bascule Posted May 12, 2005 Share Posted May 12, 2005 Seems kinda lame to pimp my blog, but I thought I'd share my latest entry with you all: In his book Consciousness Explained, Daniel Dennett tries to construct an empirical theory of the mind from experiments in phenomenology, or the study of sense phenomena and structures in consciousness. He named the resulting model "multiple drafts," which theorizes that there are thousands of thought structures which he calls "phenoms" racing around inside your head, each being incrementally contributed to by various structures within your brain. And that's it, there's no grand center where everything comes together. What we experience as consciousness, the reconstruction of all sensory data within your head all preanalyzed and precorrelated, is merely the combined effect of all this shuffling and reanalysis, an effect Dennett describes as the "projector." If Dennett is correct, then our brain is nothing more than an immensely distributed processor performing incremental analysis and constructing an interconnected archive of data (long term memory). So what happens when this is taken to a grander scale and we are able to to link the human brain directly into computer networks and thus a substantially more vast interconnected data archive which is constantly being updated and contributed to? The result, in my mind, would be Dennett's "multiple drafts" model taken to an entirely new level, in which each person connected to the network would function much like a structure in the brain, taking in a phenom draft and contributing to it incrementally, then returning it back to the network for all to observe and subsequently contribute to. I believe this collaborative editing process, much like the one which Dennett theorizes occurs in our own brains, will result in the awakening of a higher level of consciousness, resulting in the combined effect of everyone contributing to the analysis of data via communication networks. The global consciousness isn't something which doesn't yet exist. It exists now at a very primitive level: whenever collective decision making is used, through a voting process or representative democracy, the combined thoughts of many are pooled together to create a single gestalt voice representing the thoughts of an entire nation. Right now the process is obviously quite primitive; very little information is communicated, the process is quite error prone, and no ranking system exists to sort out the contributions of the intelligent from those of simpletons. The problem remains one of communication, and I believe it will be solved within our lifetimes, if not sometime in the next decade. Once the amount of information being exchanged and the rate of exchange are sufficient, enormous thought clusters will emerge within the system which will take on a life of their own as they are able to reproject themselves back on the system, at which point the system will exist as a singular unified meta-entity capible of independent thought through the collective efforts of everyone linked into and contributing to the system. At this point, the metaconsciousness will awaken from its current nascent state. What form will this central data archive take? One, I believe, which will be quite similar to Wikipedia, in which a collaborative editing process is used in which any may contribute. Properly representing the combined knowledge of all of mankind will require a far more formalized process which is better able to represent structural interconnections and hopefully will be expressible in a formalized, mathematical manner. Once all human knowledge has been put in such a form the structure will be mathematically solvable in ways never before realized; gaps can be filled in and connections between seemingly unrelated areas will begin to emerge. Once the system of human knowledge has been solved, the power of the metaconsciousness will be virtually limitless. The barriers of physics which currently restrain us will be completely abolished, and the resulting entity will be able to transcend space if not time itself. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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