for the Emergence of a Global-scale Collective Intelligence: Invitation
to a Research Collaboration
(by George Pór )
The dual aim of this
essay is to:
qualities and opportunities for optimizing our global nervous system
for the emergence of web-enabled collective intelligence. That aim implies
the possibility to design some indicators for an evolutionary threshold,
beyond which the presence of a global-scale intelligence can be clearly
Call for a large-scale
research collaboration to explore the potential of globally distributed
intelligence for solving world problems and closing the gap between
the human condition and human potential. That mission is ambitious but
not impossible, given that were living in a time of historical
confluence when technological opportunity, economic imperative, and
moral responsibility, all point in that direction.
Our motivation is
to present a framework for the "social evolution" dimension of Global
Brain research, coherent enough to attract the peer attention necessary
to refine it and collaboratively develop it into a source document suitable
to guide our work in that dimension. We also hope that some of the specific
research questions suggested for the agenda of a "GB/Social Evolution"
learning expedition will engage the imagination of those who are fascinated
by the epochal challenge of growing a global-scale symbiotic intelligence
for closing the gap between the human condition and human potential.
This paper is the final,
updated version of my presentation at the GB workshop, complete with
the graphics and references. It's "final" only in the sense that at
some point I had to suspend my listening to the changes in my thinking
on the subject, and focus on those thought patterns that seem to have
most coherence and longevity. Because of that, the paper is more like
the map of a terrain seen from a satellite. It's a temporarily frozen
snapshot of an ongoing dialogue between my mind and the GB community's
mind, between the internal discourse of frameworks and distinctions
I use for making sense, and the unfolding, many-voice discourse of the
GB community. The dialogue between those two discourses has been moving
so rapidly that the current version is the third re-write in 3 weeks.
Its comprised of the
Questions in focus
An evolutionary opportunity/challenge
Time bubbles of emergence
Global brain, intelligence and systemic wisdom
Designing a collaborative design inquiry
The "learning expedition" metaphor and model of design inquiry
Co-designing our learning community
Questions in focus
The two questions in focus
of this essay correspond to its dual aim outlined in the Abstract.
will have to be present in the process of designing for the emergence
of a global-scale Collective Intelligence (CI) as an enabler of solving
world problems and closing the gap between the human condition and human
potential? This question will be directly addressed in section 5 on
"Designing a collaborative design inquiry."
What will it take
to learn how to design for the emergence of CI ? It is a fundamental,
non-trivial question that we recommend to be considered by all those
who are involved with "global brain" research and share a "designing
for emergence" perspective. The answers will most likely differ from
one researcher to another, and from one stage of the research to another.
However, asking that question may help all of us get better equipped
for the journey ahead. We will directly address it in section 6 on "The
learning expedition metaphor and model."
Asking those two questions-in-focus,
we imply that:
a) Design and emergence
are not contradictory and exclusive concepts. Social and techno-social
systems can be designed for emergence, if the design inquiry
is focused on generating the attractors and conditions favorable to
b) Human choice and prioritization
of societal values will remain a key element of solving global problems,
even when more powerful technical systems will become instrumental to
developing those solutions.
c) What is unknown is not
only how to design for the emergence of CI, but also, what it will take
to learn to do so. As the late Dr. Aurelio Peccei, former President
of the Club of Rome, wrote, "What we need at this stage of human evolution
is to learn what it takes to learn what we need to learn, and then learn
An evolutionary opportunity/challenge
"[S]ocial progress is
lagging behind technological progress, and because of the rapid pace
of change, the gap has never been larger between what could be and what
is." (Stock, 1993) We have never had in human history such an opportunity
to optimize the design of social institutions for closing the gap between
the human conditions and human potential. Whilst that opportunity is
very real in the post-industrial world, it is not so in the developing
countries. We will address that difference in the next section about
the "time bubble."
