Ming the Mechanic:
Seeking the blueprints of a global brain

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Seeking the blueprints of a global brain2001-12-06 22:30
14 comments
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?


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14 comments

6 Dec 2001 @ 23:18 by kay : Much food for thought here
Well Ming, I wish I knew the answer. I have sat here a while thinking and then took a shower and am still thinking. What keeps going around in my brain is that it is easy to form groups of like minded people. They can get along with each other. The problem is that they only seem to see their own agenda. It has seemed to me that some groups never get beyond the conference rooms. They don't get beyond the talk and into application. On one hand life seems very intense to me right now and yet in another way it does have a vagness when it comes to finding solutions to problems. I think we are all aware of what some of the problems are. But how to pull diversity together for the common good.  


7 Dec 2001 @ 01:50 by ashanti : How about...?
A *positive* virus? I mean, we all know how effectively destructive viruses are, how they build on themselves, think for themselves - almost like AI. But can't we build positive ones? Ones that learn to recognise from keywords and frequency, e-mail from a person you have positive relations with, and thus it will automatically prioritize mail for you? Almost like the relationship index you have here....

ie, after you have interacted with a person, you can assign a rating to the e-mail - well known friend, new but interesting, don't bother me again - type of thing? Or you could list topics of interest - by keywords. It seems to me you need a system that will gather, collate and categorize data - like a worm, and build a database and a sifter, for you.

If we all had that, we could get our core-connections together faster, network quicker and more efficiently, and maybe the simple momentum of organization could overcome the chaos of expansion that is beyond our current evolutionary capability?

(grin) I am totally boolean-illiterate, so I have no idea if this is possible, or not. Kim  



7 Dec 2001 @ 02:16 by mmmark : Thanks For Putting That In Writing
BASED ON A UNIVERSAL EXPANDABLE INDEX OF HUMAN SUBJECT CHANNELS - W/TRANSLATION PER LANGUAGE

1] Citizen Module (core unit personal): 1073 customizable expandable channels, tutor & rating generator
community socket*****

THIS IS ONE ORG MODULE - OF 2 SMALLER ONES - NESTABLE - STACKABLE - CONNECTABLE

*****Citizen Socket
2] Organizational Module: group management exclusive, mission cataloged to 1073 customizable expandable channels & peer rating generator
3] Social Module (external): democratic interface pertaining to 1073 expandable channels
community socket*****

*****Citizen Socket
4] CoCreative Database Servers: regional, redundant per language with 1073 expandable databases
Network socket*****

I think this will do the job, but I’m too tired to find flaws.  



7 Dec 2001 @ 03:14 by ming : Positive Viruses
I like the metaphor of a positive virus. Yes, I'd love for something to be invented that we can just set loose that will organize things for us, connect a lot of dots for us, act as parts of our minds. Sort of a new life form. Or like an existing life form. Like our brains and bodies have billions of cells that each operates independently in many ways, but all inter-connected together so that the sum of their actions become something much more than the sum of their actions.  


7 Dec 2001 @ 12:10 by sharie : Communication, Valuables, Economics
Thank you so much Ming for your intention and your thoughtfulness.
We need user-friendly communities. But people are bombarded - assaulted - by media messages impacting personal choices when the benefit to the sender is the objective, and detriment to the recipient being the irrelevant result. This is criminal. But they call it *business*.

Corporate law allows *businessmen* to profit from their actions while being held unaccountable for the devastation - and the deaths - which their *business* decisions result in. This is criminal, but the courts call it *law*.

Local government is not the answer. I've thought long and hard about this. I thought local government, neighborhood government, with a pyramid effect up to state, national and global government might work, but that won't get us what we really want. Two hundred years ago, our forefathers thought *democracy* was the answer. But democracy isn't the answer. Capitalism isn't the answer. Industry isn't the answer. Not until we recognize the divinity within everyone, the infinite value of everyone, will we even come close to having the world we all want.

with love,
sharie  



7 Dec 2001 @ 12:11 by sharie :
 


7 Dec 2001 @ 15:32 by peazritr : thinking aloud::allowed::
i too have wanted this same "inter-connectedness where more connections add up to more intelligence, rather than more confusion." i am speaking from an internet orientation.

maybe the more of us agree, the system will re-invent itself in a way so that players are not making an industry of categorizing stale info but rather an industry of referencing categories in flux. my point is internet yellow pages, search engines, the like have yet to consider css type style sheets for metatags. at least that is my assumption. using such a metatag style sheet, a person or an entity posting on the web would have the ability to give the public a better reference to him/her/itself just by altering one document. the yellow pages, search engines, etc., could spider only the metatag style sheets. most people don't even know of or use metatags as it is & that's one good reason why searches turn up such confusion.  



