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Metaverse 2.0 The Informational, Social, and Cognitive Heart of our Accelerating Future H+ Summit 2009 EON  Irvine, CA John Smart, President, Acceleration Studies Foundation Slides: Acceleration Studies Foundation: What We Do.

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Metaverse 2.0 The Informational, Social, and Cognitive Heart

of our Accelerating Future

H+ Summit 2009

EON  Irvine, CA

John Smart, President, Acceleration Studies Foundation


acceleration studies foundation what we do
Acceleration Studies Foundation: What We Do

We practice evolutionary developmental (“evo devo”) foresight, a model of change that proposes the universe contains both:

1. Convergent and predictable developmental constraints (initial conditions, constancies) which direct certain aspects of our long-range future and

2. Contingent and unpredictable evolutionary choices that we use to create unique, informationally valuable, and creative paths (many of which will fail) on the way to these highly probable developmental destinations.

Some developmental trends that may be intrinsic to the future of complex systems on Earth include:

Acceleratingintelligence, interdependenceandimmunityin our global sociotechnological systems

Increasing technological autonomy, and

Increasing intimacy of the human-machine and physical-digital interface.

© 2009

university of advancing technology uat
University of Advancing Technology (UAT)

Dynamic, Inspiring Private University,

Innovative Programs,

Tech-Focused, Accelaware

Tempe/Phoenix, AZ

1400 Students

Mission: To educate students in the fields of advancing technology to become innovators of the future.

14 Bachelors Degrees

3 MS Degrees: Technology Studies, Emerging Tech,

Artificial Life Programming

foresight development tch 110 a required undergrad foresight course at uat
Foresight Development (TCH 110)A Required Undergrad Foresight Course at UAT
  • Foresight Development is:
    • Futures StudiesEducation plus
    • Personal Foresight SkillsPractice
  • Course Description:
  • Foresight is the act of looking to the future. This course teaches better global, business and personal foresight to better enjoy and manage your own future. We will explore the big picture history of accelerating change from universal, historical and technological perspectives, as well as identifying global trends that are affecting individuals, society, businesses and governments. Additionally, the course will examine how organizations make bets on the future and gives the student a chance to explore career prospects in a variety of fields. Finally, discussion of how biology, psychology, community and culture help and hinder personal thinking about the future will be discussed. We will articulate and explain the four fundamental foresight processes: innovating the future (creative development of products and services); planning the future (developing shared goals and processes); profiting in the future (achieving measurable positive results, including environmental, social, and economic benefits); and predicting the future (trend identification and analysis). Assignments will be personalized to your own foresight goals, and will include brief readings, brief writing, discussions, debates, visuals, film, podcasts and games.
classifying transformative tech the niscb tech pentad
Classifying Transformative Tech:The NISCB Tech Pentad

Nano-Bio-Info-Cogno (NBIC) convergence was a good start, but it overlooks Social convergence.The NISCB pentad fixes that, and arranges these systems “fastest first”, from most rapidly to least rapidly complexifying:






NI is the “trans” and SCB the “humanism” in transhumanism. We have moral responsibilities for all tech, but they differ in their intrinsic rates of complexification, and in their relation to the self.

We directly experience SCB change as part of our biological identities, and externally experience NI change, which we create and discover.

Of the three techs we directly experience, SC are the easiest to change (our social choices and relations, our thoughts, emotions, attitudes).

This is why SC is the heart of humanism. What we care most about.

We are most essentially social-cognitive creatures, using all our tech to “niche construct” our planet, like beavers, termites, or bees.

See Cascio, Jamais. 2009. The Singularity and Society. Fast Company.

steep to steeps to steepsop to sniscbeepsop developing an accelaware set of foresight categories
STEEP to STEEPS to STEEPSOP to SNISCBEEPSOP:Developing an Accelaware Set of Foresight Categories

Science (Theoretical, Applied, Prof., Sci. Ed, Sci. Policy)

Tech – Nano & Macrotech

Tech – Infotech

Tech – Sociotech

Tech – Cognotech

Tech – Biotech

Environment (Sustainability, Resources, Impacts, etc.)

