Re: [unrev-II] OT: Collective Intelligence

From: Eric Armstrong (
Date: Mon Feb 05 2001 - 15:35:41 PST

  • Next message: Eric Armstrong: "Re: [unrev-II] IBIS in XTM"

    Hey, Dennis. I trust the surgery went well.
    Along these lines, I think you'll enjoy a paper
    I'm about to post -- Darwin Solves the Frame Problem.

    If I can *ever* track down that awesome paper that
    gave the wonderful description of the frame problem
    using the robots R1, R1D1, and R2D1, I'll be able
    to fill in the last reference in that paper and push
    it out!

    "Dennis E. Hamilton" wrote:
    > You triggered some observations that I have been mulling over for a
    > while.
    > Today is a rest day while I recuperate from some minor surgery, so I
    > give
    > myself the luxury of indulgence ...
    > 1. Consider that there is already global collective intelligence.
    > [clearly not the one that we are dreaming of, but one that is perhaps
    > already in place]. I am not proposing this as a fact, I am proposing
    > it as
    > something to consider.
    > 2. If we were the neurons of a global collective intelligence,
    > would we be
    > aware of it, and would it matter one way or the other whether we
    > were? For
    > that matter, would this "collective intelligence" be aware of us, and
    > would
    > it matter one way or the other whether it (or they) did? [Terminology
    > point: differentiation of collective intelligence from collective
    > consciousness is worth considering too. And wondering just what the
    > conscious attention would be on. Us? Seems unlikely. I don't know
    > about
    > you, but I don't even know how to contemplate my neurons, and I'm
    > certainly
    > not moved to do it. Is it even possible?]
    > 3. One of the things that fascinate me about the theory of
    > evolution, and
    > the theory of economics, for a system closer to the one that we may be
    > looking for in this conversation, seems to be the following. If the
    > real
    > world provides a valid interpretation of those (macro-) theories, then
    > it is
    > irrelevant whether we individuals are aware of those theories or not,
    > and it
    > is irrelevant whether we believe them or not, cooperate with them or
    > not
    > (whatever that could mean), and so on. (Consider that there has been
    > no
    > "escape" from evolution. Consider that the theory of evolution
    > applies just
    > fine. Why do we find that idea objectionable? Consider that it
    > doesn't
    > make any difference -- in the framework of evolution -- whether we do
    > or
    > not.)
    > 4. Consider the prospects for the neurons of a collective
    > intelligence
    > actively controlling the emergence of the collective intelligence
    > through
    > their apparent autonomous behavior. I notice that we have this
    > conceit that
    > the forces of evolution are somehow in our hands (and that the
    > "natural" and
    > the "artificial" are different, etc.). It would appear that our
    > having a
    > theory of economics has led to some kind of economic efficiency in the
    > world, yet I am distrustful of that. (I have been noticing
    > externalities,
    > for example, at the household level and how, in my household, there is
    > excessive use of the automobile, lack of commitment around recycling,
    > cleaning up ones own mess, and so on, although it is clear what, by
    > extension, the inevitable global consequences are. Self-indulgence is
    > winning, referenced to my local view of things. Moving externalities
    > to
    > others is not merely malignant corporate behavior, by a long shot.
    > The
    > practice is internalized far more locally, in my experience.)
    > 5. Finally, I notice that the example given seems to be one of
    > finding
    > dispersed communities of common interest. I can support this as a
    > precursor
    > to finding a basis for coordinated action. It might not be a
    > prerequisite.
    > And it certainly doesn't ensure that consequence, or that the
    > consequence
    > will be one that is desired by the global community. (Consider the
    > use of
    > the Internet to bring together so-called hate groups and other people
    > whose
    > activities are not acceptable in their societies.)
    > 6. I am not proposing that there is no basis for action, or that
    > there isn't
    > cooperative activity that can make a difference at the global level.
    > I do
    > think it is very important to get a grip on the background assumptions
    > and
    > agendas that we don't bother to state. And be very careful about
    > anything
    > we give tacit acceptance as a silver bullet.
    > 7. I notice that I am moved to speak in this ongoing collective
    > conversation. My hand is in the air and I am grabbing for the chalk.
    > Consider that, whether we can ever be aware of collective intelligence
    > (or
    > collective consciousness), everything anyone has to offer to the human
    > conversation matters, and it matters that we speak up. Consider that
    > every
    > neuron matters, even when it doesn't mean anything to the existence of
    > the
    > collective intelligence how the neurons get there. It will have the
    > neurons
    > it has.
    > 8. Neurons arise and be organized. You have nothing to lose but
    > your
    > synapses!
    > -- Dennis
    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: univers immedia []
    > Sent: Saturday, February 03, 2001 01:59
    > To:
    > Subject: Re: [unrev-II] about synergy
    > Eric
    > [ ... ]
    > So we have to build that global collective intelligence we are
    > dreaming of. We have no choice.
    > [ ... ]
    > Individual cells, sometime very far away in the past, have escaped the
    > darwinian laws and built organisms and living brains.
    > If human beings can't achieve what their far monocellular ancestors
    > did
    > achieve a billion years ago, well, tell me about evolution :)
    > [ ... ]
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