"Visions of World Benefit & Global Responsibility: Perspectives of McGill Students

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Global Brain

The global brain is a concept describing the billions of human minds linking together to form a single integrated network [1]. A popular analogy is that humans represent cells of the brain, and that collectively they can serve as a more powerful entity: a global super organism. Similar to a brain, the network of human minds is a complex system that can process information, make decisions, create new ideas, and solve problems. That is the view of the Global Brain Group, a network of people sharing the same ideas about possible concepts of the humanity. The idea of viewing humanity as a single organism dates back to the ancient Greeks [2], where analogies between social systems and the body were discussed. This also gave inspiration to the writers on the subject of the 19th century. Hebert Spencer was one of the first to discuss the idea of a social organism [3], and the theologist Teilhard de Chardin was an early adopter of the mental organization concept [4].

As technology develops, the concept of the global brain is reconsidered. The variety of ideas, specializations, and subcultures increases as a result of smarter communication and better mobility. Parts of world become more interdependent and form a system of higher level of complexity. The global brain creates a higher level of intelligence, and produces more information and knowledge that increase the complexity of choices. Also, the interdependence and interconnection allow problems to be spread across larger regions and thus affecting a larger population. In addition, this can lead to the Butterfly Effect, a theory referring to the idea that a small variation at point A can produce a large variation at point B [4].

To date the global brain is still at an early stage. Individuals are in the process of making connections and exchanging information. However, the global brain can eventually help leaders, managers, organizations and people. One of the benefits is over the control of information. Presently, search engines and software filters are used to retrieve documents according to certain criteria. Since value is determined by people who use and appreciate a document, and that the global brain gets its knowledge and intelligence from these users, it can select relevant information with more flexibility. A second benefit of the global brain is to be applied to the new economy. Not only it can help facilitate communication between buyers and sellers, it can also help buyers finding the best value, and sellers to get the best price. This can have positive effects in growth or in the reduction of unsold items. In addition to this benefit, the global brain can also help to solve global issues. Indirectly, it can assists to pollution problems and infection diseases by monitoring polluting gazes and infections over different regions.

No comments: