Feb 17, 2011

The Global Brain and its role in Human Immortality

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, complex systems, futurism, life extension, neuroscience

It would be helpful to discuss these theoretical concepts because there could be significant practical and existential implications.

The Global Brain (GB) is an emergent world-wide entity of distributed intelligence, facilitated by communication and the meaningful interconnections between millions of humans via technology (such as the internet).

For my purposes I take it to mean the expressive integration of all (or the majority) of human brains through technology and communication, a Metasystem Transition from the human brain to a global (Earth) brain. The GB is truly global not only in geographical terms but also in function.

It has been suggested that the GB has clear analogies with the human brain. For example, the basic unit of the human brain (HB) is the neuron, whereas the basic unit of the GB is the human brain. Whilst the HB is space-restricted within our cranium, the GB is constrained within this planet. The HB contains several regions that have specific functions themselves, but are also connected to the whole (e.g. occipital cortex for vision, temporal cortex for auditory function, thalamus etc.). The GB contains several regions that have specific functions themselves, but are connected to the whole (e.g. search engines, governments, etc.).

Some specific analogies are:

1. The Broca’s area in the inferior frontal gyrus, associated with speech. This could be the equivalent of, say, Rubert Murdoch’s communication empire.
2. The motor cortex is the equivalent of the world-wide railway system.
3. The sensory system in the brain is the equivalent of all digital sensors, CCTV network, internet uploading facilities etc.

If we accept that the GB will eventually become fully operational (and this may happen within the next 40–50 years), then there could be severe repercussions on human evolution. Apart from the fact that we could be able to change our genetic make-up using technology (through synthetic biology or nanotechnology for example) there could be new evolutionary pressures that can help extend human lifespan to an indefinite degree.

Empirically, we find that there is a basic underlying law that allows neurons the same lifespan as their human host. If natural laws are universal, then I would expect the same law to operate in similar metasystems, i.e. in my analogy with humans being the basic operating units of the GB. In that case, I ask:

If, there is an axiom positing that individual units (neurons) within a brain must live as long as the brain itself, i.e. 100–120 years, then, the individual units (human brains and, therefore, whole humans) within a GB must live as long as the GB itself, i.e. indefinitely.

Humans will become so embedded and integrated into the GB’s virtual and real structures, that it may make more sense from the allocation of resources point of view, to maintain existing humans indefinitely, rather than eliminate them through ageing and create new ones, who would then need extra resources in order to re-integrate themselves into the GB.

The net result will be that humans will start experiencing an unprecedented prolongation of their lifespan, in an attempt by the GB to evolve to higher levels of complexity at a low thermodynamical cost.

Marios Kyriazis


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  1. WIntelAgency says:

    Big question.. Are our human biological bodies really only Avatars in another similar system?

    “In the fight to flight autonomic response mentioned in my blog:…-mind.html, does a quantum entanglement state kick in? Aid to senses?” So, we don’t only return to it in death of the biological system in which we are currently residing in? What Stuart Hameroff and Penrose are claiming to recoginize in their tests and statistics.
    And is this how some humans can ‘see connections in the systemic behaviors, the big picture from actions and reactions, better than others when the fight or flight mechanism kicks in?“

    In the Quantum Entanglement — in a systemic sense.. I ask the simple question ;-) Curious lil me.

    Are our human biological bodies really only Avatars? Is there really one collective source (system) or big bang to it all?

    What if there is not any ‘one’ source system beginning our Universe (no one big bang or no one big system?) What if there are many ‘extra dimensional’ systems that have already extended new density layered spaces to expand expression upon an ever expanding canvas? Similar to how we created cyberspace (from the very fabrics of a multitude of human systems developing ARPANET, to the web, to virtual Worlds and Universes), wherein we (multiple human biological systems) are merely, in a sense, avatars created in a new defined space ‘density layer’ in light for other extra dimensional intelligences out there to extend through (escaping their own womb based system)?

    Think about our own process in defining the internet / cyberspace and building upon it (extending ourselves into it). It wasn’t any one ‘entity’ that divined and built this new virtual cyberspace (no one big bang either). No one thought. It was several to now millions of us entities here on earth in a wave creatively building & extending (mimicking our space system; to pour out our memetic beings into). So, are we Avatars of millions within another dimension extending themselves into (similar to the processes of our own programmed DNA/RNA branching through outer space via pans spermia)? What do you think? Yes, it takes imagination and creativity to even consider this that we are merely extensions from a quantum entanglement.

    Today we have the Generation Y’s extending themselves through cyberspace with their own personas / Avatars further the quantum. Cyberspace has become a place that we can model what we imagine and believe; and we live and revel in with our soul, lessons learned, emotions, and even act out other behaviors that are more unnatural; i.e., develop multiple personalities (further extending ourselves).