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    Global Brain Institute, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels

    The Global Superorganism : an evolutionary-cybernetic model of the emerging network society

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    The organismic view of society is updated by incorporating concepts from cybernetics, evolutionary theory, and complex adaptive systems. Global society can be seen as an autopoietic network of self-producing components, and therefore as a living system or superorganism. Millers living systems theory suggests a list of functional components for societys metabolism and nervous system. Powers perceptual control theory suggests a model for a distributed control system implemented through the market mechanism. An analysis of the evolution of complex, networked systems points to the general trends of increasing efficiency, differentiation and integration. In society these trends are realized as increasing productivity, decreasing friction, increasing division of labor and outsourcing, and increasing cooperativity, transnational mergers and global institutions. This is accompanied by increasing functional autonomy of individuals and organizations and the decline of hierarchies. The increasing complexity of interactions and instability of certain processes caused by reduced friction necessitate a strengthening of societys capacity for information processing and control, i.e. its nervous system. This is realized by the creation of an intelligent global computer network, capable of sensing, interpreting, learning, thinking, deciding and initiating actions: the global brain. Individuals are being integrated ever more tightly into this collective intelligence. Although this image may raise worries about a totalitarian system that restricts individual initiative, the superorganism model points in the opposite direction, towards increasing freedom and diversity. The model further suggests some specific futurological predictions for the coming decades, such as the emergence of an automated distribution network, a computer immune system, and a global consensus about values and standards.

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    Title : The Global Superorganism : an evolutionary-cybernetic model of the emerging network society
    Author(s) : Francis Heylighen
    Abstract : The organismic view of society is updated by incorporating concepts from cybernetics, evolutionary theory, and complex adaptive systems. Global society can be seen as an autopoietic network of self-producing components, and therefore as a living system or superorganism. Millers living systems theory suggests a list of functional components for societys metabolism and nervous system. Powers perceptual control theory suggests a model for a distributed control system implemented through the market mechanism. An analysis of the evolution of complex, networked systems points to the general trends of increasing efficiency, differentiation and integration. In society these trends are realized as increasing productivity, decreasing friction, increasing division of labor and outsourcing, and increasing cooperativity, transnational mergers and global institutions. This is accompanied by increasing functional autonomy of individuals and organizations and the decline of hierarchies. The increasing complexity of interactions and instability of certain processes caused by reduced friction necessitate a strengthening of societys capacity for information processing and control, i.e. its nervous system. This is realized by the creation of an intelligent global computer network, capable of sensing, interpreting, learning, thinking, deciding and initiating actions: the global brain. Individuals are being integrated ever more tightly into this collective intelligence. Although this image may raise worries about a totalitarian system that restricts individual initiative, the superorganism model points in the opposite direction, towards increasing freedom and diversity. The model further suggests some specific futurological predictions for the coming decades, such as the emergence of an automated distribution network, a computer immune system, and a global consensus about values and standards.
    Keywords : collective intelligence, complexity, cybernetics, division, evolution, global brain, globalization, living systems, networks, labor, self organization, society, superorganism

    Subject : unspecified
    Area : Other
    Language : English
    Year : 1993

    Affiliations Global Brain Institute, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels
    Journal : Journal of Social and Evolutionary Systems
    Volume : 6
    Issue : 1969
    Publisher : Citeseer
    Pages : 1-37
    Url : http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.11.290&rep=rep1&type=pdf

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    Francis's Peer Evaluation activity

    Trusted by 2
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    Downloads 28
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