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Wikipedia and the Global Brain

Social super-organisms appear everywhere in nature, from the communities of cells that comprise the body, to pack animals and insect colonies. These biological entities can be described as closely interacting networks of communicating biological objects. Life on earth has repeatedly discovered this paradigm (Interacting Objects) in its exploration of evolutionarily stable strategies. We suggest that these structures are optimized for information processing, as exemplified by the networks of interacting neurones in the brain. Distributed information processing across the network facilitates the emergence of radically new behaviour at the 'higher', system-level, allowing the rapid development of new, stable behaviours. These networks of Interacting Objects, if stable enough, can form the nodes of yet higher level networks, forming a layered stack. At the top of this stack, which can be extended back to sub-atomic particles, is human society. Unique in nature, humans can engineer their interaction networks on time scales faster than 'classical' evolution-by-genetic-mutation. Thus, we have the opportunity to design modes of communication that maximize information processing, and hence maximise human productivity.

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Wikipedia and the Global Brain

  1. 1. Wikipedia and the Global Brain. Dan Bolser and Jong Bhak B i O conference 2009
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Six points: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Social super-organisms exist everywhere in nature. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can be described as “( B i O ) Interacting Objects”. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Such networks perform information processing. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Networks can form layers. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Humans can engineer their interaction networks. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The conclusion is a “biological philosophy”. </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Social super-organisms
  4. 4. <ul><li>Evolution has repeatedly ‘discovered’ this paradigm. </li></ul><ul><li>Ultimately, 'nothing exists in isolation'. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Example from metagenomics of the human intestinal microbiome: <ul><li>We should regard ourselves as 'superorganisms' together with the indigenous microbes and that the composite genome should be referred to as the human 'metagenome'. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The human intestinal microbiome: a new frontier of human biology. 2009. Hattori M, Taylor TD . DNA Res. 16:1-12 </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Representation as BiO
  7. 10. Information processing
  8. 13. Information Processing <ul><li>Sensitivity of signalling cascades </li></ul><ul><li>Communication </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bats </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Computation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Brains </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bacteria </li></ul></ul>
  9. 14. Clip (swarming bats.mpg)
  10. 15. Stable networks of interactions form the nodes of ‘higher level’ networks
  11. 20. Basic 'Cybernetics' <ul><li>Metasystem Transition and its resultant </li></ul><ul><li>Emergence and Transcendence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The substrate affects (creates) the metasystem level (bottom-up), and then the metasystem affects the substrate (top-down). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Back and forth, back and forth until it stabilizes into a new life form. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 21. Example <ul><li>Before global communications, we didn't have weather satellites. Now, anyone can get a forecast and dress accordingly. </li></ul><ul><li>So the meta-layer has directly affected the substrate (the way someone dresses). </li></ul><ul><li>If people decide to build a new satellite, you have the substrate affecting the meta-layer. </li></ul><ul><li>When it provides better forecasts, the meta-layer again affects the substrate. </li></ul>
  13. 22. Human interaction networks can be designed
  14. 23. Clip (swarming fish.mpg) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIgHEhziUxU
  15. 24. <ul><li>Open source projects facilitate creative and productive community interaction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Social engineering </li></ul></ul>
  16. 25. Open Human <ul><li>Human 2.0 </li></ul><ul><li>Genetic basis for social institutions? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Genetic determinants of risk (SNPs) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Banking institutions could organize risk within their business structure. </li></ul></ul>
  17. 27. Conclusion <ul><li>Wikipedia is an artefact of the Global Brain : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It is a product of the collective, interacting network of human beings, linked via technologically advanced communication hardware and software protocols and is produced within a community agreed framework for guiding the creation of content. </li></ul></ul>
  18. 28. Conclusion <ul><li>The fundamental unit of evolution is not an individual 'thing'. </li></ul><ul><li>It is a network of 'interacting things' that persists in time. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Atom of Evolution. 2004. Jonghwa Bhak, Dan Bolser, Daeui Park, Yoobok Cho, Kiesuk Yoon, Semin Lee, SungSam, Gong, Insoo Jang, Changbum Park, Maryana Huston, Hwanho Choi. Genomics & Informatics 2:167-173. </li></ul></ul>
  19. 29. Thanks Thank you for interacting! Thanks to every node in the giant network of interactions that forms the information processing architecture of the universe! Thanks to Don Stockbauer for many discussions about the GB, and for providing the examples.
  20. 31. a) memory b) processes A system for ‘ information processing ’ must have: