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Amira .

Collective Intelligence: The Need for Synthesis by Kingsley Dennis | Between Both Worlds - 1 views

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    To upgrade our thinking patterns is a beginning step to an upgrade in human consciousness, and is necessary if we are to succeed in adapting to our rapidly and inevitably changing world. In other words, if we don't enact a change, or learn to adapt to the incoming energies of change and transformation, our presence is likely to be no longer required, or needed. It is a sobering thought.
Amira .

How is the Internet Changing the Way We Think? The collective conscious by J. Brockman,... - 3 views

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    "Love Intermedia Kinetic Environments." John Brockman speaking - partly kidding, but conveying the notion that Intermedia Kinetic Environments are In in the places where the action is - an Experience, an Event, an Environment, a humming electric world.
Amira .

How Language Shapes Thought By Lera Boroditsky | Scientific American January 20, 2011 p... - 2 views

  • In Brief

    • People communicate using a multitude of languages that vary considerably in the information they convey.
    • Scholars have long wondered whether different languages might impart different cognitive abilities.
    • In recent years empirical evidence for this causal relation has emerged, indicating that one’s mother tongue does indeed mold the way one thinks about many aspects of the world, including space and time.
    • The latest findings also hint that language is part and parcel of many more aspects of thought than scientists had previously realized.
  • The notion that different languages may impart different cognitive skills goes back centuries. Since the 1930s it has become associated with American linguists Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf, who studied how languages vary and proposed ways that speakers of different tongues may think differently. Although their ideas met with much excitement early on, there was one small problem: a near complete lack of evidence to support their claims. By the 1970s many scientists had become disenchanted with the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, and it was all but abandoned as a new set of theories claiming that language and thought are universal muscled onto the scene. But now, decades later, a solid body of empirical evidence showing how languages shape thinking has finally emerged. The evidence overturns the long-standing dogma about universality and yields fascinating insights into the origins of knowledge and the construction of reality. The results have important implications for law, politics and education.
  • Under the Influence
    Around the world people communicate with one another using a dazzling array of languages—7,000 or so all told—and each language requires very different things from its speakers. For example, suppose I want to tell you that I saw Uncle Vanya on 42nd Street. In Mian, a language spoken in Papua New Guinea, the verb I used would reveal whether the event happened just now, yesterday or in the distant past, whereas in Indonesian, the verb wouldn’t even give away whether it had already happened or was still coming up. In Russian, the verb would reveal my gender. In Mandarin, I would have to specify whether the titular uncle is maternal or paternal and whether he is related by blood or marriage, because there are different words for all these different types of uncles and then some (he happens to be a mother’s brother, as the Chinese translation clearly states). And in Pirahã, a language spoken in the Amazon, I couldn’t say “42nd,” because there are no words for exact numbers, just words for “few” and “many.”
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  • Languages differ from one another in innumerable ways, but just because people talk differently does not necessarily mean they think differently.
  • Research in my lab and in many others has been uncovering how language shapes even the most fundamental dimensions of human experience: space, time, causality and relationships to others.
  • Let us return to Pormpuraaw. Unlike English, the Kuuk Thaayorre language spoken in Pormpuraaw does not use relative spatial terms such as left and right. Rather Kuuk Thaayorre speakers talk in terms of absolute cardinal directions (north, south, east, west, and so forth). Of course, in English we also use cardinal direction terms but only for large spatial scales. We would not say, for example, “They set the salad forks southeast of the dinner forks—the philistines!” But in Kuuk Thaayorre cardinal directions are used at all scales. This means one ends up saying things like “the cup is southeast of the plate” or “the boy standing to the south of Mary is my brother.” In Pormpuraaw, one must always stay oriented, just to be able to speak properly.
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    The languages we speak affect our perceptions of the world.
Amira .

