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Global brain theory refers to the idea that the increasing intelligence and interconnectedness of humans and computers produce an emergent global brain. This could be through the interconnectedness of humans brains facilitated by Emerging technologies or by other methods such as the Internet waking up and becoming self-aware.
There are similarities between global brain theory and the Gaia hypothesis, sometimes promoted by bioluddites, that the Earth’s many interconnected systems in effect constitutes a single organism. The cross between these two ideas is Technogaianism, which embraces technological innovation that is used for the health of the environment.
One version of global brain theory was pioneered by writer Howard Bloom, in his book Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century. Howard Bloom argues that we do not need to wait for more advanced computers or Artificial general intelligence for a global brain to emerge, and that groups of people (and other organisms) already exhibit so many traits as a collective that they do not possess individually that there already exists a global brain. He takes the non-consensus view of evolution as a group, rather than individual process.
Robert Wright has argued that World federalism will be the inevitable result of such greater levels of coordination. Singularitarians such as John Smart were strongly influenced by the idea of a global brain.
The general idea of the Global Brain is that computing and communication technologies may lead to the creation of a kind of"distributed mind” in which humans and AI minds both participate, but that collectively forms a higher level of intelligence and awareness, going beyond the individual intelligences of the people or AI’s involved in it. I have labeled this kind of distributed mind a"Mindplex” and have spent some effort exploring the possible features of Mindplex psychology. The Global Brain Mindplex, as I envision it, would consist of an AGI system specifically intended to collect together the thoughts of all the people on the globe and synthesize them into grander and more profound emergent thoughts – a kind of animated, superintelligent collective unconscious of the human race. Of course the innate intelligence of the AGI system would add many things not present in any of the human-mind contributors – but then the AGI feeds its ideas back to the mass of humans, who then think new thoughts that are incorporated back into the Global Brain Mindplex mix…
The advent of such a Global Brain Mindplex might well help achieve what has proved impossible via human means alone – the creation of rational and ethically positive social institutions.