Technological singularity as the emerging embodiment of the global brain

Technological singularity as the emerging embodiment of the global brain:

how losing degrees of freedom allows us to gain degrees of freedom

Mixel Kiemen (ECCO, VUB)



The concept of the global brain has been around for more than fifteen years and much has changed in that period. The global brain has been used as a methodical description of how the Internet is interconnecting people into a higher-order living system. In this presentation we relate the global brain to the technological singularity. The singularity is a projection of the acceleration of technology that seemingly will lead to an asymptotical point around 2045, at which point predictions about technology become unpredictable. Our hypothesis is that the singularity is a point of closure for a meta-system transition that will embody the global brain.

The technological acceleration has a feature of scale. While at first things could be constructed on a smaller scale, we see a tendency to build things that normally require centuries to evolve. This is part of a feature we call mobilization. Mobilization is related to the innovation with-and-about people, organization and technology. In this process of increased mobilization we are entwining ourselves with technology so that it becomes impossible to survive without it.

We shall argue that the closure of the global living system is not a reduction of our humanity but just an amplification of our humanity: it is bringing the best out of people. It will be illustrated by cases and this is why people happily embrace a reduction of independence, as to become part of the global body.

Another pattern is recognized. What cells are for a multicellular being seems the same as what cities are becoming for our global living system. This transformation makes us question whether our view of the evolution of life may not need an update. In particular we ask if the current building blocks may have evolved under a pressure of "more with less". Basically a bootstrapping logic is needed to understand evolution. By learning more from the current meta-system transformation – the global living system and its cities – an understand may emerge that could help us understand prior major transitions in life.