Global Brains and Mindplexes

It's not necessary to think about humans and AIs with an "Us versus Them" mentality ...

One very real possibility is that humans, narrow AIs and AGIs in some sense merge together into a collective intelligence -- an emergent "global brain" (which might of course extend beyond the globe as such, assuming humans or AIs voyage into space).

Humans could bear a number of different relationships to this global brain.

Via jacking into it with brain-computer interfacing hardware, they could quite directly partake of it, perhaps sacrificing much of the individuality we currently associate with being human, but gaining a feeling of oneness with a greater mind, and the capability to share with other humans with a richness not possible in convention human mind-states, and to partake of processes of thought and feeling beyond the human ken.

Or, for some, connecting to the global brain could be more like using the Internet today -- but an order of magnitude more pervasive. What if your computer, your cellphone, your car, your service robot, all the appliances in your house -- were all part of the same global nonhuman intelligence. You wouldn't need a cranial jack to be locked into the global brain and have your psyche and self adapt to it. You'd make your free choices and have your autonomy -- but everything you did would be influenced and conditioned by the global brain.

Assuming a free society, interacting with the global brain would be optional -- but nearly everyone would take the option, just as all other highly convenient, inexpensive technologies have been adopted by nearly all people given the chance.

Is the Global Brain Already Here?

Society now is already a "global brain" in a sense -- but it seems to lack the reflective, deliberative consciousness that humans have.

It seems feasible that by creating AGI systems that scan patterns in the Internet as a whole, and attempt to guide global thought trends by inserting information appropriately on the Net for people to act upon, we could supply society with a theater of reflective awareness -- thus making a Global Brain with more of a purposeful, explicitly goal-oriented coherence, so it would be something more like a human mind.

This may be the context in which superhuman AI develops ... and in which some humans decide to transcend legacy human awareness and become something smarter and broader.

A Global Brain Mindplex?

The achievement of a true global brain (with an emergent, global theater of reflective consciousness) without the abolition of human individuality would constitute an example of a mindplex -- a mind that has reflective consciousness on more than one level ... a reflectively conscious system some of whose component parts are also reflectively conscious systems.

We don't know much about mindplexes -- they don't exist yet on this planet, so far as we know; and their dynamics will doubtless involve many strikingly novel phenomena.

1 comment:

  1. Problem is, we don't know whether such mindplexes would be liberal or democratic enough to respect people's autonomy. We might end up with a situation like the 'Borg' or 'cybermen' of popular SF. And I don't see any way of stopping it if this does happen. Of course if humanity then found themselves in a wonderful situation of being part of a god-like being with an infinite future we mightn't care very much being assimilated (at least, afterwards).