Advisory Board

Zann Gill, M.Arch.

Zann Gill, M.Arch. is Cofounder of Generative AI Lab & Library (GAIL) and earthDECKS, and Former Research Scientist and Program Developer at NASA.

She is focusing on collaborative intelligence in the form of Hybrid Human – AI Collaboration and translating evolutionary principles from living systems to lean agile innovation. She holds patents from the AI division of the US patent office on GAIL, a SaaS network for AI empowering human talent and beneficial uses of AI.

Her interest lies in implementing effective platforms to tap next-generation crowd-sourcing for large-scale, distributed search, collaborative knowledge discovery, organization of information, and distributed problem-solving.

Zann studied at Harvard with Buckminster Fuller, whose concept for the World Game preceded the public internet and mobile computing.

Zann earned her Masters’ Degree of Architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Her research for Buckminster Fuller on lightweight, collapsible tensegrity configurations was followed by a DAAD Research Fellowship in Germany (work published in the IL series, Architectural Design, and l’Architecture d’Aujourd ‘hui). She has studied how design methods can transform cross-disciplinary teams into effective problem-solving ecosystems.

Later, her entry to the international smart city competition, Kawasaki: Information City of the 21st Century, tied with Matsushita (now Panasonic) for First Prize and won the Award of the Mayor of Kawasaki, placing higher than entries of other large Japanese corporations, including Shimizu and Taisei. She proposed an IIS (Intelligent Integrating System) to harness distributed nodes and devices to aggregate and make sense of data. The IIS was a concept for technology to support collaborative intelligence before we had a public internet.

She proposed sixteen diverse interlinked initiatives comprising an Innovation Network, designed to evolve as a collaborative ecosystem. Through ECOdesyn Lab she consults on projects ranging from the Smart Systems–Eco-Cities initiative of Australia’s ICT Center of Excellence to World Class Execution and decision support for sustainable remediation — applications for the new field of collaborative intelligence.

Later, working as a Research Scientist in the NASA Ames Visualization Group, she developed collaboratory concepts to enable NASA Senior Research Scientists to collaborate more effectively across disciplines.

As a Research Scientist and Program Developer at the Research Institute for Advanced Computer Science (RIACS), contracted to NASA, she proposed a series of NASA collaboratories as technology platforms and cross-disciplinary, self-improving ecosystems, harnessing principles of self-organization and collaborative intelligence found in living ecosystems. This research informs the catalyZer method used by MetaVu Networks.

At NASA, she developed program plans for the Institute for Advanced Space Concepts (IASC), a collaboratory Bio-Evolutionary Advanced Concepts (BEACON) and an astrobiology program for NASA University which received the Incentive Award for Outstanding Performance. Read Webtanks for Knowledge Management: Web-based Collaborative Learning Environment.

Realizing that a global sustainability collaboratory cannot be controlled by one nation, this work became a precursor for founding earthDECKS where DECKS stands for Distributed Evolving Collaborative Knowledge System. Her aha! moment came when she realized that complex systems problem-solving, which Buckminster Fuller’s World Game, and the NASA collaboratory aspired to enable, should start from story-telling.

Having previously written screenplays as a hobby, with this aha! she realized that these stories could evolve into “story hubs” for networks of projects and leaders sharing stories with each other. All of her stories examine one question: How does innovation gain traction? How can we empower those who can lead innovation for social justice, climate change, and saving our ocean?

In 1995, Zann Founded POW Media, (Power Our World Media) to focus on media with a mission to raise awareness about equity and the environment and ways to “make media actionable”. She produces new media stories that raise questions and encourage critical thinking about the challenges we face. Through POW Media, Zann Founded MetaVu Publishing and the Microbes Mind Forum. This Forum explores principles across micro and macro scale, distributed intelligence in natural systems, and how self-organizing ecosystems of computers and humans co-evolve as problem-solving networks.

Zann writes on the implications of the origin and evolution of life for eco-sustainability as a complex, adaptive system. Her book, If Microbes begat Mind, proposes the A-PR Hypothesis. A sequel, What Daedalus told Darwin, argues that Darwin has been misinterpreted, drawing evidence from his writings, others of his day and current debate.

She maintains that self-organizing complex systems, and recent findings about the mechanisms of evolution, are the basis for defining the new field of collaborative intelligence and developing an associated new paradigm for collaborative computing.

From Architecture, Zann pivoted to become a sci-fi storyteller. Her book, ALICE in Cinderland, is a black satire about our surreal denials of climate change, from fires to power outages, from surveillance to mind control, and her SQUID is a fake news conspiracy theory novel, where Tom Evermore, a clone of Thomas More, contrives fake news to save our ocean. Both are sci-fi satires about technology and our future in a generative AI world.

Her most recent book, Alton – Campaign to end free speech (2023) is based on the original research and Harvard Ph.D. thesis of author Zann Gill’s father, John Glanville Gill, who was fired from his job as Minister of the Alton Unitarian Church and forced to leave Alton after Ku Klux Klan burnings, reported in TIME. ALTON reveals the deep roots of today’s racism, US election rigging, fake news, and police brutality today.

Her first book, 1848, talks about Margaret Fuller, the world’s first woman foreign war correspondent and the Revolution of 1848. Zann learned about Margaret Fuller, great aunt of Buckminster Fuller, while she was working for Fuller as a graduate student at Harvard and realized that her heroic story could be an inspiring book and screenplay.

Read User-driven collaborative intelligence: social networks as crowdsourcing ecosystems, Collaborative intelligence in living systems: algorithmic implications of evo-devo debates, A design method using darwinian principles for Collaborative Problem-Solving Environments (CPSEs), and Webtanks for knowledge management: web-based collaborative learning environment.

Read The Other Edge of Ockham’s Razor: The A-PR Hypothesis and the Origin of Mind.

Visit her LinkedIn profile and her Homepage. Follow her on her personal Facebook, her Work Facebook page, Instagram, and Twitter.