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Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being. (Albert Camus)
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    Fluid Intelligence is Sexy

    In a recent conversation with a very good friend, a person which until recently was not hyperconnected, he said:” what I have found so tantalizing since I started connecting and being exposed to all this (apparently infinite) flow of information is that my old convictions are being destabilized one by one. It’s as if I am being taken on a ride, a particular program that aims to transform me into something else. I am at present totally uncertain as to the old views I once held, moreover, I find that I like it and I want more of it. It’s a breath of fresh air blowing with very high intensity into my mind, propelling me into directions I never thought of.”

    I think that what my friend reflected upon is a sensation carried by many and is very difficult to articulate, for even though the scope and amount of information available to us is disturbing many cherished beliefs and long held assumptions, at base this sensation is pleasurable, hence we want more of it.

    There’s a lot of talk recently about the disruptive effect of modern technologies on our mind states, on our conceptualizations, on our minds and brains, on our very nature indeed. More than any disruption the Internet is held as the main culprit in making us modernly stupid and indifferent.

    Witness what the Times Online has to say about this:

    “Every day, just to keep up to date, that grey lump between your ears has to shovel ever bigger piles of infotainment — tottering jumbles of global-warming updates, web gossip, refugee crises, e-mails, fashion alerts, Twitters and advertisements. Now research suggests that we may have reached an historic point in human evolution, where the digital world we have created has begun to outpace our neurons’ processing abilities.”


    (Warning: brain overload-Scientists fear that a digital flood of 24-hour rolling news and infotainment is putting our primitive grey matter under such stress that we can no longer think wisely or empathize with others)

    It goes without saying that I do not agree with the main theme of this article namely that:

    “The faster the tech, the slower the speed of thought . . . the more accelerated the culture, the slower the rate of social change . . . the quicker the digital composition, the slower the political reflection: accelerating digital effects are neutralized by decelerating special human effects.”

    (From the same article quoting Arthur and Marilouise Kroker in their 1997 book Digital Delirium) .

    Au contraire, it is my view that we are entering, and actually are already in, a deterritorialized age of transformation, an age unlike any other in that the speed and overload of information is transforming us, and yes destabilizing us, disrupting us in such a fashion as to allow a new kind of mind to emerge, the hyperconnected mind.
    The problem, as I see it, is that most if not all of this new research and studies take the base benchmark to be the monolithicNeolithic mind as their foundational approach.
    Of course it is true that hyperconnectivity overwhelms us, disturbs us and disrupts us, but I see this as a good thing, a very high good indeed, and it is good in more ways than one. It is good primarily because it is high time we relinquish the idea that we are one (as individuals) and have the same “Telos” as a collective. It is good because we have evolved to be a fluid intelligence, an intelligence for which disruption is not a bug but a feature. The modern hyperconnected mind is thus a reflection of our innate mind fluidity. Disrupting our age-old Neolithic traditional fictions is nothing less than a total conceptual revolution and the hyperstream of infodata is the main conduit by which this conceptual revolution happens.

    It so happens that Hyperconnectivity leads to fluid intelligence.

    “Fluid intelligence is the ability to find meaning in confusion and solve new problems. It is the ability to draw inferences and understand the relationships of various concepts, independent of acquired knowledge”
    (wiki)

    By allowing the disruptive power of the hyperconnected reality to enter our mind flows, we are actually allowing ourselves to be changed and challenged, modified and altered, we are factually evolving a new kind of mind, an intellect that can actually solve problems and “find meaning in confusion”.
    The hyperflow of information is destroying the idea that we are the same, that our brains are the same or that culture is the same as it was yesterday. What is happening is that we are shifting our inner virtuality, our mind conceptualizations, from a centric point of view to a multiplied encultured reality, a hyperconnected reality. A reality that is as fresh as it is exciting, as challenging as it is transformative; no longer are we to believe that we are alone, or that issues that are ‘far’ are of no interest to us. We are at present in a transitional period of rapid advancement, an era of supreme importance in the history of humanity, a phase in our concatenated evolution in which new forms of literacy are being invented, new methods of inter-subjective enhancement are at play and we evolve because of it.

    I believe that fluid intelligence is the hallmark of our present era, an intelligence that is fundamentally autopoietic and multidimensional; moreover I think that same intelligence is in the process of adaptation, adapting itself to accommodate information overload not as a negative so called ‘distraction’ but as an attention enhancer, an explorative measure of our intellects. The rising of fluid intelligence is the new pleasure we take in being hyperconnected fierce individuals, it correlates information and social life, data and sensation, and allows us the self-guided evolutionary strategy we collectively seek.



    “When the centaur of classical metaphysics is mated with the cheetah of actor-network theory, their offspring is not some hellish monstrosity, but a thoroughbred colt able to carry us for half a century and more."


    (Prince of Networks: Bruno Latour and Metaphysics Graham Harman(pdf)


    Externalizing our Inner Virtuality

    Meaning, the great mystery studied by semantics is being revolutionized as we speak, it is being revolutionized by neuroscience and philosophy, but outside the academic circles, in our hyperconnected slipstream the very transient nature of meaning is being amplified.
    Meaning was never fixed and never an absolute notwithstanding the belief of some. However, our meaning creating apparatus, our minds, are hard at work at present creating meaning from the practically infinite availability of infodata. The meaning we are currently implying is born in a continuous and uninterrupted flow of sense impressions, a never-ending bombardment of relevancy and irrelevancy.
    As some would have it this vastness of availability (called distraction) countermands our capacity for depth, for attention and for empathy.

    “Our society right now is filled with lovely distractions — we have so much portable escapism and mediated fantasy — but that’s just one issue. The other is interruption — multitasking, the fragmentation of thought and time. We’re living in highly interrupted ways. Studies show that information workers now switch tasks an average of every three minutes throughout the day. Of course that’s what we have to do to live in this complicated world.”