Do Insect Superorganisms Have Implications for Human Society - New Research Says "Yes" ... - 0 views

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    As this satellite image from space shows, the Earth is fast becoming a planet of megacities. Every week humans create the equivalent of a city the size of Vancouver, Canada. Can human "megacities" learn from insect societies? A team of researchers including scientists from the University of Florida has shown insect colonies follow some of the same biological "rules" as individuals, a finding that suggests insect societies operate like a single "superorganism" in terms of their physiology and life cycle. Insect colonies make up a large fraction of the total biomass on Earth. The findings may have implications for human society.
Amira .

A Cyber Soaring Humanity or The rise of the Cyber Unified Civilization by Wildcat - 0 views

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    When I started writing this essay I thought to summarize my views of hyperconnectivity as they coalesced in the past year, in relation to the emergence of the polytopia project, however as my writing progressed, it appeared that the area that I wished to cover was getting wider and broader, deeper and larger than I had anticipated. I therefore decided to divide the paper into a number (unknown at present) of consecutive essays under the collective title of: the rise of the Cyber Unified Civilization. (please bear with me as I try to disentangle and re-entangle my thoughts on this fascinating topic.)
Amira .

'The Empathic Civilization': Rethinking Human Nature in the Biosphere Era by Jeremy Rif... - 0 views

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    "Social scientists, in turn, are beginning to reexamine human history from an empathic lens and, in the process, discovering previously hidden strands of the human narrative which suggests that human evolution is measured not only by the expansion of power over nature, but also by the intensification and extension of empathy to more diverse others across broader temporal and spatial domains. The growing scientific evidence that we are a fundamentally empathic species has profound and far-reaching consequences for society, and may well determine our fate as a species. What is required now is nothing less than a leap to global empathic consciousness and in less than a generation if we are to resurrect the global economy and revitalize the biosphere."
Amira .

Complexity Rising: From Human Beings to Human Civilization, a Complexity Profile by Yan... - 0 views

