February 04, 2006

The global supermind

Today I re-read this beautiful, visionary article by Kevin Kelley, about the birth of the global mind, in which he states:
  • The planet-sized "Web" computer is already more complex than a human brain and has surpassed the 20-petahertz threshold for potential intelligence as calculated by Ray Kurzweil. In 10 years, it will be ubiquitous. So will superintelligence emerge on the Web, not a supercomputer?

Kevin's article got me thinking once again about an idea that has been on my mind for over a decade. I have often thought that the Web is growing into the collective nervous system of our species. This will in turn enable the human species to function increasingly as an intelligent superorganism, for example, like a beehive, or an ant colony -- but perhaps even more intelligent. But the key to bringing this process about is self-awareness. In short, the planetary supermind cannot become truly intelligent until it evolves a form of collective self-awareness. Self-awareness is the most critical component of human intelligence -- the sophistication of human self-awareness is what makes humans different from dumb machines, and from less intelligent species.

The Big Idea that I have been thinking about for over a decade is that if we can build something that functions like a collective self-awareness, then this could catalyze a huge leap in collective intelligence that would essentially "wake up" the global supermind and usher in a massive evolution in its intelligence and behavior. As the planetary supermind becomes more aware of its environment, its own state, and its own actions and plans, it will then naturally evolve higher levels of collective intelligence around this core. This evolutionary leap is of unimaginable importance to the future of our species. Nova Spivack on the 'Minding the Planet January 24, 2006

My Past Writing On This Topic A Physics of Ideas: Measuring the Physical Properties of Memes Towards a Worldwide Database The Metaweb: A Graph of the Future From Semantic Web to Global Mind The Birth of the Metaweb Are Organizations Organisms? From Application-Centric to Data-Centric Computing The Human Menome Project Other Noteworthy Projects Principia Cybernetica -- the Global Mind Group The Global Consciousness Project W3C - The Semantic Web Working Group Amazon's Mechanical Turk CHI -- Harnessing Networks of Humans

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