    Maggie Jackson at Wired - Digital Overload Is Frying Our Brains

    or

    “Seeking. You can't stop doing it. Sometimes it feels as if the basic drives for food, sex, and sleep have been overridden by a new need for endless nuggets of electronic information.”


    Seeking- How the brain hard-wires us to love Google, Twitter, and texting. And why that's dangerous (Slate).

    Notwithstanding the latest plethora of articles, studies and research on the topic of attention and multitasking (see the list at bottom) implying a deterioration of attention, literacy and wisdom, I remain convinced that the apparent fragmentation we are witnessing (including the lowering of performance in certain tests and test subjects) is part of a larger narrative. The larger picture we need to look at without fear is the evolution of our civilization and our minds, a narrative of our times in which we are actually changing the very modes of comprehension and meaning extraction and creation.
    For though it is probably true for some that hyperconnectivity and multitasking are lowering their capability of concentration and in-depth analysis it is also highly probable that for others (myself included) the proliferation of tasks and interruptions are a boon and actually increase our capability of attentiveness and focus. Moreover, it is also probable that our brains are being rewired so as to accentuate the advantage of multiple and simultaneous realities interplaying in our minds.
    It is obvious that the actual shift that is demanded of us so as to join gracefully the InfoTech revolution and the infoflow in particular is a mind shift, a perceptual change of paradigm.
    The perceptual shift we need perform is one of descriptive virtualization, or a re-description of our reflexive nature; by consciously extending the reach of our mind state we may be able to hasten the plasticity of our virtual contextualization.

    “Therefore our question is simply, given an environment in which events happen faster, objects move more quickly, peripheral processing is placed at a premium, and the number of items that need to be kept track of far exceeds the circumstances experienced in normal life, is it possible to extend the normal processing power of the human nervous system?”


    The Cognitive Neuroscience of Video Games
    C. Shawn Green and Daphne Bavelier (pdf)



    I am not a neuroscientist but a writer, and I haven’t taken part in the Stanford experiment and thus have no clue as to how I would perform on the kind of tests they have carried out.

    What I do know however is that my mind has changed noticeably in the last few years, due in large part to my Internet multitasking.
    In the last few days I had the opportunity to see a 3D fractal image, read about life extension new therapies, explored the writings of W.S.Burroughs, learned that placebos are getting more effective and also listened to the amazing presentation of Bruce Sterling about augmented reality, I understood how we try to keep our beliefs in spite of evidence to the contrary. I also listened to my favorite group nowadays (Archive) and wrote a few mails, communicated via twitter and friendfeed (liking some, disliking others opening some links for later read). I have in front of me more than fifty tabs opened in four different browsers, I listen to music, I am reading a few pdf’s and simultaneously writing these words, I am practically swimming in an ocean of information and I love it.

    Few years ago I wouldn’t have been able to do that, and though I am an avid reader I could not possibly have read at the same time so many books, simultaneously also writing and having meaningful, productive and occasionally creative conversations.
    I have become more intelligent, clearer, more focused, faster and more appreciative of others. In fact I am more than pleased with my multitasking, multithreaded polylogue on practically every level of my existence.
    But more than that I carry the (very subjective) feeling that I have developed a new filtering system concerning relevancy and irrelevancy, I am now able to discard or admit at a glance, if something is worthy of note to me or not, if it pertains to my (very extensive) list of interests or not.
    Furthermore, I have a more than reasonable and highly efficient (for my own purposes of course) capability to access the reliability and trustworthiness of a source of information.

    To some of us multitaskers the new world of hyperconnectivity is a boon. The benefit multitaskers find in hyperconnectivity is nothing less than astonishing. We are developing a radical shift in our literacy, a mind-changing paradigm of ingesting, digesting and critically appraising information, in ways that until not long ago were simply not available.

    We need a good narrative for that, so here is one



    A standalone object, no matter how well designed, has limited potential for new weirdness. A connected object, one that is a node in a network that interacts in some way with other nodes, can give birth to a hundred unique relationships that it never could do while unconnected. Out of this tangle of possible links come myriad new niches for innovations and interactions.


    Kevin Kelly


    The Hyperconnected narrative

    We need start by re-appraising the context of our worldviews, re-assessing our fundamental prejudices and conceptual virtualization. Narratives is what we are made of, our states of mind are narratives, stories within stories, and notwithstanding the very real and factual neural correlates of these states, the fact remains that we virtually live in and within, and as, the story that we tell.
    The story that we are, and the narrative we are evolving.

    The story that we told (and were told), until not long ago implied limitations and scarcity, separation and hierarchy, given realities and normalizing factors. In that old story we were at best, an atomized unit of individuality struggling to rise out of the dreary and monotonic daily life into a semblance of presumed well-being, a myth no longer in force and though memetically still vital, showing signs of decay and deterioration.

    The monolithic thought procedure of old has lost credibility precisely because via the advent of the net (this week celebrating its 40th anniversary-link) we became hyperconnected beings, a phenomenon that puts literally everything in a new context.

    The new context is the paradigmatic shift in perception both of self and of others, and more importantly yet a shift in perception of interactive subjectivity or intersubjectivity. The paradigmatic shift is fully correlated to the practically infinite flow of information, the infoflow.
    Moreover, the very act of being hyperconnected in an infoflow is delineating a new contour to the narrative of our times; the story of our current minds is the story of our newly arising correlative meaning creation, the enmeshing of all in all and to all, all the time.
    Is it disruptive? Of course!
    But why?

    It is disruptive because it is erasing the boundaries of old, the now obsolete confines between the real and the virtual, between the authentic and that which supposedly is not. The paradigmatic shift is disruptive because it heralds a new story, the story of superabundance, and the superabundance starts with the wealth of information at our immediate accessibility.