Economics (Capitalism, Biz-Law, 3BL Accounting, etc.)

Politics (Military, Security, Policy, Non-Biz Law, etc.)

Society (Culture, Media, Education, Religion, Art, etc.)

Organizational (Entrepreneurship, Mgmt, Org Dev, etc.)

Personal (Relationship, Career, Family, Spirituality, etc.)

All 12 categories are important to foresight development and change management. The first three, Science, Nanotech, and Infotech, seem to be “universal pulls” toward accelerating complexification.All the rest are enablers, shapers, or blocksto that acceleration.Scan with them all to see the big picture.

niscb tech in detail
NISCB Tech - In Detail

Nanotech and Macrotech

“Nano”: Macroengineering, Microengineering & Nanoengineering, Physics, Chemistry, Energy, Resources, Agric., Cleantech, Manufacturing, Space…“The leading edge of all Macrotech is Nanotech. (Physical effic. or density incr.)”


“AI” (Narrow and General Artificial Intelligence): Computing, Networks, Databases, Sensors, Automated Robotics, Conversational Interface, Cybertwins, Underground Automated Highway Systems…


“IA” (Intelligence Amplification): Tech+Policy with Quantifiable Positive Sum Benefits for Society: Clothing, Democratic Capitalism, Subsidized Solar, Social Networks, P2P Media, iTV/Personalized Ed, Valuecosm…


“Mind”: Neuropsych (dev. psych, Ed. tech, behav. economics, expert performance), Psychiatry, Neuropharm, Meditation, Crit. Thinking, Brain Games, Consc. Monitoring, Symbiont Networks, New Age Hooey/Placebo Effects …


“Body”: Medicine, Public Health, Nutrition and Diet, Biotechnology, Bioinformatics, Genetics, Mol. Bio, Prosthetics, Implants…

Beware NIB, Our Transhumanist Community’s Historical BiasNanotech Infotech Biotech stories are “Not In Balance”!

We transhumanists love thinking about NIB, three techs on the "extremes" of the NISCB pentad:

  • We love the molecular assembler, nanofabber and nanobot visions of Nanotech.
  • We love generalartificial intelligence (AI) (vs. intelligence amplification (IA)) in Infotech.
  • We love genetic engineering, neuropharmacology, and superlongevity in Biotech.

But these are all seriously oversold and likely to be persistent underperformers for the next 20-30 years.

  • Assemblers are hard! Drexler (2004) is now thinking vacuum phase (Drexler vs. Smalley debate) because we don’t have a clue how to do them in liquid. Even though that’s what cells do, and supramolecular synthetic chemistry is what we’d want (e.g., an organometallic soup as feedstock for a fab). The elephant in the room is the entropy accumulation problem. Until we figure out bio-inspired, error-correcting systems, nanotech can’t develop much past materials science. Read David Berube, Nano-Hype, 2005, + Blog and Richard Jones, Soft Machines, 2008 + Blog.
  • Nanobots? We don’t even have serious microfluidics or labs on a chip yet. Nanofabbers?Nanofabrication is a collection of capital- and skill-intensive chip industry and lab bench R&D processes. Let’s be honest. We don’t even have low-cost prototyping or low-volume macromanufacturing options yet, much less micro- or nanomanufacturing. Let’s focus on growing the DIY / Maker / Open Source / Open Innovation / Open Science communities, and helping maker labs like TechShop (founded 2006) or Noisebridge (2008) overcome the many blocks (liability, financial, marketing, political) to spreading beyond n=1.
  • General AI is a conundrum inside several enigmas. We don’t understand the brain yet (memory, learning, consciousness), let alone have a good idea how to make an artificial one. Let’s crack LTP, signaling, neural synchronization, and a host of other juicy mysteries in neuroscience before we meow about building “Cat Brains.” More reality, please! Read Dennis Bray, Wetware, 2009 to appreciate all the nonlinear and emergent computation in just a single cell. Read Moshe Sipper, Machine Nature, 2002 to get a sense of the bio-inspiration and parallelism our hardware will need before it can bootstrap to higher functions. Barely even on the 30 year horizon, in my opinion.
  • Genetic engineering in humans? Humbug, unless you’ve got a single gene disease. We aren’t even sure about it in our foods. Read Denise Caruso, Intervention, 2006. Neuropharmacology? All drugs, including SSRI’s are global, top-down tech that burns out (excitotoxicity, as in meth brain) your delicate, bottom-up regulated brain. A little burnout may be therapeutic, but it’s still degradation, not enhancement. Longevity past 120? Not unless you can magically stop cellular entropy in dozens of pathways (no nanobots available, sorry). Let’s get serious about getting people to 120 instead, with veganism, optimal nutrition, methionine restriction, big lowering of HbA1c and inflammation. Dirt cheap blood tests, implants. All our “silver bullets,” like resveratrol, are just silver bb’s (mild positive effects, and only in the right dosage). Major dietary and lifestyle improvements will happen only in the age of p2p media, symbiont networks, cybertwins, and implantable telemetry (quantified metabolic self). So let’s make these happen now!

