Global Brain Technological Singularity

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Cadell Last:

"The general futures literature has also been characterized by discussions of an emerging collective superintelligence in the form of a ‘Global Brain (GB) Technological Singularity (TS)’, where ‘Global Brain’ refers specifically to the totality of the Internet as universal coordination medium. This GB notion, founded on the metaphorical homology between global neuronal network action in the brain and global human-computer networks on earth, includes both a spatial and temporal dimension. The spatial dimension of the GB is characterized by distributed superintelligence, i.e. multi-agent problem solving and opportunity exploitation that occurs through horizontal communication channels (and consequently does not result in any permanent/hierarchical ‘centering’ phenomena) (Heylighen, 2016a). The temporal dimension of the GB is characterized by open-ended superintelligence, i.e. multi-agent problem solving that focuses on exploring possibility spaces and guiding immanent processual dynamics (and consequently does not rely on specifically predicting and controlling civilization development) (Weinbaum and Veitas, 2015). Thus, at its foundation, the GB as phenomenon can be seen to consist of A) a problem of global coordination (distributed organizations), and B) a problem of global self- becoming (open-ended organizations).

In this GB TS frame humanity does not face an immanent AGI apocalypse (in either a utopian or dystopian interpretation), but rather an immanent global metasystem transition founded on distributed (spatial) and open-ended (temporal) superintelligence mediated by the fu- ture Internet: of a world that self-organizes towards a planetary level via peer-to-peer platforms with no specific centers of power and of a human life that opens up towards an increasingly mysterious horizon of possibility.

Here the essence of the GB TS vision:

A) Totality of the Internet as universal coordination medium

B) Environment characterized by distributed open-ended super-intelligence

C) Societal self-organization towards planetary system level Proposed maxim for GB vision: Freedom on this socio-technological pathway is to recognize our necessity as the beings guiding history to- wards the full actualization of human desire (the indestructible hard core of human becoming).

This GB TS vision can be compared and contrasted with the traditional AGI TS vision. In the AGI TS vision humanity's attention becomes focused on individual machine-learning programs that enter ‘self-recursive cycles’ of exponential intellect improvement towards ‘post-humanity’. However, in the GB TS vision humanity's attention becomes focused on collective global issues and meta-systemic transitions related to power, control, and hierarchy. This is not to say that the GB TS vision totally negates the possibility of the emergence of AGI or even post-humanity, but rather approaches the emerging technological revolution as a phenomenon that must be grounded in the totality of socio-technological process (a conceptual shift that AGI TS cannot theoretically handle, and a conceptual shift that even GB theorists have not yet fully appreciated). Consequently, we may not be proposing too much with the above maxim to state that the GB TS theory's specific ontological function is to be a guiding tool towards a ‘positive’ Singularity –not as traditionally conceived AGI apocalypse (utopian/dystopian) –but as opening the possibility for the full actualization of the historical process itself as driven by humanity's (transcendent) desires (and the inherent, yet potentially immanent, adventure and mystery that will entail).

Thus, and said in a different way, GB TS theory can –instead of focusing on the exponential emergence of ‘post-human AGI’ as an ‘event-horizon-like’ discontinuous break with individual human comprehension and understanding (e.g. Kurzweil, 2005; Bostrom, 2014) –make the important ‘Singularity shift’ and focus on the way in which distributed and open-ended intelligence can potentially self-organize from the development of automated smart systems and social networks (Goertzel, 2016a). This would, in a different way, lead to an ‘event-horizon-like’ discontinuous break with individual human comprehension and understanding, but only in the sense that the totality of the global socio-technological sphere (Internet as universal coordination medium) would acquire coherent collective properties alien (qualitatively different) from any historical local socio-technological sphere. Thus, other than the obvious local/global size difference of form between historical states and future GB, the important qualitative difference would be in the totally different qualitative organizational difference, i.e. a future GB ‘state’ would be distributed and open to maximizing individual becoming, as opposed to historical states, which have been (and still are) hierarchical and generally closed to maximizing individual becoming (unless it explicitly serves ‘their’ ends, i.e. sublimates individual minds within its substanceless (empty) virtual structure –e.g. monarchies, states, religions, corporations, and so forth).

What is missing here? In the conceptual vision of the GB, I would argue, we can see the contours of a TS theory that can make a practical contribution to the development of international institutional reforms within the context of an emerging technological revolution that has radical consequences for social, economic, and political life. However, GB TS theory has not made specific geopolitical recommendations for navigating this new world. In other words, what is missing from GB TS theory are the specific political consequences of this exponential-global socio-technological process, in the actual capability of humanity to develop qualitatively new large-scale political forms capable of intelligent-ly guiding the development of (already existent) human-computer networks that coordinate on a planetary level via distributed/open-ended mechanisms (i.e. horizontal communication/interaction and open-access). Thus, GB TS theory, in its identification of the possibility for totally different organizational forms within the totality of the Internet's developing structure, we gain the ability to develop an alter- native political and socioeconomic solution to Piketty's ‘Global Keynes- ianism/Global State’.

In other words, can GB theorists think Commonism in the 21st Century?

The ground for this opening has already been presented. For example, in GB theorist Francis Heylighen's paper ‘Accelerating Socio- Technological Evolution: From Ephemeralization and Stigmergy to the Global Brain’."