    This changes us.

    The paradigmatic shift we are experiencing is changing the way we are wired. Our virtuality, our mind, once thought to be a unitary whole, now accepted as a self-organizing dynamic system is adapting to the hyperconnected reality. We are in fact projecting our own virtual conceptualizations unto the world just as the world is projecting itself into our minds. This enmeshing of realities, admittedly in its infancy, is the subject matter of our current human theme.
    Enmeshing of realities can be said to be the process of smoothening the contextual contour of our self-description. It enlarges us, making our minds more flexible, more critical and more relevant.
    In the process we are becoming both more robust as well as more able to deal with an increasingly large number of impressions, capable of dealing with huge amounts of data, incorporating it into our worldviews.

    In other words the narrative of our hyperconnected state of affairs is one of enmeshed realities. And enmeshed realities, intertwining states of mind and virtualities are heralding a new kind of freedom, the freedom embedded in hyperconnectivity. This is not a freedom to do (though eventually it will translate into such) but a freedom to change our minds.
    In an enmeshed reality, the dynamics of intersubjectivity allows us to flow uninterrupted into a combined interactive intelligence, a hyper-intelligence that combines autonomous critical thinking within a larger framework of co-adaptive consensual adhocracies.
    The more hyperconnected we are the more externalized our inner representations; the more these inner representations are enmeshed the more flexible and pliable our contextual worldview; more hyperconnectivity equal more augmentation and amplification to our self-reflexivity, more capacity and by implication more intelligence.

    The hyperconnected mind redefines the ethos of its own flow space, in the process developing a fresh form of empathy. This form of intelligent empathy denies the rigidity of the Neolithic mind system, and translates itself into an integrated flow space of coherence.
    The dynamism of the hyperconnected flow space, seen through the lens of collectiveness embeds a variability of goals and manners of being extended in space and in time.
    It is this very variability of multiple realities enmeshed as a coherent whole that re-describes the theme of being a hyperconnected mind.

    Finally

    It is my view that the ever-increasing speed of the hyper-stream of information has given (and is continuously giving) rise to a new form of mindfulness. A variety of mindfulness unlike any we knew, a fresh state of mind that finds its wisdom and cognitive efficiency in direct insights that are predominantly invisible but nevertheless inform our actions and influence our understandings.
    Moreover, I see the modern formless hypermind evolving in front of our eyes as the precursor of a posthuman mind that is not only better at ‘everything’ but eventually will adapt old and outdated philosophical and cognitive concepts into fresh modes of being.
    These new modes of being will in turn revolutionize the very meaning of being human, the nature of our emotional lives and the manner of our intentionality.
    Our conscious awareness will eventually become a form of mentation that is as far from the Neolithic mindset as warp speed is from walking.

    We are evolving- this is good.



    You are waiting for the revolution? Let it be! My own began a long time ago! When you are ready (god, what an endless wait!) I won’t mind going with you for a while. But when you stop, I shall continue on my way toward the great and sublime conquest of the nothing!


    Towards the creative nothing
    Renzo Novatore


    notes:

    Of onions: because our minds are multilayered and multidimensional
    Of infocologies (information ecologies): because the information in our hyperconnected reality is ambient and all pervasive, creating infospheres streaming into each other.


    images in text via Anthony Mattox, new media art design
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    “There is no meaning if meaning is not shared, and not because there would be an ultimate or first signification that all beings have in common, but because meaning is itself the sharing of Being.”

    Jean-Luc Nancy


    Consider the idea that a Polytopia is a ground for engagement, an emotional, intellectual and passionate engagement within our ever-evolving cyber-existence.

    A cyber-ground for an aesthetic singularity.

    Consider furthermore that a Polytopia may be looked at as a game.
    A very special and powerful kind of game; a game of semantic co-extensive mutuality.
    Consider the fact that a semantic co-extensive mutuality need be fostered and cannot be ordered on command.

    The Polytopia project thus can be seen as a game, grounding the engagement required for allowing a semantic co-extensive mutuality to emerge. Eventually a Polytopia might allow an aesthetic collective intelligence of humanity to come forth and thrive.

    Why?
    Ahh! Simple really, we need design our futures, so as to be disentangled from our pasts.

    # All views are interdependent and inherently ambiguous #



    About Intelligence

    In my previous post “ Considering a Polytopia –the notes” I have presented a number of possible definitions for the term Intelligence in the context of collective intelligence:

    # Intelligence is fundamentally Rhizomatic

    # Intelligence is a recurrent unified flow and ordering of impressions of continuity in all things, a procedure for our repetitive re-orientation in the abstract space of potentialities.

    # Intelligence might be said to be (a process within) an evolutionary path of increasing disentanglement of representations from the urgent senses, the enlargement of an ever more complex mind happening.

    # Intelligence is essentially a term describing a reading of forms into meanings, a reading recognizing an entering into partnership with the world, a collaboration of conscious activity.

    #Intelligence need be looked at as a process of inter-subjective cross-dimensional activity defining a framework with no particular direction.

    Resulting in :

    # Intelligence can be said to be a process then, a continuous process of orientation and re-orientation, an iterative, recursive, restructuring of the very meaning it is applied to. Put differently, intelligence is the term applied to the reading of coordinates of implications when applied to a particular context. Moreover, since intelligence is always in motion, by definition it will disturb the silhouette of the context in which and to which it is applied. That in fact is the meaning of open ended (ness), for by eliminating the conceptual rigidity of the context, intelligence (by its very motion), opens, as it were, the context to fresh paths of potentialities.

    And finally:

    # Intelligence is the active ingredient in innovation and creativity, in whatever field of human endeavor it is applied.
    The process of intelligence is both fractal (resonating across scales of contexts) and scalable (can be applied across scales and dimensions).