We have to get back to the IA storyin Sociotech, and neuropsych inCognotech, the"heart" of the NISCB pentad, to understand the major social issues and the many disruptive (and profitable!) near-term advances ahead.

jim dator s four futures each have value they also represent four classic political dialogs
Jim Dator’s Four Futures: Each Have ValueThey Also Represent Four Classic Political Dialogs
  • Right wing
  • Continuation(Economic Issues)
  • Limits & Discipline
  • (Social Issues)
  • Left wing
  • Continuation(Social Issues)
  • Limits & Discipline(Economic Issues)
  • Up wing
  • Transformation(Selective Issues)
  • Down wing
  • Decline & Collapse(Selective Issues)

Key Images/Stories/Policies With Respect to Change

Dator, Jim. 1979. Perspectives in Cross-Cultural Psychology, Academic Press.

are you accelaware
Are You Accelaware?

Free Energy Rate Density (Φ)

Substrate (ergs/sec/gm)

Galaxies 0.5


Planets (Early) 75

Ecosystems, Plants 900 (10^2)

Animals (hum. body) 20,000 (10^4)

Brains (human) 150,000 (10^5)

Culture (human) 500,000 (10^5)

Modern Engines 10^5 to 10^8

Intel 8080 of the 1970's10^10

Pentium II of the 1990's10^11

Global AI of the 21st C 10^12+

Eric Chaisson, Cosmic Evolution, 2001

Free energy rate density values in hierarchically emergent CAS.

© 2009

world economic performance
World Economic Performance

GDP Per Capita in Western Europe,

1000 – 1999 A.D.

This curve looks quite smooth on a macroscopic scale.

Note the “knee of the curve” occurs circa 1850, at the Industrial Revolution.

kevin kelly is accelaware
Kevin Kelly is Accelaware






Kevin’s Blog. Read it.

accelerating change is broadly ignored by the scientific community except for tech learning curves
Accelerating Change is Broadly Ignored By the Scientific Community, Except for Tech Learning Curves

Learning/Experience/Performance Curves (Moore’s Law, etc.) show accelerating exponential or power-law increases in capacity or efficiency over time. We’ve known about them since the 1930’s.

Santa Fe Inst has started the first online open PCDB

(2008, Such data sets are critically important to understanding accelerating tech change and convergence. The SFI PCDB has a very small amount of NSF funding at present. Feel free to donate!

I think accelerating change has been ignored so long because:

  • It looks too much like “progress,” a forbidden word in science, as we have no “universal” theory of values or complexity. Yet.
  • It looks suspiciously like (smooth, hierarchical, predictable) complexity development, when the only dynamic that complexity scientists are presently willing to discuss is (noisy, branching, unpredictable) complexity evolution.
  • A few physicists do see parts of development (e.g., 2nd law of thermo (hierarchical decay), or Chaisson’s free energy work (hierarchical acceleration). But we all know physicists are crazy.
evo devo universe for scholars of evolutionary and developmental processes in the universe
Evo Devo Universe: For Scholars of Evolutionary and Developmental Processes in the Universe

Improving foresight through better theories of universal change.

Smart, John. 2008 Evo Devo Universe? A Framework for Speculations on Cosmic Culture. is a global community of physicists, chemists, biologists, informational, computer, cognitive and socialscientists, technologists, philosophers, and complexity and systems theorists who are interested in better characterizing the relationship and difference between evolutionary(mostly unpredictable)and developmental (significantly predictable)processes in the universe and its subsystems.

EDU 2008 (Paris, France) See archives.

EDU 2011 (Brussels, Belgium) Join us?

© 2009

search basins and portal pathways developmental portal pathways must exist
‘Search Basins’ and ‘Portal Pathways’:Developmental Portal Pathways Must Exist
  • Key Research Questions:
  • Are portals/bottlenecks that lead to increasing complexity plentiful or rare?
  • Are such portals/bottlenecks sequence-dependent or randomly traversible?
  • Are such portals convergent, divergent,or non-vergent (as depicted here)?

Crutchfield, J.P. 2001. When Evolution is Revolution: Origins of Innovation. In: Crutchfield, J.P. and Schuster, P. (eds.), Evolutionary Dynamics: Exploring the Interplay of Selection, Neutrality, Accident and Function.

portal pathway for complex chemical evo devo carbon chemistry
Portal Pathway for Complex Chemical Evo Devo – Carbon Chemistry

Genesis of Chemical Elements

  • Carbon is the only way forward to complex (living ) chemistry. Boron and Silicon no longer considered viable enough to form autocatalytic cycles in liquid phase.
  • Note that four of six most common elements in life chemistry (CHNOPS), and both of the great oxidizers, oxygen, and sulfur, are formed in the small, third generation (Population I) stars like our Sun
portal pathway for cells lipids and rna
Portal Pathway for Cells – Lipids and RNA
  • Lipids and RNA may be the only way from organic chemistry to cells!
  • RNA, lipids/cell membranes, and protein precursors (amino acids) all form spontaneously in Earth’s chemistry (and precursors form on meteorites).
    • Nucleobases (AGCT/U) form from cyanide, acetylene and water.
    • Sugars form from alkali and formaldehyde
    • Phosphates are released from schreibersite in meteorites (“solar system assist”), and (a little) from (modern) volcanic vents.
    • Sutherland et. al., mixing sugar and nucleobase precursors and phosphate got 2-aminooxazole (partial sugar, partial nucleobase)
    • Exposure to intense solar UV in shallow water (“solar system assist”) destroys the incorrect forms of nucleobases, leaving behind C and U.
  • RNA is today the only known heteropolymer (of 10M species!) that can both reproduce itself and catalyze 3D (protein) construction (ribozymes)
  • RNA later learned to store itself more permanently as DNA (RNA World Hypothesis), but DNA may not be the only more stable nucleic acid.

Alonzo Ricardo and Jack Szostak. Life on Earth, Scientific American, Sept 2009.

Matthew W. Powner, Beatrice Gerland & John D. Sutherland. Synthesis of activated pyrimidine ribonucleotides in prebiotically plausible conditions, Nature V. 460 May 13, 2009.

evolutionary convergence to the superorganism the stunningly niche dominant social insects
Evolutionary Convergence to the Superorganism? The stunningly niche-dominant social insects
  • Why are only 2% of the 900,000 insect species social insects?
  • Why does this 2% weigh more than the mass of all other insects combined (and is even 80% of all animal biomass in the Amazon rainforest)?
  • Escalation of power/mass/intelligence in competition (Evolution and Escalation, Vermeij)
  • Eusocial species use both social and individual levels of computation (Lucifer Principle, Bloom).
  • Competitive exclusion once the social computation niche is occupied.
  • Do social insects cause most insect extinctions (invasion theory)
  • Are humans now doing the same thing as the social insects before us?
the ia ai convergence of metahumanity a human machine superorganism
The IA-AI Convergence of ‘Metahumanity,’ a Human-Machine Superorganism

Biologist William Wheeler, 1937: Termites, bees, ants, and other social animals are parts of “superorganisms.”