Here, were going to
give a brief approximation of the opportunity inherent in the creative
tension between the rapidly evolving means of intellectual and physical
production and distribution, on one hand, and the social relationships
of organizing work, that we inherited from the past century, on the
As individual and collective
knowledge and intelligence became the primary productive force, the
caring for the well-being of all is no longer a utopian dream but an
economic imperative illustrated by the following circle of increasing
The powerful opportunity
expressed by the "virtuous circle" above exists in tandem with just
as dramatic challenges:
A growing interdependence,
uncertainty, and "complexity multiplied urgency" (Douglas Engelbart)
make future-responsive decisions increasingly difficult. They created
a global problematique, in which making sense out of the fast-changing,
kaleidoscopic pictures of our knowledge landscapes, requires collective
Theres an "exponential
breakdown in people's ability to experience being related to the whole
and to each other, as organizations become very large and distributed
in geography. There also occurs a major breakdown in their members
ability to relate, communicate, and express themselves in fulfilling
and productive ways." (Michael McMaster, in email communication)
The good news is that the
very technologies that brought forth both of these challenges also have
the potential to enable us to meet them. All we need to do is recognize
that the augmentation of human intelligence, individual and collective,
became a survival skill for our organizations and the species as whole.
Then we must act on that insight.
We can do this by growing
a symbiotic, human/machine intelligence that elicits the synergy of
the cross-impact of various scientific and technological breakthroughs
combined with the human qualities of creativity, consciousness and compassion.
The development of such
a global-scale, symbiotic intelligence can lead us out of the prehistory
of blind evolution, into the Emerging Planetary Reality of our conscious
evolution that opens unprecedented opportunities for human freedom,
creativity, and well-being.
bubbles of emergence
3.a Differentiation and
is a foundational pattern in calculus, the life and social sciences,
ancient wisdom traditions, and Western masters of dialectics. Given
its central role in evolutionary theory, it cannot and shouldnt
be overlooked as we build a framework for addressing our two questions-in-focus.
The main evolutionary drives
of the biological, social and technical worlds, are differentiation
(generating variety) and integration (generating interdependence) that
occurs through the the selection of the fit.
According to the Special
Integration Group of the International Society for the Systems Sciences
"the purpose of differentiation is for a further integration, and a
further integration is for an even farther differentiation," (Tang,
1996). If so, then differentiation--without the requisite complementary
integration--leads to a separation fallacy. On the other hand, well
know that integration is complete when we can observe that the subsystems
are supporting one anothers goals.
When integration is moving
so slowly that it allows differentiation to threaten large bodies of
the society with disintegration, then concerted corrective action is
needed. It was Joël de Rosnay who introduced a form of the "differentiation-and-integration"
pattern, particularly pertinent to the challenge of optimizing our global
nervous system for facilitating the emergence of CI. Its called
the "time bubble" (de Rosnay, 2001).
3.b The "time bubble" distinction
De Rosnay compares the acceleration
of time within specific domains of the technical-social world to the
densification of sound waves in front of an airplane as its approaching
the sound barrier.
"When the speed of the airplane
exceeds the speed of sound, it breaks the sound barrier, and sound bubbles
form behind it. The time bubbles I have described are like those sound
bubbles. They form contemporary sets, organized hierarchically according
to their temporal density. The creation of new fractal bubbles within
those that already exist corresponds to the phenomenon of emergence
[emphasis added - GP]. When their high temporal density suddenly reveals
their presence within the low-density bubbles, a mutation or explosion
occurs. What is called a technological revolution (the industrial,
biological, or digital revolution), the explosion of a sector,
or a decisive mutation represents the opening up of a time
bubble within our universe of reference." (de Rosnay, 2000)
The "time bubble" is a rich
metaphor, with implications for diverse possibilities such as re-interpreting
theories of evolutionary emergence and managing how we fight attention
overload. Whether this metaphor itself will become a "time bubble,"
it may influence how rapidly we can answer the question-in-focus of
"The densities of time flows
are mutually exclusive it is as if two people, one on a high-speed
train and the other riding a bicycle, are trying to exchange packages.
Yet sharing is essential if we want to avoid the irreversible process
of competitive exclusion between communities, people, and nations. The
cybiont is beginning to develop and evolve in a hyper-accelerating time
bubble, and it is up to human beings to prevent imbalances that could
imperil the future of humanity." (de Rosnay, 2000)
The galloping, unbalanced
differentiation which is a source of the global problematique cannot
only be better understood through de Rosnays theory, but additionally,
the "time bubble" distinction points to the direction in which we may
find some key ingredients of the answer.
If system A is the environment
of system B (and vice versa), and they are locked into time bubbles
that move with different speed, then chances are that the system with
a faster evolutionary trajectory will set a fitness criteria so that
the other cannot meet. Thats a situation that threatens millions
individuals, communities and nations, and not just those on the loosing
side of the digital divide. Consider the price that "winners" would
have to pay for leaving behind the "losers."
3.c The challenge of harmonization
across time bubbles
A vital criteria of fitness
for any global symbiotic intelligence is whether it can help humankind
pass the evolutionary test of harmonization across time bubbles. Theres
a conceptual path drawn by Francis Heylighen, that we consider suitable
to allow harmonization--escaping into higher order complexity--across
time bubbles of widely different velocities:
"If B's configuration fits
its environment A, by definition, their mutual configuration will be
retained, and a constraint will be imposed on their relative variation.
B has snapped into place, or discovered a niche.
Thus, a new, higher order system or supersystem, consisting of
the subsystems A and B bound together by their relative constraint,
is formed." (Heylighen, 1996)
This possibility raises
more questions than it answers. They are fertile questions, worth pondering.
For example: What could be a scenario which would bind together some
of the richest and poorest countries of the world into a higher order
Imagine, if a "learning
society" agenda were to evolve in Canada, Norway or the Netherlands,
and part of it was a global forum on the dangers of digital divides
both between and within countries. What if its design was optimized
for learning outcomes valuable to all participants. What if the organizers
of the next G8 meeting and the accompanying Global Social Forum started
collaborating on addressing the toughest issues in the center of their
conflict, with the best possible design for a multi-stakeholder problem-solving
conference held online and off-line? What could the rich countries get
from it? Well, besides their contribution to a better world, wouldnt
it be highly valuable to them the development and testing of their competence
to mobilize symbiotic intelligence to solve complex and wicked global
What is at stake, for all
of us is this: Will the emerging symbiotic intelligence be capable to
prevent the balkanization of humankind, by cultures locked into mutually
exclusive time bubbles? Will it enable a future envisioned by Joel de
Rosnay, as follows?
"Just as different times
coexist in our bodies, the cybiont will live by the harmonization of
super-imposed times. Sharing, solidarity, temporal harmonization, and
respect for differences will be the new rule, the new way of life of
symbiotic humanity." (de Rosnay, 2000)
4. Global brain, intelligence and systemic wisdom
4.a Global brain and
Can a GB help global society
to pass the evolutionary test of harmonization across time bubbles?
The definition of GB that
we use as a starting point is the one offered by Francis Heylighen,
according to which it is "the mental, information processing part of
the cybernetic system" that we call the global society. The potential
of GB to usefully inform societal evolution is proportionate with its
capacity to map and improve the "collection of information gathering,
interpretation and decision-making mechanisms" that the global society
uses "to select the actions that seem most likely to achieve these goals.�"
(Heylighen in an email message).