    Concerning the term collective:

    Just as the terms: normal, natural, gender and self (and many others) have changed and are changing in the techno-culture we exist in so is the case with the term collective.
    We cannot, and to my eyes should not, continue to use the term in the same fashion that we used to. The reasons for this, ranging from the technological innovations that are flooding us, day in and day out, to the actual reality of our hyperconnected transnational culture are obvious.
    But there is another, in a sense more profound reason for the change I am advocating. The reason I shall reflect upon here, is that if we truly desire a posthuman reality, disassociated from our recurrent evolutionary patterns of behavior we need re-define the contours of the discourse, in this case the expression designating the pattern is the term collective.
    In a manner of speaking we need (a la’ Deleuze) to de-territorialize the term collective.
    First some weeding concerning the term collective:

    1. A crowd/ is not a collective
    2. A tribe/a People is not a collective
    3. A village/city/neighborhood is not a collective
    4. A group is not a collective
    5. A social network is not a collective
    6. An ethnic group is not a collective
    7. A clan is not a collective
    8. A race is not a collective
    9. A family unit is not a collective
    10. Insert your own…

    The point is that all these terms might under certain descriptions be called ‘collectives’ but under the necessity of clarifying the concept of collective intelligence I do not think that the term should be applied so casually.



    "I've always been suspicious of collective truths. " Eugene Ionesco

    What if so is a collective?

    A collective is a term we use to describe an aggregation of entities. These entities maybe humans, animals, hybrids, cyborgs, AI, ideas, actions, and so on, or a combination of the above; these are some of the possible aggregates that are necessary but insufficient for understanding what a collective stands for.
    For an aggregate of entities to be called a collective the first issue that needs be addressed is the unique perspective allowed to the individual participant. There is no inherent meaning to the term collective unless the fiercely independent sense perception thought of the individual is the distinctive unit of appreciation.
    Necessary but insufficient! The fierce independence need be of interest to at least one other reflective component. Moreover if we accept the fact that it is meaningless to speak of collective intelligence without the fiercely independent mindfulness of the individual we need also accept that it is meaningless to speak of a symmetrical collective.
    In fact a collective as I understand it in the term collective intelligence is inherently an asymmetrical aggregate.
    A collective is asymmetrical in almost any conceivable aspect but the condensation of direction and its correlated interest.
    The condensation of direction is basically the emergent property of an aggregate of beings, whatever their embodiments, operating as a consensual autonomy of inter-subjective agreements of interest.
    It will not, for example, necessitate a space and a time to co habit, it will however necessitate a highly clarified conceptual language. Put differently, a collective is not known by its material and /or physical manifestation, (though it may have one) but by its correlated arena of interest.
    A correlated arena of interest might be said to be the “collectiveness” of an aggregate of beings.

    In principle a correlated arena of interest is a term applied to an aggregate of beings/entities operating as a dynamic complex system, supervening upon and closely coupled to the involved agents.
    The arena of interest is the opening manifestation of a collective; if an arena of interest has been defined, by implication a collective has emerged.

    However even that is not sufficient, for a correlated arena of interest to morph into a collective a number of necessary conditions are implied:

    #Reciprocal grasping and sympathetic understanding
    #Intuitive comprehension of the agreed upon language
    # An innate acceptance of the singularity of the individual
    # A qualitative expression of the future of the aggregate is made explicit.
    # Critical position, thought & questioning is adopted as the foundation of transparency.

    If these initial conditions are met a collective can be said to have emerged, from this point on the game of semantic co-extensive mutuality starts.

    The game implies three particulates:

    1. That the correlated arena of interest is based on the principle of self-guided evolution.
    2. That the correlated arena of interest is fluid, open sourced and open ended, multidirectional, multipurpose and void of center.
    3. That the correlated arena of interest is an independent event, allowing for adhocracy, disregarding initial conditions (gender, race, creed etc.)

    In fact only from this point on a Polytopia as grounding occurrence can be said to have come forth.

    If as I think, Intelligence in the context of a collective is a recurrent unified flow and ordering of impressions of continuity in all things, a procedure for our repetitive re-orientation in the abstract space of potentialities. And collective is an aggregate of beings operating in an arena of correlated interests, we can now state that a collective intelligence (CI) as a term stands for:

    An occurrence, an event, an aggregate of beings, implementing a recurrent unified flow of interests as an exploratory mode, of potential and probabilities in the space of possibilities.
    In other words, Collective Intelligence is an exploratory occurrence of an aggregate without a given plan. No design can allow for unfastened intelligence to come forth, it is the very freedom of the flow of inter-subjective alliances, occurring as an event, de-territorialized from its own past constraints, that carries the fresh perspective, the motion of realization.


    That a CI requires a meta-concurrence, a non-design of social flow space implemented as a domain of multiple directionality is obvious. Such is the proposition of a Polytopia.

    A Polytopia can be seen as following a meta-concurrence project of activating a multidimensional platform of engagement.
    It can be seen as a transcultural global event of openness, living and thriving on the net.
    It can also be seen as a merging and enmeshing of diverse perceptions of reality. And it can also be understood as an open-ended and open sourced polylogue.
    It is an evolving aesthetic cyber existential domain, relinquishing our rigid past flows for the allowance of a posthuman reality.
    In as much as our past spaces are flowing into newly designed flow spaces, our intelligence as an exploratory mode of being requires collectiveness.
    The Polytopia project offers an exciting adventure in which we may re-design our mind space, our info-flows and our life-streams.

    A Polytopia then can be said to be a futuristic implementation of a ground for engagement.

    I think of the Polytopia as an invitation and a challenge, an invitation from the future, our future, to rise above our history, now.
    A challenge to our conceptual minds.