Increasingly, they can’t be understood apart from the environmental structures their genetics and memetics compel them to construct.

Their developmental endpoint: an integrated cell-organism- supercolony.

Stock, Greg. 1994. Metaman: The Merging of Humans and Machines into a Global Superorganism.

teilhard on technological acceleration cephalization planetization of earth
Teilhard on Technological Acceleration: “Cephalization” / “Planetization” of Earth

"No one can deny that a network (a world network) of economic and psychic affiliations is being woven at ever increasing speed which envelops and constantly penetrates more deeply within each of us. With every day that passes it becomes a little more impossible for us to act or think otherwise than collectively."

“Finite Sphericity + Acceleration =

Phase Transition”

Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre. 1945. The Planetisation of Mankind. The Future of Man, Image, 2004.

—— 1955. The Phenomenon of Man, Harper & Row.

the metaverse
The Metaverse

The Metaverse is Neal Stephenson's (Snow Crash, 1992) incisive term for a world where the virtual and digital intimately pervades, encapsulates, and ultimately surpasses physical reality.

As adults, we run novel simulations of reality in our heads, in virtual space, far more than we engage in novel activities in physical space.

“Life simulates massively, cuts once.”

Our computers are rapidly learning to do the same, with huge implications for the future. While its 3D aspects are the first that come to mind, the Metaverse includes all the 1, 2, 2.5, and 3D digital platforms we use on our global Participatory Web, as we collectively prime it to take the next big leap in its intelligence (to the semantic web).

These platforms include search (Google, Wolfram Alpha, Bing), telephony (iPhone, Android, Google Voice), static and mobile social networking (Facebook, Loopt), microblogging (Twitter), collaboration environments (Google Wave), videoconferencing (Skype Video), games and virtual worlds (XBox Live, Second Life), mirror worlds (Google Earth), avatars (Miis, MyCyberTwin), lifelogging (MyLifeBits), and augmented reality (QR codes, Wikitude).

Collectively, these services are much more a story of human intelligence amplification (IA, Sociotech) than of artificial intelligence (AI, Infotech), which, though it improves itself at a faster marginal rate, has seen much more limited impact on society to date.(Smart, J. 2007.

from the metaverse to metahumanity evolutionary development of the web
From the Metaverse to Metahumanity:Evolutionary Development of the Web

Web 1.0: Read Mainly (Graphical UI)

Web 2.0: Read/Write/Play (Participatory, Social UI)


Web 3.0: Semantic (Cyber/Lobbytwins, Valuecosm, CI)

Web 4.0: Intelligent (Planetization, Global Brain, NUISocial Singularity/Metathinking/Metahumanity)

We are climbing the hierarchies of the web, via design, use, feedback.

This is, by far, the largest and most meaningful complexity construction process that human society has ever engaged in.

As biologicals, this may also be our last great job description.

Are you doing your job? Are you on social networks, on a smartphone, on the cloud (G-office), on open source software, yelping, blogging, tweeting, commenting, and helping to build the global semantic map?

Are you subsidizing metaverse innovation (rather than convenience) with your time, energy, and dollars? Are you a pioneer? Pioneers take arrows in their backs. They are tough sons of bitches with vision.

Metaverse 1.0

Metaverse 2.0

Miemis, Venessa. 2009. A Metathinking Manifesto.

