The Noosphere and the Global Brain

 

The Human Energy Project is in the middle of two research projects exploring the possibility that the Noosphere’s
global brain has been emerging, accelerated by information technology:

  • Global Brain Analysis: Neuroscience has radically transformed how we see our inner workings,
    defining the nature of our individuality. Remarkably, this individual “I” reflects the work and
    evolution of ~80 billion cells that have reconciled their individuality for the entirety of the
    human organism. Do humans similarly transcend their individual “I” for a global human
    organism, a noosphere? Studying the global brain will be a massive undertaking, with radical
    implications for the neural and social sciences. The problem is of immediate concern for the
    human collective; we face economic, political and social crises and must mount a collective
    response. How does this happen? How do “we” decide what to do? To focus the immediate
    efforts of the Global Brain Analysis arm of the Human Energy Project, an initial comparative
    study of the decision making process in the human brain with the decision making process in
    societies has been undertaken. The goal of this project is to create a dynamic map of the decision
    making process that bridges the neural and social sciences, highlights key distinctions, and opens
    new avenues for research, technology and creative human endeavors. A team led by Professor
    Michael Jacob has begun this research.

 

  • Modeling Brains: From Biology to the Noosphere: This project aims to study two successful
    recent brain models, the predictive processing theory, and the global neuronal workspace theory,
    and to look for their equivalent in the noosphere. The latter theory proposes that consciousness
    arises when particular messages in the brain are amplified, globally broadcasted and
    “reverberated”, thus creating synchronization between processes in different brain regions.
    Similar processes may be observed at the planetary level in (social) media. The former theory
    says that sense-making or understanding happens when bottom-up processing of incoming
    observations and top-down prediction of what can be expected match, creating coherent insight in the situation.
    “Higher” levels of consciousness/understanding are attained when this bottom-up/top-down
    matching extends to higher levels of abstraction, where observations are fit into increasingly
    global, long-term orders. A similar extension of consciousness should happen in the noosphere in
    order to deal with broad, global problems, such as climate change. This research is led by
    Professor Francis Heylighen and his team.