The Future Internet as a Global Brain: an update of the theory

The Future Internet as a Global Brain: an update of the theory
(Evolution, Complexity and Cognition group, VUB)
The ECCO research group will soon be launching a "Global Brain Institute" (GBI) at the VUB. This provides a good occasion for summarizing the research that will form the focus of this new institute.
The Global Brain can be defined as the emergence of a distributed, planetary intelligence supported by the Internet. The seminar will first summarize the history of research in this domain, starting over a century ago with the pioneers Herbert Spencer, Teilhard de Chardin, Paul Otlet and H.G. Wells, and building up to the creation of the world-wide web in the 1990s. It will then sketch the present situation and the contributions of the ECCO research group.
The seminar concludes by proposing conceptual foundations for a future theory of the global brain. The global brain would emerge by the self-organization of the network of people, computers and various tools, facilitated by the directed propagation of challenges from agent to agent across a global medium. Its function will be to coordinate (and thus increase the synergy between) all human and machine activities. The global brain would thus play the role of a nervous system for the planetary organism.
Heylighen F. (2011) The GBI Vision: past, present and future context of global brain research (ECCO working paper 2011-11)
Heylighen F. (in press) Self-organization in Communicating Groups: the emergence of coordination, shared references and collective intelligence, in: Language and Complexity, Barcelona University Press
Heylighen F. (2011) Conceptions of a Global Brain: an historical review, in: Evolution: Cosmic, Biological, and Social, pp: 274 - 289, eds: Grinin, L. E., Carneiro, R. L., Korotayev A. V., Spier F., Uchitel Publishing, Moscow.
Yuri Milner on the future of the internet (transcript of Milner's presentation to the Yalta Annual Meeting in September 2011)