Archives for Systems Theory

What's After the Real Time Web?

In typical Web-industry style we’re all focused minutely on the leading trend-of-the-year, the real-time Web. But in this obsession we have become a bit myopic. The real-time Web, or what some of us call “The Stream,” is not an end in itself, it’s a means to an end.…

Video: My Talk on the Evolution of the Global Brain at the Singularity Summit

If you are interested in collective intelligence, consciousness, the global brain and the evolution of artificial intelligence and superhuman intelligence, you may want to see my talk at the 2008 Singularity Summit. The videos from the Summit have just come online.…

Fast Company Interview — "Connective Intelligence"

In this interview with Fast Company, I discuss my concept of "connective intelligence." Intelligence is really in the connections between things, not the things themselves. Twine facilitates smarter connections between content, and between people. This facilitates the emergence of higher levels of collective intelligence.…

Watch My best Talk: The Global Brain is Coming

I’ve posted a link to a video of my best talk — given at the GRID ’08 Conference in Stockholm this summer. It’s about the growth of collective intelligence and the Semantic Web, and the future and role the media. Read more and get the video here.…

How about Web 3G?

I’m here at the BlogTalk conference in Cork, Ireland with a range of bloggers and technologists discussing the emerging social Web. Including myself, Ian Davis and Paul Miller from Talis, there are also a bunch of other Semantic Web folks including Dan Brickley, and a group from DERI Galway.…

Enriching the Connections of the Web — Making the Web Smarter

Web 3.0 — aka The Semantic Web — is about enriching the connections of the Web. By enriching the connections within the Web, the entire Web may become smarter.

I  believe that collective intelligence primarily comes from connections — this is certainly the case in the brain where the number of connections between neurons far outnumbers the number of neurons; certainly there is more "intelligence" encoded in the brain’s connections than in the neurons alone.…

Intelligence is in the Connections

Google’s Larry Page recently gave a talk to the AAAS about how Google is looking towards a future in which they hope to implement AI on a massive scale. Larry’s idea is that intelligence is a function of massive computation, not of “fancy whiteboard algorithms.” In other words, in his conception the brain doesn’t do anything very sophisticated, it just does a lot of massively parallel number crunching.…

Must-Know Terms for the 21st Century Intellectual

Read this fun article that lists and defines some of the key concepts that every post-singularity transhumanist meta-intellectual should know! (via Kurzweil)

Minding The Planet — The Meaning and Future of the Semantic Web


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The Sell-Off of America

This article by Germany’s best-known economics writer provides a fast and high-level overview of how the American empire is losing (has lost?) its economic power. While the dollar is still the world’s currency of choice, the USA no longer controls it.…

Is There Room for The Soul? – Good Article on Cognitive Science

This is a surprisingly good article on the nature of consciousness — providing a survey of the current state-of-the-art in cognitive science research. It covers the question from a number of perspectives and interviews many of the leading current researchers.

Why Machines Will Never be Conscious

Below is the text of my bet on Long Bets. Go there to vote.

“By 2050 no synthetic computer nor machine intelligence will have become truly self-aware (ie. will become conscious).”

Spivack’s Argument:

(This summary includes my argument, a method for judging the outcomeof this bet and some other thoughts on how to measure awareness…)


Zooming Out in Time

For an interesting read — download this wonderful presentation on zooming out in time as a way to predict the future. It’s from a talk given at the Long Now Foundation. Nice visual slides illustrate how the world changes over vast timescales.…

Breakthrough in Finding Patterns in Complex Data Such as Sound

A new mathematical technique provides a dramatically better way to
analyze data, such as audio data, radar, sonar, or any other form of
time-frequency data

Humans have 200 million light receptors in their eyes,
10 to 20 million receptors devoted to smell, but only 8,000 dedicated
to sound.

