Collective Intelligence (CI) is currently emergent as part and parcel of that Information Revolution which challenges and indeed changes the way we relate to one another and to the world as a whole. Connecting the vast and varied intelligence of individual humans via digital (information and communication) technologies and combining Human Intelligence (HI) with Artificial Intelligence (AI) will produce a higher form of intelligence than anything heretofore known. As Albert Einstein saw and said: we cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.
And yet, it is certainly too soon to celebrate the coming of a cyber-organism that should be able, however belatedly, to solve our problems. A super-intelligence may still be a superficial intelligence insomuch as such is used to enrich just the rich by actually accelerating the unjust exploitation of people and the planet. Solving our deeply-rooted problems requires something rather “radical” in the original sense of getting to the root, ergo the dire need for a Radical CI platform to transform—even save—life on Earth. No hyperbole here: we’re now in the very midst of the planet’s sixth mass extinction event of species, primarily as a result of human activity. With the specter of sudden, catastrophic climate change lurking right around the corner, it is high time for a new level of thinking.
“Intelligence” may best be defined as (and measured by) the cognitive ability to solve problems. “Collective” here means not merely a group of individuals, gathered together or not, but an aggregate of integrated individuals, assembled in concert or at least for some common cause. Seeing that “radical” has to do with the root of something, Radical CI is a deep form of and meta-platform for problem-solving involving ever-increasing and -expanding networks of HI and AI capabilities.
Not obviously necessary for “saving life on Earth,” a radical form of CI may finally be our best and last chance to turn this planetary spaceship around before colliding with the otherwise inevitable consequences of individualistic consumption and on a globalized scale. “Consumerism,” according to Wikipedia, “is a social and economic order that encourages the acquisition of goods and services in ever-increasing amounts.” The claims and aims of said system being that of individual hoarding, what we now need is a new world order wherein collective sharing is the order of the day. The very survival of our own species and a plethora of others (perhaps life itself) does indeed depend upon it. So a superficial form of CI, with the same shallow aim of increasing the “net worth” of this or that individual at the collective expensive of people and the planet, would doubtless be yet more problematic.
Radical CI has whole world as its telos (its ultimate aim) and a holistic way of approaching problem-solving without which we will perpetuate a piecemeal paradigm that has historically proven inadequate to solve even so-called “simple” problems, such as hunger. In order to make the world whole again, we must take a holistic approach to healing all people and the planet inasmuch as most of what we term “problems” turn out to be symptomatic of a deeper and more disturbing malady or malaise—civilization itself: that complex set of living arrangements which, for both better and worse, forever changed the relationship of people to people and to the planet.
With the Neolithic Revolution from a predominantly nomadic to an agrarian way of life, human societies stratified into higher and lower classes or castes of people, and people over the planet herself. Point being here that the historical roots of our planetary problems run deep indeed, and that a “radical” resolution requires a revolution of the global economy to bring about a regeneration of the globe’s ecology. Is there any doubt that what we now need to heal our earthly wounds—as opposed to this epidemic of individual claims and aims—is precisely a revolutionary and regenerative platform for Radical CI?
Earth and her dear earthlings are in dire need of it now.