7 Dec 2001 @ 16:44 by peazritr : if i might imagine with you
you wrote:
"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"

well, dang it, me too! hip, hip, hooray! please see my buckminster fuller style poem/game holiday greeting FREE. of course, we'd have to build what i call the lego computer that at first we could sell at one dollar a whop (& with 6.5 billion on the census reports, that ain't close to shabby) & then allow folks to buy add on blocks if they wanted to at the same ridiculously low price. we'd have to configure our cheapest in the world chips to work off satellite waves emanating off the sirius dog star (yeah, i know no one talks about because it's african or because not one of the 2.3 billion africans on the planet talks about it or has yet, but, yeah, that star) or any other affordable frequency. that covers information & communication in terms of assured diverse accessibility. (in this whole discourse, the underlying unspoken is internet, yeah?) as far as value exchange goes, my poem/game deals with supply & demand as though all humans were relocated to above earth floating biospheres which concept in itself causes an extreme richter shift in the ways we presently think of supply/demand. no more burying the dead on the earth's surface or otherwise wasting/depleting her resources & otherwise aggravating her. the poem/game intimates we will have the capacity to determine what is necesssary on earth's surface & simultaneously be able to artificially produce off earth's surface what we need, eliminating for the most part our former assumed ownership, manipulation & related thoughtless depletion of earth resources. my poem/game is, i admit, earth-centric & presumes certain affectations to the development & sustenance on earth of humanely responsible & ecologically responsive interactivities. i happen to love the extravagances of strength, beauty & kindness, so forgive my poem/game its earth focus if you must. furthermore, i also beg as any writer always begs, adapt the specific to the general, the universal to the specific. as far as voting is concerned, in my poem/game, there is the leaning toward a logging in of needs & contributions which can be made. the paradigm shift underlying the poem/game is that if we, earth residents, begin to value time as recreant endowment as opposed to the slaveries of our present & heretofore factory experiences, time will become a playground where we are nurtured & blessed to be & explore ourselves. when we live that way, perhaps it will be little to ask wht a person will contribute to the society as a whole; maybe it will then be natural, a part of the individual's growth.  



7 Dec 2001 @ 17:46 by bushman : School of fish?
From what I can tell, we just need to live in the moment, and then we will become one, man used to be that way, but somehow it was stolen from us, or just plain forgoten. Schools of fish, flocks of birds, and all heards of animals are connected in that same way, they look confused and unorganized up close, but stand back and look at them all changing direction at once, the only thing they have in common is that they live in the moment. We on the other hand , plan for tomarrow, and think about the past, and worry about all of it. I belive the reason we do this is due to personal gain , power, and just like alcohalisim in a family, one day one of the family breaks the cycle and is healed. So basicly what I think will have to happen is, that we go back to the stone age and stay there, we give up those things that do the work for us, and as we starve, we will then be living in the moment once more. See maybe its a choice, use email and gain fast fingers, dont use email and answer only those in your presents and in the moment. Maybe one day if you need to talk to someone right away , you will just run into each other at the store or where ever, some would call it coincidece, I call it syncronicity, It works , really. I try to live in the moment as I can, if I just say to myself, I need to talk to Phil, or whoever, then go about my work , 9 times out of 10 ill see him at circle K, hmmm, funny how we are connected allready, just why and how would he need gas at the same time as me? lol. We just have to have faith that all will be provided to us, if we decide to live in the momment.
 



7 Dec 2001 @ 23:57 by ming : Swarm Intelligence
Yeah, it would be great if we just wake up one morning and it is the most natural thing in the world to both be an individual and at the same time a cell in a bigger organism. Bees and ants and and fish and birds have obviously figured something out. Our challenge is to evolve into a collective organism WITHOUT giving up on the fruits of our individual intelligence. I.e. I don't think that going back to the stone age is any solution. The very cool thing is when we both are a very technologically advanced race AND we're in harmony with each other AND we're in harmony with the earth and the rest of nature AND we learn how to be part of that amazing collective intellence, surfing the wave crest of evolution in a sustainable way.  


8 Dec 2001 @ 00:07 by ming : Interactive holiday greeting
peazritr, wow, yes I think we're saying the same things. Once I got over the first confusion and figured out what your christmas card was doing.  


8 Dec 2001 @ 08:04 by bushman : The choice
Lol, ok going back to the stone age may be a bit extreme. All Im saying is that we made a choice eons ago, metaphoricly writen in the story of man, we had a choice, to eat from the tree of life, or eat from the tree of knowledge, mans so called greatest sin, was made evedent in that story. The laws of physics say matter and anti-matter cant exist in the same space at the same time or moment, yet we know that both exist. So maybe if we had a 3rd party, an awarness, that would keep things balanced, till we learned to do it ourselves, till we learned the proportions of light and dark to use for a certin positive outcome. Lol , we are back to getting a secratary.  


11 Dec 2001 @ 14:02 by peazritr : intuitive interactive holiday greeting
ming, thanks for visiting my buckminster fuller style poem/game FREE & for moving with me in the poem/game as i present my competition to completion thread there. you mentioned some initial confusions you had & that those disappeared once you saw the real goings on. i have to agree with you that the thing looks like a typical banner until you begin moving your mouse around & it starts playing itself for you. from there, it's sort of like coming into newciv & figuring out how to get around the mansion. you come in, you trust the artist/builder of the here you are in & you get into what the artist/builder has waiting for you. i, therefore, am not going to put up any instruction; i'm going to leave it as it is, intuitive. obviously my preference for the intuitive over the instructional method of entry alligns with my hope that the intuitive enterer will reap some reward for following his/her own inclination & from winding up somewhere pleasant. my job is to honor the enterer's trust. my job is to honor the enterer's trust with a pleasant arrival. i hope i have done that & by your "wow," i think i have. peace.  


17 Dec 2001 @ 18:55 by maxtobin : Global Brain
Hee Hee!
I think we already have it, we just forgat how to use it. And of course we can play victim and point to the great conspiracy of the hind brain agenda. (reptilians of David Icke!). But seriously folks have a look at the agent technology of Babak Hodjat at www.dijima.com I feel this is moving in a direction of interest.
Till next time Blessings to all.
Max  



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