Smart, John et. al. 2007. Metaverse Roadmap (to 2025).

wearable web 24 7 augmented reality
Wearable Web: 24/7 Augmented Reality

Necklace phone

(Nokia 2004)

‘Bracelet phone’ concept (Vodafone 2006)

‘Carpal PC’ concept

(Metaverse Roadmap 2007)’s first-gen

‘sousveillance’ cams (2001)

Flip Ultra (2007, $130)

Top-selling camcorder.

iPhone (Apple 2007)

ia intelligence amplification and the conversational interface ci circa 2015 2025
IA (Intelligence Amplification) and the Conversational Interface (CI): Circa 2015-2025

Codebreaking follows a logistic curve.

Collective NLP may as well.

Date Avg. Query Platform

  • 1.3 words Altavista
  • 2.6 words Google
  • 5.2 words GoogleHelp

2019 10.4 words GoogleBrain

Average spoken


query length is

8-11 words.

Smart, J. 2003. The Conversational Interface: Our Next Great Leap Forward.

© 2009

post 2020 the symbiotic age
Post 2020: The Symbiotic Age

A Coevolution between Saturating Humans

and Accelerating Technology:

A time when computers “speak our language.”

A time when our technologies are very responsive to our needs and desires.

A time when humans and machines are intimately connected, and always improving each other.

A time when we will begin to feel “naked” without our computer “clothes.”

© 2009

why will we want to talk to an avatar agent interface cybertwin in 2020
Why Will We Want to Talk to an Avatar/AgentInterface (“CyberTwin”) in 2020?

Nonverbal and verbal language in parallel is a much more efficient communication modality.

Birdwhistell says 2/3 (but perhaps only 1/3) of info in face-to-face human conversation is nonverbal.

“Working with Phil” in Apple’s

Knowledge Navigator Ad, 1987

Ananova, 2002

© 2009

personality capture a long term development of intelligence amplification
Conversational interfaces lead to personality models.

In the long run, we become seamless with our machines.

No other credible long-term futures have been proposed.

“Technology is becoming organic. Nature is becoming technologic.” (Brian Arthur, SFI)

Personality Capture: A Long-Term Development of Intelligence Amplification

© 2009

your digital you cybertwin
Your “Digital You” (Cybertwin)

“I would never upload my consciousness

into a machine.”

“I enjoy leaving behind stories about my life for my children.”

Prediction: When your mother dies in 2050, your digital mom will be “50% her.”

When your best friend dies in 2080, your digital best friend will be “80% him.”

Successive approximation, seamless integration, subtle transition… of you.

When you can shift your own conscious perspective between your electronic and biological components, the encapsulation and transcendence of the biological should feel like only growth, not death.

We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Greg Panos (and Mother)

© 2009

consciousness as neural synchronization from the cybertwin to the cyberself
Consciousness as Neural Synchronization:From the Cybertwin to the Cyberself

Neural synchronization, the phase-synched oscillation of populations of neuronsin both near and non-adjacent brain regions is an emergent phenomenon of actionpotentials and feedback. Scholars, including Francis Crick, Christof Koch, J.A. Scott Kelsoand others have long proposed neural synch as the “language”of feature binding (neural binding, architectonics), the substrate where autonomousand integrated thoughts make our highest-order perception, attention, and consciousness.

Laura Colgin has recently found a two state Gamma Oscillation Switch in rat hippocampus: “This switch mechanism points to superfast routing [10 to 100 ms, which is much faster than the 300+ ms speed of consciousness] as a general mode of information handling in the brain. The classical view has been that signaling inside the [mammalian] brain is hardwired, subject to change only by modification of connections between neurons. We believe that the gamma switch is a general principle of the brain, employed throughout the brain to enhance interregional communication.” She speculates that one of these oscillations, slow gamma (25-50 Hz), reads memories from neural stores, and the second, fast gamma (65-140 Hz), encodes working memory (present perceptions). Thus these two oscillations, together with other supporting processes, may be the physical substrate of our highest unconscious and conscious thought and perception.

What does Neural Synch Imply for the Long-Term Future of the Cybertwin?