    In this sense Polytopia I understand as a catalyst, a set of ideas in progress meant to promote a fresh kind of aesthetic/cognitive realization in our civilization.

    "Nothing is built on stone; all is built on sand, but we must build as if the sand were stone."

    Jorge Luis Borges


    shortly to be continued..


    some other notes:

    #this is a work in progress and all figures of speech should be taken as such

    # Unfastened Intensions = Liberating future thoughts from past meaning relations

    Intension: In linguistics, logic, philosophy, and other fields, an intension is any property or quality connoted by a word, phrase or other symbol. In the case of a word, it is often implied by the word's definition. The term may also refer to all such intensions collectively, although the term comprehension is technically more correct for this.

    # On a more personal note I need state that I am simultaneously highly attracted by the term Collective Intelligence and also highly repelled by it. And if I am to use it, I need the term to fit perfectly that which I perceive as our posthuman possibly unfolding futures.

    #Whilst writing this post I was listening to the amazing progressive rock band- Ozric Tentacles

    #And pondering the poetry of G.Carlin: ““I like it when a flower or a little tuft of grass grows through a crack in the concrete. It’s so fuckin’ heroic.”
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    Note the first: regarding Intelligence in CI

    As an initial view consider the idea that a Polytopia is a conceptual framework for eliciting intelligent emergent behavior.
    Educing an emergent intelligent behavior is the fundamental of a Polytopia.

    As an initial view consider the idea that a Polytopia can be regarded as the moving front of newly emergent collective robustness of intelligence strengthening distributed opportunities of creative activities.


    “The diversity of languages is not a diversity of signs and sounds, but a diversity of views of the world.”

    Wilhelm von Humboldt, 1820



    The personal:

    Allow me to start this essay with a very personal note, a moment of synchronicity that just happened.
    Whilst I was in the process of trying to wrap this essay into a coherent whole, I remembered that many years ago I had studied the works of the great Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna. Nagarjuna was very important to me as an introduction to the concept of emptiness or non-inherent existence, particularly because in his most important work the “Mūlamadhyamakakārikā” he tried (and without much success it appears) to deny the absolutist positions that so many cherish. In fact I will go as far as stating that the kind of epistemic critical reasoning that Nagarjuna brought to bear on the human thought processes is so deep that it may have escaped even the apparent ‘pure’ critical reason of Kant.
    The thoughts of Nagarjuna coalesced in my mind for many years and meshed with Wittgenstein’s and others to provide a view I hold, namely, that all views are interdependent and inherently ambiguous.
    Now, it so happened that yesterday I came across a fascinating picture that held my attention for an intense while, it came courtesy of flickr and the uninterrupted infoflow of the hyperconnected dataverse.



    The photo is titled:“1000 Buddhas are not enough” and made me shiver for an instant, for here was a photo and a title that represented a fundamental aspect of my perspective concerning the Polytopia project and its inter-subjective evolutionary correlated vision of the collective intelligence.

    What’s the connection?

    The correlation is uncomplicated, it points to the fact that many of the most complex and important ideas generated by the human mind across eons of thought have been high jacked into oversimplification and by extension absolutism.
    And though I am in principle in favor of simplicity of explication and presentation I stand firm against oversimplification, for oversimplification leads the mind into a belief of understanding, a belief which by its very power of apparent simplicity results in stagnation and monolithic thought.
    Witness the modern use of certain terms such as “ human capital” or “emotional resource “ or “attention economy”, all high jacked in the name of a non-existent mass media comprehension. I mention these because of my interest in collective intelligence and the manner by which I view the concepts of intelligence and collective.
    It goes without saying that I concur with the title of the picture, completely. A 1000 Buddhas, a million Buddhas or for that matter an infinity of Buddhas is not enough! In fact it is not Buddhas that we need.
    We need (if need is the appropriate term ) a comprehensive understanding of our collective intelligence, an application of said comprehension and a critical disassociation from our initial conditions as a species into a posthuman realization of our evolving potentials.

    Please bear with me, as this is a work in progress trying to elucidate the complexity of the transit reality we are passing through at present.




    "I’m drunk and you’re insane. Who’s going to lead us home?"
    Rumi

    Re-describing the conceptual presentation of collaborative intelligence in Polytopia as a playground of engagement.

    It is my view that Collective Intelligence (CI’), though widely used, is a concept that is, for lack of a better description, misunderstood and probably misapplied, primarily because of the inadequacy of the term intelligence.
    Intelligence is a very difficult concept to come to terms with, especially since our tendency to oversimplify language constructs pushes us towards a mode of monolithic thought, a regularity or normalization.
    In many ways the term intelligence is not unlike the term culture, both are very broad terms referring to an increasingly expanding field of research, exploration and development.
    In both cases the question of time need be inserted into the understanding of the concept for it to be coherent. Intelligence and culture are concepts that contain different levels of coherency, and to my eyes operate in a fashion that is similar to the fractal perspective. It is my view that intelligence is fundamentally Rhizomatic, and indeed so is culture, as is art.

    note: The context in which the following definitions will be presented is that of the collective mind.
    The collective mind context reflects the interaction of specific minds (individuals).
    The interaction of individual minds is assumed (for the purpose of this context) to be consistent across all platforms of human existence/behavior and all platforms of communication.
    In the context of the collective intelligence, an individual is assumed to be an agency, aware and conscious, intelligent and independent within the constraints of the material universe.



