely that there's something more that needs to happen, but we don't quite know what or how.
I suppose I'm looking for a technical solution that somehow will accelerate this. But it doesn't have to be technical at all.
I can currently imagine that it might be a new system for organizing one or all of:
1. communication - a method of having meaningful conversations in a different way
2. information - a better way of structuring what we collectively know
3. value exchange - a different kind of economy that is better at valuing things
4. voting - a different kind of democracy, better gauging what we all want
It might really be something drastically different, like the sudden emergence of a new kind of telepathy that allows us all to be in tune with the whole at all times, I don't know.
Those are mainly areas where I personally perceive a potential for inventing or designing or constructing something new and better.
Our current systems for doing those 4 things are fragmented and chaotic and easily controlled by deception or force. I have no good way of partipating in all the conversations I'd like to be part of. I have to good way of keeping track of what I know, or of what is really true and what is not, other than on a very basic intuitive level. Our economy values only a very limited list of elements of life, and it is centrally controlled by a very small group of very powerful agencies. Our voting systems lead us to make very ill informed decisions, and to hand power to people who do not at all represent us.
My ideas about how to solve it all are very vague. I sense that it would be built from the bottom up, deriving its power from individuals organizing into small groupings, that might then, as necessary, group into bigger groups, and so forth, until the whole world is organized from the bottom up.
I sense that we can learn most of what we need to know from nature. For example how there is great strength in diversity.
Aside for that, what I have is more a question than an answer.
What can a small group of us consciously and deliberately design that will facilitate the evolution of all of humanity into a mature and sustainable species, in harmony with itself and its environment?