Global Brain and Crowdsourcing


Are you familiar with the concept of the Global Brain ?

The concept is that we humans (and also computers) can be considered as neurons, connecting to each other through Internet, creating a super entity that acts as a global brain.

I discovered this idea, some years ago on the First Global Brain Workshop here in Belgium.  Since then this group has been following the technological and societal evolutions, analyzing this complex system, observing how it self-organizes and trying to identify the emergence of a ‘global brain’, maybe also a collective consciousness.

At the beginning of 2012, under the direction of Francis Heylighen,  The Global Brain Institute, has emerged ( :- ). Institution to which I am affiliated.  Every year the institute organizes a new season of seminars and workshops, and lately we have been listening to amazing presenters from different disciplines, most of them following the same line of reasoning even if from another angle.  That shows us that this subject is becoming mainstream in many fields.

Scientific, thinkers, philosophers are observing the appearance of new patterns of specific behaviors that arise from our interactions through Internet, and slowly they are beginning to see  the structures they form.  We are witnessing the emergence of another level of complexity, another ‘entity’.

In this entity, I think we could make the analogy of crowdsourcing sites as specific ‘organs’.  Crowdsourcing sites are sub-networks of people interconnected for a specific purpose, which can be providing a design, solving a complex problem, micro-funding a project and many other goals.


They participate in this new entity by providing a new type of connectivity between cells, an intermediate level of abstraction, like our organs.

Last Friday, Wolfgang Hofkirchner has presented his view of the Future to which we must evolve that he called the Global Sustainable Information Society (GSIS).  In his presentation he talked about the actual situation, and what he sees is still missing to get to that future society, the GSIS.
One of the problems he has identified of the actual social media networks is that there is no ‘bonding’, people can quickly be grouped, but can ‘opt-out’ at any time.  If we want to move altogether for the common-good and be able to solve the global challenges of our world, we must have a common view of our future, we must at least agree on some common objectives, like lowering the greenhouse effect to stop the temperature rise.  He is right, being able not to put your shoulder on some crucial global challenges is not a good thing.  We must move all towards those agreed common goals, and not be able to ‘opt-out’ of a challenge that will affect our sustainability, our survival.  The way to go is making it crystal clear the cost of opting-out: the end of humanity as we know it.

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