Managing Different Thinking Styles in Organizations

My father, Mayer Spivack, has written an interesting piece on managing thinking styles in organizations. He points out the difference between the thinking styles in early and later stage companies, and the challenge of managing and integrating these two aspects of the organization’s cognitive process.…

Harnessing The Collective Mind

Today I read an interesting article in the New York Times about a company called Rite-Solutions which is using a home-grown stock market for ideas to catalyze bottom-up innovation across all levels of personnel in their organization. This is a way to very effectively harness and focus the collective creativity and energy in an organization around the best ideas that the organization generates.…

Internet Game Provides Breakthrough in Predicting Epidemics

Where’s George, an internet game in which people track the spread of dollar bills as they move around, has yielded an unexpected breakthrough in the science of predicting the spread of epidemics.

Quantum Evolution — A Radical Theory

The theory of quantum evolution is a radical new take on how mutations
in DNA occur. Basically the theory postulates that DNA molecules are in
fact macroscopic quantum objects that undergo quantum interference. It
is spearheaded by Johnjoe McFadden, a professor in the UK and makes for an interesting read.…

Collective Intelligence 2.0


This article proposes the creation of a new open, nonprofit service on the Web that will provide something akin to “collective self-awareness” back to the Web. This service is like a “Google Zeitgeist” on steroids, but with a lot more real-time, interactive, participatory data, technology and features init.…

Big Thinkers' Most Dangerous Ideas

The Edge has published mini-essays by 119 "big thinkers" on their "most dangerous ideas" — fun reading.

The history of science is replete with discoveries
that were considered socially, morally, or emotionally
dangerous in their time; the Copernican and
Darwinian revolutions are the most obvious.

Turing's Cathedral

George Dyson wrote a nice piece on his impressions from a visit to Google, and some speculations about the future of AI on the Net.

A Possible Future of Physics

Today I read this nice article which provides a short consumer-friendly overview of the history of the Digital Physics paradigm. Digital Physics is not mainstream physics — but it is growing and someday could become huge. It brings together computer scientists and physicists in an interdisciplinary approach to physics.…

Simulated Universes and the Nature of Consciousness

Researchers in Europe have completed the first phase of what may be the largest computational physics experiment in history: They built and ran a simulated universe through 14 billion years of development. The experiment used up 25 million megabytes of memory, and the biggest supercomputer in Europe for a month.…

New Ice Age Coming Much Sooner than Expected?

Significant new research findings indicate that a new ice age may be starting sooner than anyone expected…

CLIMATE change researchers have detected the
first signs of a slowdown in the Gulf Stream — the mighty ocean current
that keeps Britain and Europe from freezing.

Scale-Free Networks and Mobile Services

Here is an interesting article about an analysis of SMS messaging versus e-mail messaging on mobile networks. The conclusion is that e-mail messaging is more efficient for mobile consumers because email networks are scale-free networks. The article predicts that services based on scale-free topologies will ultimately win out over less optimal alternatives.…

Creator of Sim City Previews Amazing New Game

Many years ago I spoke with Will Wright — one of the most interesting visionaries I’ve met (and who happens to be the creator of Sim City) about his dream of a universe game — one in which the player could evolve life from the simple cellular level all the way up through galactic scale civilizations.…

Confabulation: New Theory of Cognition Announced

After 30 years of research, a very interesting new theory of cognition has been announced. The theory posits that all human cognition and behavior is based on just one simple, non-algorithmic procedure that has been named confabulation. If the theory is correct it could offer a radical new approach to artificial intelligence, knowledge discovery, and knowledge management.…

Physicists Tackle Linguistics

In an interesting convergence of scientific disciplines, physicists in Germany have turned their attention to linguistics, and have come up with a statistical model that predicts the distribution and mutation of languages over time.

Brain Study Reveals Differences Between Semantic and Episodic Memory

This interesting new brain
study reveals processing differences between Semantic Memory and Episodic Memory in human brains.
Nature performs these functions differently, and there is probably a good reason why that
is so. On the Web we don’t really have an equivalent of Episodic Memory or Semantic Memory yet… but we’re working on it!

If the Universe is a Simulation, then What?

Here’s an interesting speculation. Assume for the moment that our universe is in fact a simulation running on a vast computing system created a race of beings that is far more advanced than we can presently imagine. The next logical question would be, “Why would an advanced civilization want or need to undertake such a project?”

Without debating whether or not such a project is possible, let’s simply address this second question.…

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