    Step 1- Intelligence (context of usage is the collective)

    Intelligence is generally defined as a capacity or capability, specifically intelligence is mostly regarded as the human talent to attain, through understanding, knowledge and models of the world and use them creatively to solve different problems and deal effectively with unforeseen state of affairs.
    Moreover Intelligence has been defined as “.. not a single, unitary ability, but rather a composite of several functions. The term denotes that combination of abilities required for survival and advancement within a particular culture.” A. Anastasi

    Or “…adjustment or adaptation of the individual to his total environment, or limited aspects thereof …the capacity to reorganize one’s behavior patterns so as to act more effectively and more appropriately in novel situations …the ability to learn …the extent to which a person is educable …the ability to carry on abstract thinking …the effective use of concepts and symbols in dealing with a problem to be solved …” W. Freeman
    (For an extensive list of definitions see here )



    “Intelligence is very much a two-edged sword, Captain-Doctor. It is useful only up to a point. It interferes with the business of living. Life, and intelligence, do not mix very well. They are not at all closely related, as you childishly assume.”
    (Alternate Minds: Excerpts from Sterling’s Swarm )


    I submit that intelligence in the context of a collective is neither a capability nor a capacity and also not an adaptive trait, but a recurrent unified flow and ordering of impressions of continuity in all things, a procedure for our repetitive re-orientation in the abstract space of potentialities.

    Intelligence might be said to be (a process within) an evolutionary path of increasing disentanglement of representations from the urgent senses, the enlargement of an ever more complex mind happening.

    Intelligence is essentially a term describing a reading of forms into meanings, a reading recognizing an entering into partnership with the world, a collaboration of conscious activity.
    Intelligence need be looked at as a process of inter-subjective cross-dimensional activity defining a framework with no particular direction.
    I understand that the above may seem somewhat obscure, allow me then an illustration.

    Imagine a dancer, flowing gracefully to the rhythm of an ephemeral ambient music, which you do not hear. Our dancer represents an exploratory motion in a space and a time, tracing potential moves, retreating, emerging again, swirling, and turning upon itself, gyrating to its own pulse. What the dancer is performing is actually a complex probing of potential paths of actuation, where the actuation is the motion itself. The motion in turn repositions the dancer in the space-time continuum, altering her perception of the flow. The repositioning in this regard can be seen as the redrawing of the inner map, the body in relation to its space-time orientation. If we were to take this visual representation and eliminate the core component (the dancer) and extend the paths of motion in a multidimensional space, we would now have a ‘ virtual map’ of the dancer’s orientation.
    This virtual map symbolizes the abstract application of intelligence at time T in space S.

    Intelligence can be said to be a process then, a continuous process of orientation and re-orientation, an iterative, recursive, restructuring of the very meaning it is applied to. Put differently, intelligence is the term applied to the reading of coordinates of implications when applied to a particular context. Moreover since intelligence is always in motion, by definition it will disturb the silhouette of the context in which and to which it is applied. That in fact is the meaning of open ended (ness), for by eliminating the conceptual rigidity of the context, intelligence (by its very motion), opens, as it were, the context to fresh paths of potentialities.




    From this perspective we may say that intelligence is the active ingredient in innovation and creativity, in whatever field of human endeavor it is applied.

    If we accept that intelligence is the process of orientation in the phase space of possibilities and the phase space we will now relate to is the field of potentialities of meanings (or semantics), we can now state the following:

    Intelligence is said to be the dynamic process of recursivity, by which the defined territory or context confinement is being smoothened and redefined/redescribed.

    The process of intelligence is both fractal (resonating across scales of contexts) and scalable (can be applied across scales and dimensions).

    Moreover, given that the process of intelligence implies a continuous and fluid motion, within a given but indefinite semantic space, intelligence can be defined as the engine of meaning creation and meaning application. In this case the comprehension and understanding resulting from the application of the process of intelligence will always occur later than the actual re-description (implying a delayed reaction between intelligence and comprehension-tbd).



    to be continued shortly

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    "The psychology of the mature human being is an unfolding, emergent, oscillating, spiraling process marked by progressive subordination of older, lower-order behavior systems to newer, higher-order systems as man's existential problems change.
"

    Clare W. Graves (the futurist-1974)



    Abstract

    Quality I shall define here not as a property of a ‘something’ but as the relational attitude a conscious aware intelligent entity employs for the ‘e’/valuation of a given set of coordinates (topos).

    Value for the purpose of this conceptualization we shall define as the property, which gives a quality its characteristics.

    Therefore if quality is a relational attitude employed by a conscious aware intelligent entity then value is the determination of its characteristics.

    A quality is thus a stance, a mind state of affairs having a definite set of characteristics or value.

    Following the above it can now be stated that the quality/value of a given system reflects both its characteristics and the attitude contained therein. In other words, the quality/value of a given system implies/indicates its nature.

    Following the above we can now state the following:
    A system’s situation (state of affairs in time) indicated by its nature has at any given moment in time a quality/value that reflects its dynamic change.
    Furthermore, given the faculty of reality assessment contained inherently in each and every being (conscious aware intelligent entity) and given that this faculty is in a continuous flow of change (evolution) it might be sensible to imply that reality is a continuous flow of quality/value assessment; a continuous flow of reality assessment, observed via its quality/value realization is thus the flow of knowing.

    To know ‘something’ is therefore claimed here to be, the continuous reality assessment in time performed by a conscious aware intelligent entity, via its quality/value management.
    Said quality/value management is that which determines both the actions to be taken and the ensuing (continuously updated) worldview.
    Such a worldview can be said to be free from static (absolute) constraints and liberated in its self-reflection.

    Finally, a Polytopian worldview softens the distinction between self and other, mind and objects, the world and I. A soft, upgradeable, updateable, dynamic quality/value assessment worldview, open ended and continuously flowing between diverse states of affairs (topos) is a Polytopian worldview.

    An extended version


    Evolution has endowed us with a penchant towards abstraction and ideation. This very inclination is what sits at the basis of our language capability, in fact it will be true to state that our penchant for abstraction has allowed us to, as it were, ‘invent’, terminologies that have no basis whatsoever in our perceptual mechanism. We have even invented a term to designate an abstract projection into a possible phase space of improbable realities, we call this: ‘belief’.