Imagine future brain implants capable of neural synchronization with external artificial neurons, in both of these states. This gives you the ability to not only have external thinking prosthetics (a neural cybertwin) but even to shift your consciousness (memories and perceptions) between your biological and cyber components. You now have not just a cybertwin, but acyberself, a self that is both an extension and to some extent a copy of you. When your bioself dies, it will feel to your cyberself like change, not death. You will have uninterrupted consciousness!

Laura Colgin,

Kavli Inst. Postdoc

How the Brain Filters out Distracting Thoughts to Focus on a Single Bit of Info. ScienceDaily, 11.23.09

Colgin et. al. Frequency of gamma oscillations routes flow of info. in the hippocampus. Nature, 2009; 462 (7271):353.

valuecosm 2040 our plural positive political future
Valuecosm 2040:Our Plural-Positive Political Future

Microcosm (Gilder), 1960’s

Telecosm (Gilder), 1990’s

Datacosm (Sterling), 2010’s

Valuecosm (Smart), 2030’s

- Recording & Publishing Cybertwin Prefs

- Avatars that Act and Transact Better for Us

- Mapping Positive-Sum Social Interactions

- Much Early Abuse (Marketing, Fraud, Advise)

- Next Level of Digital Democracy (Holding Powerful Plutocratic Actors Accountable)

- Today’s Leading Edge: Social Network Media

© 2009

advent of the cybertwin circa 2020 the biggest single change we may see in our lifetimes
Advent of the Cybertwin, Circa 2020: The Biggest Single Change We May See In our Lifetimes!

Consider the implications for:

  • Subculture Diversity and Representation (goes up)
  • Global Comm and Collab (minimal language barrier)
  • Digital Divide (disappears)
  • Accountablity of Powerful Actors (goes up)
  • Data Security and Privacy (gets worse, then better)
  • Crime and Fraud (gets worse, then better)
  • Public Relations Manipulation (worse, then better)
  • Reputation Systems and Transparency (much better)
  • Socio-Economic-Political Democracy (must improve)
  • Parenting (How early can kids have CT’s?)
  • Personal Empowerment (20% of us?)
  • Entertainment and Dependency (80% of us?)
symbiont networks a post 2015 emergence
Symbiont Networks: A Post 2015 Emergence?

When we have an early Metaverse 2.0, lifelogs, and pervasive broadband connectivity, we can expect…

  • 150 (Dunbar number)of our kids most cognitively diverse (Page 2008) friends permissioned into their lifestreams, 24/7.
  • A reputation and reciprocity collaboration system that keeps everyone contributing to the symbiont (no free riders).
  • Powerful new group learning and expert performance, with symbionts seriously outperforming unconnected individuals. Always having 150 “lifelines” who know you, in any situation.
  • New cultural protocols, symbionts must be temporarily turned off for job interviews, tests, private moments, etc.).
  • Serious behavioral modification (juveniles, criminals, mentally ill) and performance enhancement.
  • Fantastic new subcultural diversity (transhumanist symbionts, Amish symbionts, etc.)

Page, Scott. 2008. The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools and Societies, Princeton U. Press.

what are the bottlenecks sci tech deficits social econ political blocks to accelerating progress
What are the bottlenecks (sci-tech deficits, social-econ-political blocks) to accelerating progress?

“As fast as tech moves, people move at the same slow, cautious pace they always did. If anything, people have gotten more cautious, more afraid of change, more skeptical, more cynical.”

– Dean Kamen, 2008

[To create a global innovation economy] should we be doubling the speed [of computers] or doubling the numbers of people who have access to information?– Dean Kamen, 2009

And also doubling the…

  • Educational content in open-access databases?
  • Sophistication of free cloud-based education systems?
  • Funded competitions (HS on up) for new ideas products solutions?
  • (Immigrant and endemic) scientists, engineers, and students?
  • Critical, rational, and normative thinking programs?
  • Social, economic and political models, data, and policy analyses?
  • Triple bottom line (financial, social, envir) accounting uses?

