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Pathway to the Global Brain What is the nature of the next human metasystem transition? *An evolutionary anthropological perspective on a matter of cybernetics.

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Presentation on theme: "Pathway to the Global Brain What is the nature of the next human metasystem transition? *An evolutionary anthropological perspective on a matter of cybernetics."— Presentation transcript:

1 Pathway to the Global Brain What is the nature of the next human metasystem transition? *An evolutionary anthropological perspective on a matter of cybernetics

2 “Biological intelligence is a fleeting phase in the evolution of the universe.” -Paul Davies

3 The Pathway for Today 1.Human Metasystem Transitions (HMST) – Hunting, Agriculture, Industry – Patterns: New energy, communication, transportation Timing & diffusion 2. HMST = individual/institutional restructuring mechanisms 3. HMST implications for the “Global Brain”

4 Metasystem Transitions How do systems achieve higher order/control? System-level continuity (Smith & Szathmáry, 2000) – Smaller entities: Form larger entities and differentiate Unable to reproduce in absence of larger entities Disrupt development of larger entities “Discrete jumps” / “Quantum of evolution” (Heylighen & Joslyn, 1995)

5 The Human System New order/control achieved three times – Hunting, Agriculture, Industry Exploitation of new energy – Meat / Domestication / Fossil Fuels New communication medium – Language / Writing / Printing Press New transportation/agent networks – Regional / Continental / Inter-continental

6 Hominin Energy Great Apes – Fruit, leaves, other plant types – Chimps (3% animal meat) (e.g., Basabose, 2002; Moscovice et al., 2007) – Gorillas/Bonobos (~0-1% animal meat) (Oelze et al., 2011; Rogers et al., 2004) Pre-Homo hominids – 4mya similar to extant great apes (Sponheimer et al., 2013) – 4-2mya shift to grasses, sedges, bark (Henry et al., 2012)

7 Hunting Emergence of genus Homo (2 mya) – Regular consumption of animal meat (Schoeninger, 2012) – Site in East Turkana, Kenya (1.95 mya) (Braun et al., 2010) Substantial increase in animal meat (1.7 mya - 200 kya) – Control of fire (Beaumont, 2011) – Body & brain size increase (Antón, 2003) – Total energy expenditure (TEE) (Aiello & Key, 2002) – Complex technoculture (Ambrose, 2001) / “the ratchet” (Tennie et al., 2009) Modern human H&G – Consumed 45-65% energy from animal meat (Cordain et al., 2000)

8 Communication (#1) Gradual emergence of language (Dunbar, 2003) – Three/four main “movements” (Gamble et al., 2011) – H. erectus / H. heidelbergensis / H. sapiens (Ambrose, 2001) Culture code / symbolic species (Deacon, 1997) – Shift: percept-based to concept-based thinking (Logan, 2007) – Theory of Mind (story-telling, “religion”, “science”) (Dunbar, 2009) Stabilizing of “The Ratchet” (Tennie et al., 2009) – First evidence of multi-generational technoculture

9 Transportation (#1) Absolute group sizes increase (~150-250) – Exponential increase (Dunbar, 2003) – Mechanism: grooming to language (Gamble et al., 2011) Range expansion (two-stage) (Ambrose, 2001) – Stage 1: Out-of-Africa (1.8-1.0 mya) Small ranges (10-20km) / restricted to temperate climes – Stage 2: Global expansion (~500-100 kya) Larger ranges (100+km) / all climes

10 Agriculture Seven independent centers (11-3 kya) (Diamond & Bellwood, 2003) – Eurasia (3) – Americas (3) – Africa (1) Same system-level patterns (Morris & Farrar, 2010) – Cultivation of plants / domestication of large animals – “Full farming”  sedentary complex villages – Big towns w/ fortressed walls & buildings related to politics/death – Proto-writing  writing Intensification dependent on “crop/animal complexes” (Diamond, 1997) – Eurasia > Americas > Africa > Australia Diffusion dependent on: (Bellwood & Oxenham, 2008) – Climate/axis, neighbouring systems

11 Communication (#2) Four independent writing centers (Trigger, 2004) – Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, Central America Response to increased socio-political complexity – Organization of administration, taxes, trade (Cooper, 2004) Gradual evolution (centuries/millennia) Alphabet brings speech/writing together (Stewart, 2010) – Investment in narration