Just like a living brain
cannot exist outside a living organism, a global brain cannot exist
abstracted from the global super-organism. The brains and the
organisms evolutionary paths may follow what Karl Popper termed
"Popper differentiates between
two distinct parts to an organism: 'roughly speaking a behavior-controlling
part like the central nervous system of the higher animals, and an executive
part like the sense organs and the limbs, together with their sustaining
structures.' These parts are subject to the possibility of independent
Id rather speak of
"interdependent mutation," given the closely coupled relationships between
an organism and its nervous system. A generalized representation of
that relationship can be found in our double helix of "tool system /
human system" evolution, at . See
4.b Global brain, nervous
system, and convivial technologies
If the Web, as a globally
interconnected hypertext document-linkage system and network of conversations,
is a source of inspiration for the "global brain" concept, then the
concept could be more appropriately termed a "global nervous system."
Neither a "global brain"
nor a "global nervous system" is synonymous with the intelligence that
humankind needs if it is to complete the current evolutionary leap (or
"meta-system transition"), at the lowest cost in terms of human suffering
and wasted resources.
The nervous system of the
global super-organism has a potential to enable the emergence of a collective
intelligence, the same way as organic nervous systems enable the emergence
of intelligence in living systems.
What are the nervous systems
functions which may serve that emergence? They include:
To facilitate the
exchange and flow of information among the subsystems of the organism
and with its environment.
To effectively coordinate
the harmonious action of the subsystems and the whole.
To store, organize,
and recall information as needed by the organism.
To guide and support
the development of new competences and effective behaviors. (Pór, 1995)
Corresponding to those functions,
the subsystems of a nervous system--which play a large role in enabling
the emergence of intelligence--are the subsystems for sensing/learning,
communication, coordination, and memory/knowledge. How well these subsystems
are performing and coordinated, will strongly affect the organisms
chance for survival.
nervous system is the infrastructure needed for the self-organization
and self-improvement of a community's collective intelligence." (Pór,
1995) A global CI will most likely come into being as an ecosystem of
globally interconnected intelligent communities growing a knowledge
ecosystem of insights, information, and inspiration, supported by an
ecosystem of technologies.
The interface between community,
knowledge and technology ecosystems can perform its enabling function
only if its implemented in convivial technologies defined as the ones
which enlarge "the range of each person's competence, control and initiative."
4.c Designing for the emergence
of collective intelligence
We use the term "design"
in this context in a sense defined as follows. "
most basic human
activity system: the family " . Design is a creative, decision-oriented,
disciplined inquiry that aims to: formulate expectations,
aspirations and requirements
of the system to be designed; clarify ideas and of alternative representations
of the future system; devise criteria by which to evaluate those alternatives;
select and describe or model the most promising alternative;
and prepare a plan for the development of the selected model." (Banathy,
contribution to the "social evolution" dimension of GB research is the
concept of "evolutionary guidance system" (EGS) that he and his graduate
students applied to the development of various types of organizations
(Banathy, 1993). "If guided evolution is possible, as I suggest it is,
we face three critical questions: (1) What kind of systems can enhance
the creative purposeful unfolding of human evolution from the family
on to the global human community, along the multi-dimensions of
human experience? (2) What
are those dimensions that represent the wholeness of human experience?
(3) How do we go about designing those systems?" (Banathy, 1998)
In the quoted article he
proposes possible answer to those questions by introducing the "generic
image an EGS as an arrangement of a set of interacting dimensions that
enables purposeful evolutionary unfolding." In this stage of the evolution
of our own thinking, it would be too early to try to assess whether
the methodological challenges of applying Banathys EGS model to
designing for the emergence of CI can be overcome. In any case, the
GB/Social Evolution research will certainly gain some useful perspectives
from a dialogue with Banathy and his theory. In its most recent and
comprehensive expression, he wrote about designing social systems: "
We cannot know the end state, but we can move toward our best vision
of it" (Banathy, 2000).
Another source for building
our "designing for emergence" framework is de Rosnays symbionomics,
the first rule of which is "Foster the emergence of collective intelligence:
Many agents following simple rules and connected through communications
network can solve complex problems (de Rosnay, 2000)
The more complex the problems
are, the more likely that it will be not simply connected agents who
will solve them but communities of connected agents. It is an important
distinction because focusing on learning communities rather than individuals
as the substantive nodes of a global CI would give us better access
to building scalable, fractal-like models of it.
