Human distributed intelligence

I sat by the river and watched some ducks approach a white cup floating on the river. Quickly they recognized the item as “non food” and continued. There head was raised giving the impression of purpose, of attention, of relaxed readiness for action.

I wonder if human’s lives are just as driven or pre-programmed as that of animals. People indulde in drives, in food, in sex, in drugs, in power, they indulge in counter-drives, anorexia,…. Civilians get killed, soldiers get maimed, rich people strut their wealth or bullie others, fearful people cower down.

Social organisations work peacefully or not, it depends, on what, who knows. For a while now, people have created beyond their means, chiefs, kings, emperors cohersing people into great buildings, delirious tombs…

And yet beyond this individual madness, beyond this social mallability, a quality has moved forth, survived, recurred, the passing of knowledge. However indiosyncratically this knowledge was acquired, passed on, distributed, there are people out there who know about something, some of that knowledge gets lost, like the knowledge of the medicinal value of plants, or of the plants themselves. Others are aquired in their stead. Take computer technology. Out there there is someone who knows how to use this or that. This knowledge is there because someone somewhere became motivated to learn, humans with their uncomprehensible motivational complexity are acquiring and holding on to bits of information which permeate their world.

I wonder if there is a speed of transmission at which humans will start vibrating in this web of information and become part of an active acting distributed intelligence. Already we have seen the crudest of manifestations, flash visits, terrorist coordination… What if the world of information became so fascinating that people would voluntarily devote themselves to their informational life… millions of people deciding together on this or that action, millions of other collecting information, millions of others processing pain signals.. and together this human distributed intelligence engulfing the lives of humans.

Except it could not reproduce. So how different is that from a rainbow. Perhaps human intelligence is empty. Empty of permanence that is. If that is the case, perhaps it is ok to relax, to look at all I have to learn with a little distance, and to remind myself, it is empty, empty, empty. Lets stop and see what else needs to be done.

5 Comments

  1. Gary

    July 27, 2006 @ 11:27 am

    1

    Okay, first, this is a great resource page of information. I read all of it. I do, however, have a comment about “human distributed intelligence” in which you say “Except it could not reproduce. So how different is that from a rainbow. Perhaps human intelligence is empty. Empty of permanence that is. If that is the case, perhaps it is ok to relax, to look at all I have to learn with a little distance, and to remind myself, it is empty, empty, empty. Lets stop and see what else needs to be done.”

    Once a “distributed intelligence” synergistic system is created, it does reproduce via the addition of hundreds, thousands, even millions of people giving/taking to the exchange of information, replicating and modifying as they go along passing along critical knowledge, skill-sets, and danger/pain signals to alert the unwary and uninformed. Indeed, even parents who participate in this “human distributed intelligence” symbiotic construct pass the skills on to their progeny. Does it now reproduce?

    So, what else needs to be done? I can answer by saying that I’ve been in the substance abuse field for many years to help inform, educate, and provide resources for health professionals and the general public, addicts, addict’s families, and support groups. As an online company, we help thousands of people each month find drug rehab treatment centers, alcohol rehabilitation, chemical dependency recovery centers, detox units and much more. So, what else can be done? What ever your specialty, your particular talent or skill, get it out on the web, get it out to millions of browsers, get them to participate, invite them in and get them to interact – spread the knowledge. Help every one help others by connecting them to the single greatest human achievement – the internet – to pass on “survival knowledge.” Unlike the styrofoam white cup to the ducks, information is a “food item” and ingested by the human mind in order to survive and grow.

    I look forward to reading more of your blog, don’t quit, share the knowledge. Human intelligence is not “empty” in any sense of the word. If we didn’t share or pass on information we’d all still be painting ourselves “blue,” living in caves, and running around with clubs. Blessings.

    Gary
    Treatment Centers Drug and Alcohol Rehab Info

  2. Gary

    July 27, 2006 @ 12:42 pm

    2

    Thank you again!!

  3. anne

    July 27, 2006 @ 1:52 pm

    3

    Thank you for your encouragement with this blog.

    you have a point that social system/organisation can reproduce.

    As a substance abuse specialist, I am surprised you are encouraging folks to participate so strongly. First comes first it seems to me, Humans need other humans.

    Some findings from a psychology research database
    Computer use has no demonstrated impact on the well-being of older adults.
    Communication Via Instant Messenger…, IM use was associated with feeling that one used the Internet too much, and reduced life satisfaction.
    Internet Chat Room Use… Time spent in chat rooms was positively correlated with loneliness but only weakly and negatively related to satisfaction with life.

    How they participate may be key to the effect of the internet.
    Results show that Ss used the Internet primarily for 2 reasons: (1) socio-affective regulation (SAR), a social or affiliative orientation toward Internet use; and (2) goods-and-information acquisition (GIA), a utilitarian or practical orientation toward Internet use. Internet use driven by SAR negatively influenced psychological well-being through reducing social integration. However, Internet use motivated principally by GIA appeared to have a favorable effect on psychological well-being through increasing social integration.

    Even with “GIA”, I lean towards regarding the internet as fascinating but ultimatly empty, and spending more time with folks in person when I can.

  4. Gary

    July 30, 2006 @ 6:07 pm

    4

    I agree whole-heartedly that social interaction comes first, and there is no substitute for real human companionship. Second, though, is the goods-and-information acquisition (GIA) which precludes the internet as a social substitute for a real group of folks to hang-out with. Should we talk about the socio-economic bell-curve of internet users?

    Obviously, the majority of internet users do more “goofing off” during their surfing than do researchers and scientists globally connected to share information, research, and thoughts. Is this any different from real life? However, when people need answers, share a particular passion, or want to connect with people of like minds, and more – they can do it on the internet (and, just as an aside, did you know that the telegraph was the world’s first internet? People around the world met, talked, fell in love, got married, etc.). For example, in the substance abuse field, an addict or alcoholic going through a 12-step program are in treatment together, meet regularly, and form close friendships in recovery. These folks reach out on the internet, too, for help and support, to tell their story, and share successful strategies for recovery. Perhaps, more important, their families and children, wrapped in “shame and silence,” reach out anonymously through chat rooms, blogs, and forums to seek support, comraderie, understand addiction, and seek treatment services for those they love (e.g. Drug Rehabs, Addiction Treatment, Detox, dual diagnosis, residential treatment homes, etc.).

    Humans are the only animal that, once hurt or wounded, will leave warning signs for others. Or, alternatively, if happy, discovered safe passage through hazardous territory (recovery) will broadcast their accomplishments for others to learn from.

    So, yes, I’m a great internet advocate. A smart person will learn from his/her mistakes. A wise person will learn from other peoples mistakes. And the internet is chock-full of real life stories. See Robert Fulghum’s The Mirror for an astonishing and profound story.

    Thank you for your blog.

    Warm regards,
    Gary
    Addiction Recovery Directory of Treatment Centers

  5. Mike

    April 11, 2007 @ 5:46 am

    5

    Obviously, the majority of internet users do more “goofing off” during their surfing than do researchers and scientists globally connected to share information, research, and thoughts.

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