12 Transportation (#2) Continental civilizations with as many as 10–100 m agents Mechanisms: – Agricultural intensification (energy) (Mazoyer & Roudart, 2006) – Writing (communication) (Cooper, 2004) – E.g., Yuan Dynasty (Taagepera, 1997), Roman Empire (Taagepera, 1979) Gradual – Limits – Outliers – 11-3 kya – likely no civilization >10 million (Morris & Farrar, 2010; Simmons, 2011) – 5% net primary productivity (NPP) (Haberl, 2006) – Mongols, Spanish/Portuguese Empires

13 Industry One independent center (Allen, 2009) – England (~1750-1800) Exploitation of fossil fuels (Haberl, 2006) – Coal, oil, natural gas – *also – nuclear, hydro, “renewables” System pattern Diffusion dependent on: – Geography / colonial power / sovereignty

14 Communication (#3) Printing press (1450-1800) (Harnad, 1991) – Mass communication  restructure society Industrial-scale printing press (19 th century) – Global diffusion (Dittmar, 2011) First “one-to-many” medium (Dewar, 1998) – Causative effects: Renaissance, Scientific revolution(s), Enlightenment (Eisenstein, 1980)

15 Transportation (#3) Groups / Empires / Countries / Organizations – Inter-continental, International, Global (Ferguson, 2004) – As many as 1-2 billion agents (Smith, 1991) Transportation mechanisms for growth: – Steam engines/ships (19 th century) (Geels, 2002) – Automobiles/planes (20 th century) (Smil, 2005) Dependent on: (Landes, 2003) – Industrial intensification (energy) – Access to information (communication)

16 Timing and Diffusion Timing between transitions decrease: – Hunting: 2 mya – 200 kya – Agriculture: 10 kya – 2000 C.E. – Industry: 1750 C.E. – present Diffusion between start and end increases – Hunting required 500k yrs – 1m yrs to mature – Agriculture required 10k yrs to mature – Industry will require 300 – 400 yrs to mature

17 Restructuring (#1) Hunting/Language enabled everything we consider human: – Science – Religion – Medicine – Symbolic relationships (politics, marriage) – Complex technoculture Centered around individual and/or small groups

18 Restructuring (#2) Agriculture/Writing enabled the development of highly centralized institutions: – Chiefdoms, Monarchies, etc. – Pharaohs, Kings, etc. Religion, science, marriage, medicine all effectively run through these institutions Degree of centralization makes them inherently unintelligent – Challenge Propagation

19 Restructuring (#3) Industry/Printing Press enable a shift towards decentralization – Politics: religious blood-lines to democratically-elected career politicians – Religion: separated from other challenge propagation centers – Science/medicine: established as independent institutions – Marriage: gradually detached from religion Global Brain philosophy – Individual rights (Enlightenment)

20 The Next Transition? The past 100 years: – Technological singularity (Ulam, 1958; Vinge, 1993; Kurzweil, 2005) – Global brain (Russel, 1985; Bloom, 2000; Heylighen, 2011) – The great transition (Raskin, 2010) – World brain (Wells, 1938) – Noosphere (Teilhard, 1969) – The omega point (Schmidhuber, 2006; Teilhard, 1955) Emerging realization: – Something “big” on the near-term horizon – Usually imagined as: “global” “collective” “planetary” “generally positive” “new stage of evolution” – Usually includes: advanced intelligence / end of biological humans

21 Global Brain as HMST Energy: – Solar, geothermal, nuclear fusion, wind (?) – Emergent source (?) Communication: – Internet at full maturity (“global brain”) Transportation: – Global civilization – 10-12 billion+ agents – Mechanisms: hyperloop (?) Emergence: – Timing: 2040-2050 – Diffusion: 1-2 decades

22 Restructuring (#4) (2040s) Politics – Completely decentralized (global distributed voting) Religion – Completely decentralized (religion “as institution” gone) – Spirituality (?) / Humanism or Transhumanism (?) Science/University – Complete open access / funded directly by public Marriage/Sex – Institutionalized pair bonds will not exist / decentralization of sex

23 Complete HMST Theory Energy and communication feedback loop: – Hunting / Language – Agriculture / Writing – Industry / Printing Press – Solar / Internet Transportation: – Regional / Continental / Inter-continental / Global – 250 / 10-100m / 1-2b / 10-12b Timing & Diffusion – Exponential

24 Global Brain Will the next HMST close “human” feedback loop? Will higher consciousness emerge? Will higher systems-level reproduction emerge? Will this be a post-human era?

25 Thanks for Listening!

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