A fractal model of fostering
the emergence of CI should be scalable across the nested hierarchies
of 1. teams (small groups), 2. organizations (large communities), 3.
inter-organizational webs and alliances (societies), and 4. the global
The Community Design Architecture
of Community Intelligence Labs provides an early version of such a model.
It has a 4-fold architecture comprised of a social, knowledge, technology
and business architecture. Sample questions of which are listed in section
What are the key design
principles that promote the emergence of CI? If were to foster
the emergence of a global CI, that question should be on top of our
high-priority research directions. At this point, all we can do to is
to provide the following pointers that may guide the articulation of
some of those design principles.
Respecting the need
for the balanced cultivation of the four architectures listed above
seems to be a prime candidate for a CI design principle.
A well-designed CI
should maximize the synergy potential of synchronous/asynchronous or
"Real-Time/Delayed Time" (RT/DT) communication, collaboration and coordination.
Thats because combining the best features of those two primary
modes of collective cognition� has more chance to enable learning
fitness of a community of any size depends on the development of its
repertory of evolutionary competences. Investing in the strengthening
of different segments of that repertory will have different impact on
fostering the emergence of CI. An early work-in-progress articulation
of this concept can be found in our Wheel of Evolutionary
To serve as an evolutionary
guidance system, CI will have to be able to accommodate and model multiple
intelligences. Various models of multiple intelligences have been proposed
by various authors, that will have to be examined.
4.d Awakening systemic wisdom
in the global society
"Any framework of knowledge
that doesnt include wisdom requires us to operate blind...." (Allee,
"Wisdom" refers to our effective
use of intelligence, as evidenced by our capacity to alleviate suffering
and increase joy in human and organizational systems. "Wisdom is...a
highly creative and connective way of processing knowledge that distills
out essential principles and truths. Wisdom tells us what to pay attention
to. Wisdom is the truth seeker and pattern finder that penetrates to
the core of what really matters." (Allee, 1997). "Systemic wisdom can
help with intuiting the long view, understanding systems in the context
of their larger whole, and anticipating future crises." (Pór & Molloy,
Systemic wisdom is also
described as "the ability to see and to know, in Gregory Bateson's phrase,
the pattern that connects. This wisdom looks for and understands
how to discern the interconnections, interdependencies and resonances
that form the weave of life. We see the need for such systemic wisdom
in dealing with the current crises in ecology, for actions taken narrowly
dealing with a specific environmental symptom may have unexpected reverberations
throughout the entire ecological web. We need to see the web, the whole
system, not just the part in isolation. Systemic wisdom is a form of
perception and insight and a willingness to look beyond the immediate
moment and the surface of things for deeper connections and patterns.
It is being sensitive to consequences that might be apparent unless
we see the deeper patterns that connect." (David Spangler)
How will we know that the
systemic wisdom of the global society is awake? What will be the indicators
of its activation? Thats another question that deserves a collaborative
exploration by those who feel concerned by it. In the next few paragraphs,
we will suggest some starting points for such an exploration.
"Unless the awareness of
interconnectedness can stir compassion, it is of little use. The real
design challenge in cyberspace will be to use it as a basis for enlivening
compassionate action." Mitch Kapor, founder of Lotus Corporation and
the Electronic Frontiers Foundation: Tricycle, Winter 1995
Can we say that an
indicator of the presence of systemic wisdom would be when CI will be
used for mobilizing global resources to address global crises?
for a "wisdom indicator" would be the global brains measurable
contribution to happiness described as follows.
