WIP: Global Collective Intelligence

This is going to turn into a manifesto, but consider it a work-in-progress document for now. For any feedback  (constructive criticism, further reading, counterarguments etc. – which is highly appreciated)  please email tobias@tobiasdeml.com. Multiple sub-articles will follow, and this philosophical document is going to be revised multiple times with additions of current research references.

Building a Tower

The Brain - physical location of our capacity to intelligence.

The Brain – physical location of our capacity to intelligence.

For the past 2.5 Million years, we – the collective of Homo Sapiens – have been building towers. We built millions of towers next to and on top of each other, like the Tower of the Wheel or the Tower of the Automobile. What we seem to never notice because we are so caught up in tower-building is the notion that we never really thought of building a better crane. With a better crane, we could build better towers – but instead, we just choose to keep building decent towers with the same crane.

Companies deliver services or products as a short-term strategy, but work on optimizing their workflow in a long-term strategy as well. They might take out a big loan to buy a better machine: The shot-term loss of lots of capital is soon outweighed by the investment paying off and the new machine outperforming the old machine by a multitude.
Anything in business is based around this dynamic between short-term and long-term investments.  For some reason though, we fail to apply this dynamic to our own brains; to our own capacity to be intelligent.

Challenges of the Future Have to be Anticipated Today

Our world today is faced with certain challenges, and these challenge will most likely grow; they will most likely affect all of humanity. We can all agree on the fact that the world as it is developing today needs solutions to be future-proof.

That solution needs to be transnational, transcontinental – it needs to be a global, long-term solution. How did we come up with solutions in the past? We researched. The brightest and most productive people teamed up and created solutions that were necessary to make their world future-proof: the wheel, the compass, the book press, the steam engine, the factory, the airplane, the radio, the computer. All this research and development was done by people. These people employed two things in order to arrive at these innovations that drive our world as it is today:

Productivity

No single person produced the steam engine or any of the above necessities: it was always a culmination of people that did. They fed off each other’s findings, competed with each other for speed, profitability and efficiency. They were backed by capital from governments or private sources, which was a result of former productivity and profitability of these funding entities. Productivity is a byproduct of intelligence, but let’s keep them separate for easier dissection.
Simplifying lots of history: Regardless if that collective was collaborating or competing, each innovation was driven by a collective of human productivity,

Intelligence

No single person invented the computer or any of the above milestones of technology: It was always a collective of people that did. They were taught in schools from books that former intelligent people compiled, based on shared findings which reach back thousands of years into the roots of science. They were led and given feedback by mentors who shared their findings and knowledge. All inventors and scientists of the world are being powered by the base of shared knowledge that they can then build their research on: Nobody needs to re-invent the wheel or re-find Pythagoras’ formula.
In essence: Regardless of which point in history we are looking at, each innovation was driven by a collective of human intelligence.

A Collective Beyond the Boundaries of Science

If we look at any demographic in history, there was never a point where everyone in society was actively participating in society reaching new milestones. Most people sustain the system as is; a very small group of people goes the path of being scientists or funding scientists – in essence, creating progress or funding progress. Now, depending on the manpower we have in productivity and intelligence, we have potential for achieving progress. It is necessary to look at that potential on a basis beyond occupation – not only industrialists and full-time inventors are the ones who drive the world – it is every single person, to a certain extent.

Each person develops a certain level of productivity and intelligence throughout their life. Let’s suppose it was possible to give a number to each individual’s productivity and intelligence. Now, if we averaged all the productivity and all the intelligence in the world, we would arrive at a certain number – let’s say “The Intelligence Index” is 1,000 in 2013.

In 1450, when Gutenberg was credited with inventing the printing press (which would revolutionize education and knowledge forever), the Intelligence Index was a lot lower: People could not receive a wide public education so they had very little chance to further the boundaries of human knowledge, and there was very little mechanization and automation, so people could not multiply their manpower.
In essence: The world was less productive and less intelligent – on average – than it is today. Let’s say the number was 200 in 1450.