    Belief is a hard won evolutionary capability that has allowed us to translate our capabilities of essence extraction (abstraction), into motivations and finally into actions. Said actions in turn create products, designs, art, poetry, hammers and even the Buddha-dharma. In fact, the flow of our minds, can be said to be a generalization of this very process, however what need be emphasized at this point is twofold: the process is both recursive (loop-like) and repetitive.
    The above points of recursively occurring loops and repetitions are fundamental to the realization that the reality we ‘experience’ is multidimensional in nature and fuzzy in its own reflectivity.
    The reference point of fuzziness is crucial, for from this fuzziness stems the idea of separation. The separation of the abstract conceptualization of ‘me’, and the ‘culture’ in which ‘I’ exist, the very basis of the Neolithic mind.

    This apparent separation between ‘me’ as a subject of identity and ‘the culture’ in which I exist is based on an even more fundamental idea of separation, the separation between ‘me’, supposedly housed in the brain machine carried by ‘my’ body and entitled to the designation ‘I’ as a separate entity in the world, and the world. Given this state of affairs, the Neolithic brain system of perception (and representation), sees ‘me’ and the ‘objects in the world’ as relating to one another via a series of actions, attitudes and behaviors that carry a certain sense of distance (physical, mental, emotional and so on) which therefore require a system of values to critically employ the objects and the world to/for ‘my’ benefit.

    There are many problems in this ‘wheel’ (system of values), first amongst which is the problem of identity (‘me’ as an intentional agent); without going now into the gritty details philosophical problem of the intentional agent, let us just assume temporarily that ‘I’ am an intentional agent able to perceive and conceive the world in a more or less, reasonable manner. In this case the worldview that I carry within me is the fundamental array of agreements both perceptual and social that eventually lets me qualify something (an object or a subject) and thus measure it. But, and there’s a great ‘but’ here, this whole arrangement can be sustained if and only if I view myself as separate from the world (the Neolithic view) in which and by which ‘I’ am a user and the world/culture/objects are there for me to use. If however we take the view (such as the Polytopia proposes) that the whole of existence is continuous and overlapping (via the agency of multiple characterized topos), we now have a situation in which there is no separation between ‘me’ and ‘the other’ (be it an object or indeed an other intentional agent, a culture or the world). What I find myself in is a smooth transitional phase space having different gradients and vectors of connectivity, or in other words, I am an extended Bioperson, moving within a large (er) and dynamic (flow) framework of characterizations. Within this motion there can be no fixed relations since the very idea of a measurement is based on stable/constant components allowing the measure to be related to a benchmark (whether natural or artificial).

    The extended Bioperson is ‘me’ characterized by my perceptual extension/expansion in the infoverse via objects and other subjects, in this case the quality of being me and thus the objects, material, ideas, emotions and so on that I produce, are all reflections of the carving of information in different substrates of reality. The very multidimensional reality of this info-carving implies that it is intimately and inexorably intertwined with everything and everybody, in short, ‘I’, am as much part of the culture as culture is part of ‘me’. We may, therefore, for purposes of clarity of mind and communication integrate the worldview of a/the Polytopia in our understanding of the measurement (of quality) problem.

    There is another aspect that need be taken into consideration here and it is our conceptualization of time. Our evolutionary heritage has, via genetics, environment and culture, produced in us an amazing capability of keenness to immediacy; said ‘keenness to immediacy’ can be translated to mean that we are continuously aware to ‘momentariness’, or in other words, our brains are primed for ‘awareness to the moment’ and more particularly to rewards (and dangers) that are immediately relevant to our survival, be it physical, emotional or mental. It follows that our capacity for measurement can be said to be influenced by this evolutionary trait of awareness to immediacy. (as a side note I have written elsewhere (see here) about the crisis aspect of the trio: consciousness, awareness, intelligence which is basically based/emergent from on the same evolutionary trait). The reason I mention this awareness to immediacy trait is because it has and does influence our capacity to measure rewards and thus impinges on our capability to evolve our worldview into an extended reality of quality assessment.
    A Polytopian worldview involves if so not only a realization of continuation where me and the culture (including the objects we produce and the information we consume) are a dynamically intertwined, open ended, multidimensional reality but also the need to overcome the immediacy of reward situation.

    To summarize the above: Our penchant for abstraction coupled with our keenness to immediacy, in a recursive and repetitive mind environment is that which resides at the basis of our perception of separation and thus defines our quality assessment capability. Same quality assessment capability defines in turn our Neolithic mind. To move from the Neolithic mind view into a Polytopian stance, we need re-assess what a Polytopia stands for.

    A Polytopia is fundamentally fractal, primarily implying that at every level of reality we can in principle define a topos.
    Given that at every level we may define a topos according to an agreed upon criteria, we can visualize the flow of topos as the foundation of the overall flow of a Polytopia.
    A Polytopia is fundamentally dynamic, primarily implying that a Polytopia is in continuous motion and thus each and every frame of sight will always receive the characteristics of /and coordinates of space, of time and the context in which the particular topos is to be understood.
    A Polytopia is Rhizomatic and thus implies that each and every topos is fundamentally both an opening and an exit, allowing the continuous motion of information within the overall flow of topos.
    A Polytopia is transparent and collaborative, emphasizing the value of the unique individual mind its value recognition capability, implying that the mind of the conscious aware entity is devoted to quality assessment.

    to be continued..

    note: This is part one of an extended work in progress concerning the emerging polytopia and the philosophical implications of a polytopian stance
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    "Onto what surface shall a theory of aesthetics and consciousness be mapped?"
    Gregory Bateson


    From the Gaia hypothesis to Diderot (and D’Alembert) Encyclopedism, from John of Salisbury superorganism (in policraticus) to Herbert Spencer and Paul Otlet human and machine synergy, from Valentin Turchin cybernetic visions and metasystem transitions to Theillard de Chardin noosphere and finally Kevin Kelly and Howard Bloom as well as Peter Russell global brain, it seems that whomsoever seeks a vision that is beyond yit’s* own lunch break must at a certain point reflect upon a global something.