"Statistics about life satisfaction
in different countries show that people are most happy when their society
provides them with sufficient health, wealth, security, knowledge, freedom
and equality. The GB can directly or indirectly contribute to each of
these fundamental values." (The
Global Brain FAQ,)
Various instruments for
measuring "Quality of Life Indicators" have been developed by economists,
some of which are well-poised to overshadow GNP as a measure of a societys
advancement. If the activation of systemic wisdom in the global super-organism
will manifest in increasing life satisfaction of more and more people
of all countries, then it wouldnt be impossible to detect its
presence by creating and looking at "the planetary indicators
of balance and evolutionary vitality: Hunger, poverty, violence are
decreasing rapidly, and the rate of decrease is increasing. Integration
and synergy between different areas is observed and increasing.�"
(Larry Victor) That would also include the integration and synergy across
the different time bubbles that we referred to in section 3.c.
The same way that having
a nervous system doesnt make one wise, having a global brain wont
automatically lead to the activation of systemic wisdom in the global
society. If and when that activation happens, it will be the result
of more than just the enabling technical and knowledge infrastructures
provided by GB. Its other condition is in the evolution of social innovation
practices, for example the ones outlined in "How do we practice wisdom
in cyberspace?" (Johnson-Lenz, 1998)
Designing a collaborative design inquiry
The design of a design inquiry
in systems science corresponds to what is known in software engineering
as "metamodeling" or "method engineering." This is the domain on which
we clarify the epistemologic foundations of the research and specify
the knowable requirements of its process. When this phase is overlooked
or omitted, the design inquiry risk to be ineffective or inefficient,
The categories of qualities
to pay attention to when we design a design inquiry, include the qualities
of the inquiry and its product, and the qualities of the design team
and its members. The following quotes from Bela Banathy, Professor Emeritus
of Saybrook Graduate School, reflect also our view of the those qualities
of the inquiry which will be the most influential on the outcome of
any design for the emergence of a global-scale Collective Intelligence.
Design Inquiry Qualities
"Qualities of the design
inquiry include: attaining the stated purpose, bringing about a viable
authentic and sustainable system, using everyday language, applying
up-to-date design technology and multiple perspectives, seeking the
ideal, attending to the uniqueness of the design situation and the uniqueness
of the Designing Community, and the seeking of aesthetics." (Banathy,
Qualities of the Designing
The community of designers
seeks; high ethical qualities, sensitiveness toward the impact of design
on future generations and on those who are affected by the design, taking
responsibility for the design they create, and diversity in membership.
Members of the Community accept and respect each other, they aspire
to become a learning system and aim to develop their own design culture.
They regard having a shared worldview a quality of the highest order."
The Banathy paper quoted
above has a systemic inventory of specific qualities that we will review
in more depth and consider in the process of designing our design inquiry
into fostering the emergence of CI.
The "learning expedition" metaphor and model of design inquiry
We call the design inquiry
into the emergence of CI a "learning expedition," and use that term
both as metaphor and a model for a specific genre of inquiry.
In its broadest sense, the
" learning expedition" metaphor refers to the evolution of human
consciousness in individuals and communities. In a more specific sense,
we use it for labeling the collaborative process in which an "expedition
community" increases the learning capacity of itself and the larger
community that it serves.
The main metaphoric function
of the "learning expedition" term is to "render comprehensible a complex
set of elements and relationships... It is the peculiar strength of
metaphor that it can convey the essential without excessive oversimplification,
preserving its complexity by perceiving it through a familiar pattern
of equivalent complexity." (Judge, 1987)
While an expedition typically
unfolds in physical space, the "learning expedition" unfolds in conceptual
space. They both are a team endeavor, a joint enterprise of researchers
linked by a shared purpose.
The " learning expedition"
model refers to an activity system of collaborative inquiry that
includes such subsystems as: seeking shared meaning and purpose; designing
and improving the expedition communitys communication and knowledge-creating
systems and practices.
A successful learning expedition
has three types of outcomes:
a) learning outcome - the
development of new or enhanced individual and collective competence;
b) research outcome - contributions
to the evolution of knowledge and better maps of a particular knowledge
c) design outcome - a knowledge
product, e.g. educational materials or newly developed, successful and
The "learning expedition"
model is supported by a complementary set of metaphors and processes
which includes "scouting parties" (self-organizing, special-focus discovery
teams) and "base camps" (periodic, face-to-face gatherings of the scouting
parties). In the context of the suggested research, the "scouting parties"
will be self-organizing GB research teams focusing on various aspects
of what needs to be discovered or invented. The "base camps" will be
our periodic, in-person meetings to complement our online exchanges.
The "scouting parties" concept
corresponds to the factorizing strategy of addressing complex problems,
where "each sub-problem can be solved by a much smaller combination
selected from a reduced set of actions." (Heylighen, 1996) However,
the correspondence is only partial because, whereas factorizing implies
top-down structuring of the whole problematique, the learning expedition
model allows to address it by the formation of self-organizing scouting
We have implemented customized
variations of the "learning expedition" model of collaborative inquiry
in various team, organizational, and inter-organizational settings in
business and education. A more detailed description of the model can
be found in the article (Pór, 1991).
In the next and final section
well present some ideas for the formation of a GB learning expedition
Co-designing our learning community
A learning expedition that
will be able to answer those questions in focus, can only be designed
through collaborative effort. To contribute to the convening process
of such an effort focused on the links between global brain, collective
intelligence, systemic wisdom, and social evolution, were going
A sample set of candidates
for specific research questions and directions
for the formation of a learning expedition
7.a Specific research questions
The following set of specific
research questions represent a sample of directions that "scouting parties"
need to explore. It is assumed that the actual research agenda will
be developed and defined by the participating researchers, and its articulation
will be an important constitutive act in the formation of the "GB/Social
Evolution" research community. The network of questions from which the
agenda may emerge will most likely cover questions related to:
Building a coherent
and robust conceptual and methodological framework capable to both guide
"GB/Social Evolution" research and connect our work with other dimensions
of GB research
Assessing the present
conditions of global trends facilitating the emergence of CI, and key
lessons from them
Applying the 4-dimensional
Community Design Architecture developed by Community Intelligence Labs
to designing for the emergence of global CI
Questions for building our
How could the interaction
of Meta-Systems Transition (Turchin, V. & Joslyn,
C., 1993) and Evolutionary Guidance (Banathy, 1998) theories enhance
the organizing perspectives of designing for the emergence of CI?
What insights gained
from multi-agent based social system simulations (Goldspink, 2000) should
be taken into account as we design a "GB/Social Evolution" framework?
What is the implication
of de Rosnays concept of the "symbionomic time capital/interest"
(see below) in the context of fostering the emergence of CI?
"[I]f we adopt a nonlinear
type of time management, we can generate niches for new activities without
necessarily eliminating any of the old ones. In order to do this, we
have to invest time in the creation of time capital (a library, a computer,
a file management system, the Internet, an artistic creation, etc.),
which generates interest. The interest may take the form of time
gained for example, by using a computerized database for personal
documents or time as use value, compressed or expanded as desired.
It creates new niches for expansion and encourages synergy with
other niches, enhancing the value of the original capital with a minimal
investment of time." (de Rosnay, 2000)
Questions for building our
What qualities will
have to be present in the process of designing for the emergence of
a global-scale Collective Intelligence (CI) as an enabler of solving
world problems and closing the gap between the human condition and human
What will it take
to learn how to design for the emergence of CI ?
What are the core
design principles that we should honor in a research on the emergence
Questions for assessing
What are the successful
practices of sustaining coherent conversation in cyberspace?
social innovation processes are already supported by significant technical
and knowledge innovation, that can be looked at as harbingers of GB-like
How are the growing
phenomenon of virtual learning communities and professional learning
networks already generating scalable CI practices?
Questions for specifying
the design architecture of CI
What are the network
of roles, responsibilities, agreements necessary to foster the emergence
What is the role
of old and new types of universities--centers of intellectual creativity--in
the emergence of CI?
How will we know
that the systemic wisdom of the global society is awake? What will be
the indicators of its activation?
What ontologies should
be developed and how? How should knowledge be organized and portrayed?
What are the ecosystemic
conditions (Pór, 1997) for enabling collaborative knowledge development
across various communities?
How can our research
be optimized for synergy with the huge Encyclopedia of World Problems
and Human Potential published by the Union of International Association?
What mix of technologies
has to be orchestrated in support of the other design architectures?
What is the state-of-the-art
and anticipated evolution of ontology editors that would allow ontology
building by non-programmers?
What kind and level of resources
will be needed for the design, implementation and maintenance of a global?
How those resources will be gathered and allocated?
7.b Sample components of
Here are some sample components
for a methodology to consider in the design of our work.
a core idea of a GB and the emergence of CI, focused on solving global
problems and closing the gap between the human condition and human potential.
It is the clarity and coherence of that core idea that will serve as
the attractor of our self-organization.
Interviews with thought
leaders from relevant fields, for example:
- Bela Banathy, on the application
of systems theories and methodologies in the design of evolutionary
- Douglas Engelbart, Bootstrap
Institute, on his lifes work on bootstrapping human intelligence,
individual and collective, the methodology for Networked Improvement
Communities and Dynamic Knowledge Repositories
- Peter Schwartz, Global
Business Network, on the "art of the long view" and scenario planning
as collaborative research
An online version
of Delphi study
Building a pattern-library
of successful, large-scale social innovation practices that take advantage
of global brain-like capabilities; e.g.: the Global Knowledge 97 conference
sponsored by the Canadian government and reported by Rossman, 2001.
Shared Learning Journals
A shared learning journal
is a semi-structured research tool--embedded in software--designed for
optimizing the synergy between individual and collective observation,
interpretation, insights and intuition.
7.c Process elements for
the formation of a learning expedition
The suggested research agenda,
methodology, and expedition formation, are left intentionally sketchy,
waiting for input and refinement by all interested to contribute. Our
current thinking about the start-up process includes the following steps.
Form a "GB/Social
Evolution" group of researchers attracted by the approach presented
in this paper. That group would work in close collaboration with the
rest of GB workgroup.
Develop the design
framework for a "social evolution"-focused research as a learning expedition,
Articulate the core
idea (raison dętre), values, and high-level objectives (long-term,
qualitative goals) of the system to be designed.
Develop an initial
specification of the functions of the system necessary to meet its objectives.
Develop and agree
on a broad-brush methodology for carrying out the design inquiry.
with research organizations, teams and individuals which have a similar
or complementary research agenda.
Seek the institutional
sponsorship necessary to resource our research.
Present a report
about the status of this initiative and organizing a track on "Global
Brain and Social Evolution," at GB 2002.
with organizers of selected global events, with the objective of using
their venue for mutually beneficial action-research pilots on fostering
the emergence of CI.
For further information
and exploring ways in which you can contribute, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Banathy, Bela H.
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Banathy, Bela H.
(1996) Qualities We Seek in Designing Social Systems, in the proceedings
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Banathy, Bela H.
(1998) Evolution Guided by Design: A Systems Perspective, Systems
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Banathy, Bela H.
(2000) Guided Evolution
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What Is a Learning Expedition (International Center for Organization
Pór, George (1995)
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Pór, George (1997)
Knowledge Ecosystems for Communities of Practice
Pór, George in
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Knowledge Ecology," Systems Thinker, October 2000.
(2001) "Networking and
Mobilizing Collective Intelligence" , in: Research on Global Crises, Still
de Rosnay, Joël
(2000) The Symbiotic
Man: A New Understanding of the Organization of Life and a Vision of
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(1996) The Synergy Principle,
Human Action and Evolution of Consciousness&
Valentin & Joslyn, Cliff (1993) The Metasystem Transition
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