In 2113, one hundred years from today, our world has to be more productive and more intelligent than it has ever been before. The challenges faced will exceed today’s challenges by a multitude. At the same time, the ability to multiply manpower through robotics, energy innovation and industrialization has to be a multitude of today. The ability to educate society as a whole has to exceed what we can reach today. It “has to be”, not just out of necessity and challenge, but just by means of socioeconomic evolution and growth.
To say it simply, the world has to be more productive and more intelligent than it is today. Let’s say the total will be 1,200  in 2113.

Bottlenecks in Innovation

The Intelligence Index of 1200 might not be enough though. Our ability of solving problems could easily be outgrown by the problems themselves. Energy is not abundantly available today, and natural resources are not replenished as fast as they disappear, so we will have to come up with a solution to produce much larger amounts of energy with much less natural resources. The only way we can solve problems like that is through massive expansion of both our average productivity and intelligence, that goes beyond our “natural evolution” of intelligence and productivity. In the world of the future, the small elite receiving top-level education and creating top-level innovations will not be enough; we need to increase our odds.

Increasing the Odds in Favor of Homo Sapiens

The only true solution to innovating the challenges of the future is to raise intelligence and productivity per capita, on a global level.

In a poker game, each hand of cards has different odds of winning. The combination of individual cards gives you certain odds of beating your opponent. A straight of Ace, King, Queen, Jock and 10 has higher odds of winning than a straight of 10, 9, 8, 7 and 6.
That’s what we have to do: We have to raise the odds of beating the adversities of the future in favor of the Homo Sapiens. We have to raise global intelligence and productivity to a level where our odds of solving problems outweigh the odds of being destroyed by these problems.

A Radical Reform of Education through Psychology and Neuroscience

When we talk about “Education Reform”, we either talk about funding problems of public education, spreading classic school education among illiterate parts of the population, or esoteric new-wave concepts like Waldorf schools that have historically been unable to deliver evidence of outputting more intelligent students and have therefore never been adapted in the mass education systems.

What we need, is an education reform that goes beyond our classic school education, beyond the concept of siting in a class room with a teacher while doing homework and performing on tests. We ought to explore beyond that. It is imperative for the survival of our species to reform our global education level as well as reforming our global ecucation potential, since both will take direct effect on our potential of innovating the future.

These “radical methods” must stem from an enormous increase in Psychology- and Neuroscience-related research. For thousands of years, we have been investing our lives in inventing and creating technological breakthroughs – but all these breakthroughs are based on our own ability to reason, and our own capacity to be intelligent.

Building a Better Crane

Innovation can be pictured as building a tower. We can keep building these towers with the same crane, or we can decide to build a new crane. The way of building this new crane, with which we can build towers like the Tower of the Fusion Reactor, the Tower of the Mars Colony etc. – is through doing research on how this crane works.

Translating this metaphor into the “real world”, we need to concentrate a worldwide research effort on the workings of our brain – as THE top priority of the scientific and political community. We need to have much deeper understanding of how we absorb, memorize and recall information. We need to study what the neurological processes behind ideas and recombination of ideas is. We need to understand our brains better in terms of their biology, and we need to be able to monitor them better through computer science and physics. We need to research what makes us depressed and unproductive, what triggers our subconscious to either gain or lose motivation on our endeavors.
In essence: We need to research what makes us intelligent, and what makes us productive – and how we can increase the potential for both at the very core. We need to concentrate on the root of innovation, in order to We need to invest large amounts of manpower, capital and public support into that research – and then apply it to our own generation and the generation following us.

It is our generation that will find itself at a second, more serious tipping point of complete international annihilation after the Cold War.
It is an imperative for our governments to direct their means and power to the development of better tools, and the the creation of a more potent population.
We have an obligation to our children, family, friends, community, country, continent and species to direct our own current and future productivity and intelligence towards solving the big problems. And it is a necessity for our species that we enable ourselves to exceed our potential by means of expanding our potential to intelligence.
Our global collective intelligence is the key to our future.