A conversation with Howard Bloom about collective learning, group selectionism, and the global brain

My guest for this week’s Innovators podcast is Howard Bloom. He’s written several books, one of which — Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century — is the main topic of our conversation.

There’s no easy way to summarize this show, but here are some notes that I took while reading the book, and used to guide the discussion:

global data sharing among bacteria

complex adaptive system

imitative learning

individual vs group selection

passion for gathering in cities

raven roosts are data collection centers

elements of a collective learning machine:

  1. conformity enforcers (genome, social norms)
  2. diversity generators (curiosity, deviance)
  3. inner judges
  4. resource shifters
  5. intergroup tournaments

apoptosis / cell suicide

behavioral vs verbal memes

the group influences individual perception

each node in the collective brain represents a different approach available to the mesh of mind

individuals and subgroups are disposable rovers, sensors for an interlaced intelligence

pumphouse gang shows how individuals and groups can become test pilots for speculative strategies

team hunters, crop thieves, garbage raiders: each a separate “hypothesis”

collective intelligence uses the ground rules of a neural net: shuttling resources and influence to those who master problems, stripping influence, connection, and luxury from those who cannot seem to understand

If these themes resonate, you’ll love hearing Howard elaborate them.

3 thoughts on “A conversation with Howard Bloom about collective learning, group selectionism, and the global brain”

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