The Global Brain can be defined as the distributed intelligence emerging from the internet. The Global Brain as the name suggests, acts as a brain for the planet Earth. It is a global Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Network that link all humans and their technological artifacts. This network stores extensive information and takes over functions of coordination and communication from other traditional organizations.
The Global Brain Institute (GBI) was set up in 2012 at the Vrije Universitiet Brussel to research this phenomenon. The GBI uses scientific approach to better understand the global progression towards ever-stronger connection between humans, software programs and machines.
How Global Brain Works
The Global Brain works by connecting its users together into a single information processing system that works as part of the collective nervous system of the Earth. The intelligence of this network is collective or distributed; it is not centralized or confined to any specific individual, organization or computer system. Hence, no one can put orders on it.
The Global Brain serves many benefits to the human race. As ICT is becoming more popular, retrieving sending and receiving information comes in practice effortless and free. Moreover, the Global Brain gets its knowledge from accurate evaluations made by its users, therefore, the Global Brain is a much more universal and flexible means for selecting relevant items rather than search engines. The Global Brain also relates to the new economy. The internet allows many transactions to take place much more instantly and transparently, with less cost and effort. The Global Brain provides a universal medium thorough which people from all countries, languages and cultures of world can communicate. This reduces mutual blindness and misunderstandings among people and helps spread good ideas with ease. The Global Brain helps us solve universal problems by supporting not only the process of reaching consensus on a plan of action, but also its practical implementation. For example, battling infectious diseases or pollution will require widespread monitoring of the number of infections or concentration of polluting gases in different regions.
Information collected by local observers or by electronic sensors can directly enter the Global Brain, be processed to disclose original trends, and dispatched to the people or institutions responsible for taking direct action. Information about life satisfaction in different countries show that people are most happy when their society provides them with sufficient health, wealth, security, knowledge, freedom and equality. The Global Brain can directly or indirectly contribute to each of these fundamental values.
Besides all these benefits, the Global Brain have some limitations as well. Many believe that the Global Brain will reduce individual diversity and freedom, and lead to mass spying. The Global Brain reduces humanity to an insect colony or to the Borg, the race of cyborgs imagined by the creators of the science fiction series "Star Trek". Another limitation of the Global Brain is that it imposes domination of the majority. As web learning set of rules promote links that many users like and weaken links that few users like, it may seem that minority views or non-conformist ideas will be crushed, thus decreasing diversity in the web. The Global Brain also affects the privacy of humanity adversely. Moreover, Global Brain technology can be abused. All technology can be used for noble or for evil: drugs can be used to medication or to poison, tools to construct or to abolish, mass media to educate or to brain-wash. Similarly, the Global Brain will help people to reach their objectives by providing the most appropriate information, whether these objectives are optimistic or harmful. Thus, people can use the Global Brain to find out how to cure their cancer, guard their community from pollution, or increase the yield of their crops, but they may also use it to discover how to build a bomb, spread racism, or find associated spirits to start up a hate group. This problem already exists with the present Internet and other communication technologies. An additional limitation of the Global Brain is that it is totally dependent on its users. It cannot work by itself. If the people would decide no longer to use the network, then the GB would stop to exist. There is also a danger that artificial intelligence systems will eventually conquer and replace humanity. The Global Brain is not intended to replace civilization, but to supplement or enhance it.
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