[unrev-II] Fwd: Short report on the Global Brain Workshop

From: Jack Park (jackpark@thinkalong.com)
Date: Thu Sep 06 2001 - 10:54:21 PDT

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    >From: Francis Heylighen <fheyligh@vub.ac.be>
    >Subject: Short report on the Global Brain Workshop
    >Sender: owner-gbrain@listserv.vub.ac.be
    >Reply-To: gbrain@listserv.vub.ac.be
    >The following is an excerpt from the latest issue of the Principia
    >Cybernetica Newsletter that I sent out. Apologies if you get this more
    >than once.
    >The Global Brain workshop (http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/Conf/GB-0.html) in
    >Brussels (July 3-5), the first ever international meeting, on this topic
    >was quite succesful. Some 20 talks were given by members of the Global
    >Brain Group, invited speakers, and contributors whose abstract was
    >selected by the organizing committee. Each of the three days was concluded
    >by an extensive discussion session.
    >Moreover, we had some remote participants, interacting virtually from the
    >US. Luis Rocha, a PCP associate, followed the first two days via videos of
    >the presentations that had been made available on a private website, and
    >then presented his talk via webcast, commenting on some of the ideas
    >presented previously. Kirstie Bellman and Chris Landauer gave a short
    >demonstration of the interactive possibilities of MUDs (text-based virtual
    >environments). Some photos and videotaped comments from participants are
    >available at http://www.comdig.de/Conf/GB0/
    >The topics and approaches discussed were wide-ranging, from the emotional
    >values that should govern the Global Brain (GB), to the use of collective
    >intelligence for forecasting of stock prices, and the possibilities of
    >direct brain-machine interfaces. (The page
    >http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/Conf/GB-0-abs.html lists the abstracts of all
    >talks that were presented, and full papers or slide presentations for most
    >of them.) This experience shows that there is still quite some work to do
    >to focus GB-related thinking, and integrate the various approaches. On the
    >other hand, the workshop succeeded in creating a real enthusiasm for
    >further discussion and collaboration, showing that there really is a GB
    >community emerging.
    >As a result of the workshop, a new mailing list was created for
    >participants to discuss issues, together with an experimental web-based
    >discussion system (developed by PCP assistant editor Alex Riegler). Our
    >plans are to further develop an extensive GB-website, with all papers and
    >other results presented at the workshop, together with some interactive
    >demonstration systems for discussion and self-organization of ideas.
    >The complete workshop was registered on video by volunteers: Margeret
    >Heath, Sascha Ignjatovic and Gottfried Mayer (who also presented a
    >paper). These video recordings are now being edited, and will be made
    >public on the web and on CD-ROM. Margeret Heath is also preparing a
    >transcript of all discussions, on the basis of which she will be
    >developing a knowledge map of the main concepts and issues. Other
    >volunteers were responsible for the computing infrastructure: Corinne
    >Ciechanow and Didier Durlinger, and for the practical issues of food:
    >Michael Pleumeekers.
    >Although a few things still didn't work out quite as planned (the drinks
    >for the reception that didn't arrive, and a lecture room and restaurant
    >that were adapted to the reigning heat wave), it can be safely said that
    >without all this volunteer effort, the workshop would have been a much
    >less pleasant experience: so, a big thank you to all of them.
    >After a number of delays and extensive discussions of various technical
    >points, the PhD thesis of assistant editor Johan Bollen was finally
    >submitted to the examination committee of the Faculty of Psychology of the
    >Free University of Brussels in June. The title of the thesis is "A
    >cognitive model of adaptive web design and navigation". It proposes and
    >tests a theory of how people navigate the web, together with a number of
    >algorithms, inspired by neural mechanisms, that would allow the web to
    >adapt to its users, thus helping them to find the information they are
    >looking for in a more intelligent and intuitive way. The full text is
    >available at http://www.c3.lanl.gov/~jbollen/diss_index.html
    >The private defense took place on July 6, the first day after the
    >workshop. The PhD committee, which included PCP editors Francis Heylighen
    >and Cliff Joslyn, was unanimous in its appreciation for Johan's
    >achievements, and impressed by his mastery of the subject. The official,
    >public defense (which is basically a formality) is planned for Oct. 23.
    >Dr. Francis Heylighen <fheyligh@vub.ac.be> -- Center "Leo Apostel"
    >Free University of Brussels, Krijgskundestr. 33, 1160 Brussels, Belgium
    >tel +32-2-6442677; fax +32-2-6440744; http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/HEYL.html

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