    I mention all these giants of thought and intellect, as I feel compelled to reply with an essay of my own views, concerning the last entries in this cross time/space polylogue* on the global brain/mind, both by KK (see KK- the superorganism) and Nova Spivack (see here).

    Let me start by saying that though I agree with both KK and NS that a superorganism is arising, there is a variation on the theme that I would like to point at and maybe even hazard to predict. I believe that a number of superorganisms are arising simultaneously, which as a general notion explains why I understand the next step in human evolution to be one of a Polytopia.

    Some issues first, concerning evolution intelligence and consciousness. Evolution, as a principle operating on the universal scene, I see as a Rhizomatic process. Allow me a moment to explain; I am now thinking in terms of Rhizomatic dynamics, a term I have coined to describe a state of affairs that has multiple and simultaneous explorations paths, working in tandem in different dimensions and creating a dynamically emergent system for which a direction can be perceived only on the very large scale.
    Why is this important concerning the arising of the global mind?, because just as I do not believe that we have a structured and coherent ‘one’ self so I do not think that the emerging superorganism is (will be) one, but many.



    (Image caption: METROPOLIS OF TRAJECTORIES,Francesca Iovino, Sciatto Produzie)

    Much as I admire the coherency of the one brain, one mind, one self view/model, (local or global) I believe it is fundamentally erroneous. Life has an inherent tendency to multiply in forms and fashions, embodiments and structures, and yet our Victorian sense of elegance desires an underlying principle of unity that will merge ‘all’ this multiplicity into one elegant formula, description and explanation.

    We are not the first ones to desire a unifying principle/s that will explain all that we see and perceive in a cogent and easy to understand (and thus replicate and use for predicting) manner, however we are for the first time in human history of thought sitting at exactly the cross road point of emergence. Being so close to the singularity and being as capable as we have become, we are in a unique position of observation and participation. Due to a number of factors, that are being explored as we speak, the transitional system situation we are currently in is open for transformation.

    It is open for transformation, primarily because we have at our disposal the capacity to metamorphose our Neolithic brain/mind into a post human brain/mind. In other words the transitional system situation is open because we have finally at our disposal not only the possibility to change that which we see but to change fundamentally that, which sees (our minds).



    (Image caption: rhizomatic seating system Sugar Seville made for the dorkbot sessions)

    A Polytopian perception I therefore propose to be a perception of multiplicity, a dynamic conscious awareness to the flow of events, which does not seek to impose yit’s views on the events themselves but seeks to merge with the process of arising (of the global brain/mind).
    Given this conceptual understanding I therefore propose that we allow for the possibility that that which is emerging is a multidimensional phase space of possible intelligences, some of which will coalesce into a probable reality (from which some will become actual).

    Yes, superorganisms are arising, some of them will be equivalent to flock intelligence, some will be hybrids, some will be organic and some will be hardware/software based, some will be of a robotic nature, some will be biological enhanced systems, and some we cannot even imagine at present, that is what the singularity is all about. Allowing for all of these, is the evolutionary imperative of a conscious aware system that realizes that the “good” is neither a given, nor is it fixed. There are many solutions to many problems in many dimensions, that is the beauty of life, that it does not necessitate “one” solution for “one” problem. As the Rhizomatic view purports and possibly implies, a singularity might result in a superior super intelligence, it might just as well (and in my view probably will) result in multiple super intelligences extending human possibilities to all directions simultaneously.

    Such state/s of affairs I have dubbed ‘topos’ (places), and will refer to states of the one-mind/global brain. Different kinds of intelligence using different substrates, demanding different conditions to emerge and become apparent, are as an ensemble called a Polytopia.



    From a different perspective we may now answer Bateson's question quoted above:" "Onto what surface shall a theory of aesthetics and consciousness be mapped?" the answer to my mind is simple: we shall map our consciousness as presence and our aesthetics as existence onto the dynamic rhizomatics of an interconnected multiplicity of intelligences, the Polytopia.

    Some possible new definitions for Polytopia :
    Polytopia is a term designating the emergent surface of relevance for both minds and machines to exist within and upon.
    A polytopia implies the supreme value of multiplicity and the relevancy of hyperconnectivity.
    A polytopia allows for infinite personal sovereignty closely coupled and intimately hyperconnected with all consciously aware entities both embracing and merging with a collective intelligence.

    Following Deleuze, it is my view therefore that consciousness and intelligence actualizes via differentiation in states (topos). Said differentiation of states is what brought about the culture we currently inhabit and will propel us towards the next step of human evolution, the multiple global brain, composed of minds and machines, intimately hyperconnected in a fully coherent and free manifestation, a polytopia.

    "Deleuze posits that we may think of reality not in terms of an opposition between the possible and the real, but rather between the virtual and the actual. The distinction is that possible things do not have any sort of existence, they are empty signs, leaving the real as a realm of solid objects, akin to that of classical physics. The virtual, by contrast, persists as a sort of enfolded order of potentiality, from which things actualize by differentiating themselves. "
    Paul Harris

    The Substance of 'WE' is a polytopia, a rhizomatic dynamic system that connects any topos to any other topos, not necessarily linking nodes of the same nature, nor joining organisms necessarily relying on the same substrate for their intelligence and consciousness.


    notes:

    # YIT = you+ I+ it (not my invention but still need to find the reference)
    # Polylogue = The term polylogue applies to hyperconnectivity in the same sense that conversation applies to connectivity
    # For a more complex view of Rhizomathics see this

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