  • This article analyzes the human social environment using the "complexity profile," a mathematical tool for characterizing the collective behavior of a system. The analysis is used to justify the qualitative observation that complexity of existence has increased and is increasing. The increase in complexity is directly related to sweeping changes in the structure and dynamics of human civilizationthe increasing interdependence of the global economic and social system and the instabilities of dictatorships, communism and corporate hierarchies. Our complex social environment is consistent with identifying global human civilization as an organism capable of complex behavior that protects its components (us) and which should be capable of responding effectively to complex environmental demands.
  • What is generally not recognized is that the relationship between collective global behavior and the internal structure of human civilization can be characterized through mathematical concepts that apply to all complex systems. An analysis based upon these mathematical concepts suggests that human civilization itself is an organism capable of behaviors that are of greater complexity than those of an individual human being. In order to understand the significance of this statement, one must recognize that collective behaviors are typically simpler than the behavior of components. Only when the components are connected in networks of specialized function can complex collective behaviors arise.
  • The goal of this article is to extend the systematic understanding of collective or cooperative behavior so as to characterize such behavior in physical, biological and social systems.
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  • Random, coherent and correlated behaviors illustrate the relationship between the behavior of parts and the collective behavior of a system. In both random and coherent behavior the collective behavior of the system is simple. Correlated behavior gives rise to complex collective behavior. Examples illustrating these types of behavior can be found in physical, biological and social systems.
  • The complexity profile is a mathematical tool that is designed to capture important aspects of the relationship between the behavior of parts of a system and the behavior of the entire system. Behaviors of the system are assigned a scale which is related to the ability of an observer to see that behavior. Typically, larger scale behaviors involve coordination between more parts and/or larger amounts of energy. The complexity profile counts the number of behaviors that are observable at a particular scale, which includes all behaviors assigned to that scale or larger scales. When a system is formed out of independent parts, the behaviors are on a small scale. When a system is formed out of parts that all move in the same direction, the behavior is on the largest scale. When a system is formed out of parts whose behaviors are partially correlated and partially independent then as we look at the system on finer and finer scales we see more and more details. This is characteristic of complex systems formed out of specialized and correlated parts. Such systems have a complexity profile that declines gradually with scale.
  • Hierarchical organizations are designed to impose correlations in human behavior primarily through the influence of the hierarchical control structure. In an ideal hierarchy all influences/communications between two "workers" must travel through a common manager. As the complexity of collective behavior increases, the number of independent influences increases, and a manager becomes unable to process/communicate all of them. Increasing the number of managers and decreasing the branching ratio (the number of individuals supervised by one manager) helps. However, this strategy is defeated when the complexity of collective behavior increases beyond the complexity of an individual. Networks allowing more direct lateral interactions do not suffer from this limitation.
  • From this argument it is possible to begin to understand processes of historical change in human organizational structures. Human organizations exist within an environment that places demands upon them. If the complexity of these demands exceeds the complexity of an organization, the organization will be likely to fail. Thus, those organizations that survive must have a complexity sufficiently large to respond to the complexity of environmental demands at the scale of these demands. As a result, a form of evolutionary change occurs due to competition. Competition is relevant because for human organizations, the environment itself is formed in part out of organizations of human beings. According to this argument, one can expect a self-consistent process of complexity increase where competition between organizations causes the behavior of one organization to serve as part of the environment in which others must survive.
  • he history of human civilization reflects a progressive increase in the complexity of large scale behaviors. Early civilizations introduced a few relatively simple large scale behaviors by use of many individuals (slaves or soldiers) performing the same repetitive task. Progressive specialization with coordination increased the complexity of large scale behaviors. The industrial revolution accelerated this process which continues till today. When the complexity of collective behaviors increases beyond that of an individual human being then hierarchical controls become ineffective. Hierarchically controled systems must yield to networked systems. Note that a system which has fixed energy and material can change its complexity profile only by transfering activities from one scale to another. Increasing complexity at one scale must be compensated by decreasing complexity at another scale. However, an increasing human population, and the addition of sources of energy during the industrial revolution (coal, oil and gas), violated these conditions, enabling the complexity to increase on all scales. As indicated on the horizontal axis, the scale of human civilization also increased.
  • The most dramatic increases in the complexity of organizational behavior followed the industrial revolution. The use of new energy sources and automation enabled larger scale behavior in and of itself. This, in turn, enabled higher complexity behaviors of human systems because the amplification of the behavior to a larger scale can be accomplished by the use of energy rather than by task repetition.
  • A schematic history of human civilization reflects a growing complexity of the collective behavior of human organizations. The internal structure of organizations changed from the large branching ratio hierarchies of ancient civilizations, through decreasing branching ratios of massive hierarchical bureaucracies, to hybrid systems where lateral connections appear to be more important than the hierarchy. As the importance of lateral interactions increases, the boundaries between subsystems become porous. The increasing collective complexity also is manifest in the increaseing specialization and diversity of professions. Among the possible future organizational structures are fully networked systems where hierarchical structures are unimportant.
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    Since time immemorial humans have complained that life is becoming more complex, but it is only now that we have a hope to analyze formally and verify this lament. This article analyzes the human social environment using the "complexity profile," a mathematical tool for characterizing the collective behavior of a system. The analysis is used to justify the qualitative observation that complexity of existence has increased and is increasing. The increase in complexity is directly related to sweeping changes in the structure and dynamics of human civilizationthe increasing interdependence of the global economic and social system and the instabilities of dictatorships, communism and corporate hierarchies. Our complex social environment is consistent with identifying global human civilization as an organism capable of complex behavior that protects its components (us) and which should be capable of responding effectively to complex environmental demands.
Amira .

We Are Social Creatures: The Power of Others to Support Our Habits | Psychology Today - 0 views

  • Your attempt to change a habit means that others will need to work at their lives too. They might even grumble and resist. The good news, of course, is that eventually they will become accustomed to your new way of doing things. Humans are incredibly adaptive creatures. What was once new becomes commonplace and what was once usual becomes odd and foreign.
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