See Brigis, Alvis. 2008. The Social Will to Accelerate.

network with your favorite foresight affinity groups do more of it this year
Network with Your Favorite Foresight Affinity GroupsDo More Of It this Year!

Membership org, e-news,

Membership organization, magazine, conference.

Start a free public Future Salon! Now in 15 cities

Membership org, e-news,

Social network of foresight students, educators, researchers, employers, alums, and advocates. FERNweb.orgAttend our Foresight Careers conference! Join us for a week of future salons, talks, and hanging out in BRC!

Ping for an invite, tell us about your foresight interests and activities.

bio vs tech or monkey vs robot
Bio vs. Tech, or Monkey vs. Robot

You know you wanna watch this.

the limits of top down control engineering smartness is very hard to do
The Limits of Top-Down Control:Engineering Smartness is Very Hard to Do
  • “Doogie Howser” Mouse. Extra copies of NMDA receptor 2B (NR2B) improved long term potentiation (LTP). They hadbetter memories but were more neurotic (sensitive to pain).
  • Intelligence breeding in hunting dogs, horses, and other domestics has had verylittle effect vs. wildtype animals (“dumb” Pointer vs. Wild Dog).
  • All neuropharmacology always has a strong dose response and receptor downregulation, and it all causes long-term damage. Some of this damage is adaptive (anxiolytics, antidepressants, etc.)

Domestic Pointer

African Wild Dog

the limits of top down control growth genes and antagonistic plieotropy
The Limits of Top-Down Control:Growth Genes and Antagonistic Plieotropy

Clip a promotor for a growth hormone gene into …

a frog and you will get a bigger frog

a mouse and you get a bigger mouse with growth dysregulation, including cancer

a pig and you get the same-sized pig with acromegaly (bone growth problems) and arthritis.

More complex organisms have more evolutionary but fewer developmental differentiation abilities.

A lot more legacy code, a lot less flexibility!

Mus musculus

Sus domesticus

Xenopus laevis

human development and and the juvenile state
Human Development and and the Juvenile State

To make our “Great Leap Forward” (human civilization) humans went backwards developmentally (certain development genes turned off or slowed down, juvenile skull, hairlessness, etc.) in comparison to our two closest cousins (common and bonobo chimpanzees).

  • Humans vs. other primates are more juvenile (babylike), more altricial (helpless at birth), more dependent on imprinting (from culture and tech) and more precocial (larger brains at birth).
  • Lessons:
  • Genetic development had to go backward to bring greater intelligence to the planet.
  • Since then it is cultural development (social ideas and tech) that takes humans forward.
  • Choose carefully the ideas and technologies you are imprinting during your juvenile state!
limits to biocomplexity declining marginal adaptation from genetic differentiation
Limits to Biocomplexity: Declining Marginal Adaptation from Genetic Differentiation
  • Only so much complexity can develop “on top” of DNA!
  • Thesis: The further out one gets from the first living cell, the less developmental freedom remains (legacy code/path dependency).
  • Are humans near the end of the genetic line? Consider:
  • We went developmentally “backward” (heterochrony) to emerge
  • We emerged not due to incremental changes in variety of genes, but instead due to a rare punctuated change in a tiny number of brain genes 4-6 million years ago (HAR sequences) that improved our nongenetic (language) abilities.
  • Since then, brain-expressed genes in humans clearly follow a terminal differentiation dynamic. As Wang et al. (2006) Bakewell et al. (2007) and others report, evolutionary change in human brain-expressed genes has slowed down both in absolute terms and relative to chimps since our split six million years ago.

Smart, John 2001. Limits to Biology: Performance Limitations on Natural and Engineered Biological Systems. Wang, Hurng-Yi et al. 2006. Rate of Evolution in Brain-Expressed Genes in Humans and Other Primates, PLoS Biology 5(2):e13 Bakewell, Margaret A. et al. 2007. More genes underwent positive selection in chimp evol. than in human evol. PNAS 4.17.2007.