francis heylighen

francis heylighen

intro’d to Francis after being intro’d to Jay while watching video on Buckminster.. specifically – i found Francis on wikipedia entry for ephemeralization:

Consequences to society

Francis Heylighen and Alvin Toffler have written that ephemeralization, though it may increase our power to solve physical problems, can make non-physical problems worse. According to Heylighen and Toffler, increasing system complexity and information overload make it difficult and stressful for the people who must control the ephemeralized systems. This can negate the advantages of ephemeralization.

The solution proposed by Heylighen is the integration of human intelligence, computer intelligence, and coordination mechanisms that direct an issue to the cognitive resource (document, person, or computer program) most fit to address it. This requires a distributed, self-organizing system, formed by all individuals, computers and the communication links that connect them. The self-organization can be achieved by algorithms. According to Heylighen, the effect is to superpose the contributions of many different human and computer agents into a collective map that may link the cognitive and physical resources relatively efficiently. The resulting information system could react relatively rapidly and adaptively to requests for guidance or changes in the situation.

In Heylighen’s view, the system could frequently be fed with new information from its myriad human users and computer agents, which it would take into account to offer the human users a list of the *best possible approaches to achieve tasks. Heylighen believes near-optimization could be achieved both at the level of the individual who makes the request, and at the level of society which attempts to minimize the conflicts between the desires of its different members and to aim at long term, global progress while as much as possible protecting individual liberty and privacy.

re\wire for ni ness

augmenting interconnectedness.. *best possible connections


then found this – from 2010:

The Problem of Coordination in Self-Organizing Systems

self-organizing… biggest problem – one of coordination

try 2 convers.. as infra

my defn of self-organizing: spontaneous appearance of order or organizing – not imposed by some outside or inside agents. spontaneous appearance out of local interaction. global order from local interaction… organizations that is distributive..

meadows undisturbed ecosystem

2 min – agent

3 min – agent of input output system – agent transforms one into the other

4 min – what i need most for a self-organizing system is interaction.. and how does interaction take place.. it’s trivial and spontaneous.. an agent acts in response to its environment…

(forever iterating, forever in perpetual beta)

6 min – the function of the system is simply what the system does, in built/implicit goal. it transforms input into output


2009 – lakeside labs interview – austria

3 min – emergence of self-organization

synergy vs friction

6 min – need to overcome tendency to selfishness

or what if we’ve just seen science of people ness – what if selfishness isn’t our natural tendency

8 min – self-organizing system – endlessly fascinating


jan 2014

Return to Eden? (…) on the Road to an Omnipotent Global Intelligence

cuts in and out quite a bit..

starting to behave like an intelligent global network.. the global brain

17 min – interversity

39 min – money?



21 min – 4 requirements: 1\ diversity (can’t all be the same) 2\ aggregation (avg of knowledge approaching truth) 3\ independence (no one dominating) 4\ decentralization\distribution (diff people working on diff tasks)

28 min – 4 aspects of cognitive coordination: 1\ common standards/words ie: traffic rules 2\ aggregation ie: bring in lots of diff points of view 3\ division of labor  (bunch of diff problems being worked on at same time) 4\ work flow (sequential order)

56 min – you need a language

1:02 – group discussion experiment about – what makes you happy


find/follow Francis:
wikipedia small

Francis Paul Heylighen (born 1960) is a Belgian cyberneticist investigating the emergence and evolution of intelligent organization. He presently works as a research professor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, the Dutch-speaking Free University of Brussels, where he directs the transdisciplinary research group on “Evolution, Complexity and Cognition” and the Global Brain Institute. He is best known for his work on the Principia Cybernetica Project, his model of the Internet as a Global brain, and his contributions to the theories of memetics and self-organization.

self-organizing ness

Thanks to a grant from a private sponsor, in 2012 he additionally founded the Global Brain Institute at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, becoming its first director.


Heylighen’s scientific work covers an extremely wide range of subjects, exemplifying his intellectual curiosity and fundamentally transdisciplinary way of thinking. In addition to the topics mentioned above, his publications cover topics such as the foundations of quantum mechanics, the structure of space-time, hypermedia interfaces, the psychology of self-actualization and happiness, the market mechanism, formality and contextuality in language,causality, the measurement of social progress, the mechanism of stigmergy and its application to the web.

stigmergy ness


Moreover, any system must be adapted to its environment, which implies that it is able to react adequately to changes in that environment. This is the origin of mind or intelligence, as the system should be able to select the right actions for the given conditions. These “condition-action” relations are the basis of knowledge. As systems evolve, their adaptiveness tends to increase, and therefore also their knowledge or intelligence. Thus, the general trend of evolution is self-organization, or a spontaneous increase in intelligent organization.

antifragility ness

spontaneous – happening w/o outside force

.. the Principia Cybernetica Web, in 1993, as one of the first complex webs in the world. It is still viewed as one of the most important sites on cybernetics, systems theory and related approaches.


In 1996, Heylighen founded the “Global Brain Group”, an international discussion forum that groups most of the scientists who have worked on the concept of emergent Internet intelligence. Together with his PhD student Johan Bollen, Heylighen was the first to propose algorithms that could turn the world-wide web into a self-organizing, learning network that exhibits collective intelligence, i.e. a Global brain.

as it could be..

ie: hlb via 2 convos that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way


the global brain institute:

We see people, machines and software systems as agents that communicate via a complex network of communication links. Problems, observations, or opportunities define challenges that stimulate these agents to act. 
Challenges that cannot be fully resolved by a single agent are propagated to other agents, along the links in the network. These agents contribute their own expertise to resolving the challenge. If necessary, they propagate the challenge further, until it is fully resolved. Thus, the skills of the different agents are pooled into a collective intelligence much greater than the intelligence of its individual members.
The propagation of challenges across the global network is a complex process of self-organization. It is similar to the “spreading activation” that characterizes thinking in the human brain. This process will typically change the network by reinforcing useful links, while weakening less useful ones. Thus, the network learns and adapts to new challenges, becoming ever more intelligent.

– – –

The global brain is a hypothetical intelligent, self-organizing system which, as its proponents claim, will unite all human beings with the worldwide network of information and communication technologies.


A common criticism of the idea that humanity would become directed by a global brain is that this would reduce individual freedom and diversity. Moreover, the global brain might start to play the role of Big Brother, the all-seeing eye of the system that follows every person’s move. This criticism is inspired by totalitarian and collectivist forms of government, like the ones found in Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union or Mao Zedong’s China. It is also inspired by the analogy between collective intelligence or swarm intelligence and insect societies, such as beehives and ant colonies in which individuals are essentially interchangeable. In a more extreme view, the global brain has been compared with the Borg, the race of collectively thinking cyborgs imagined by the creators of the Star Trek science fiction series.

Global brain theorists reply that the emergence of distributed intelligence would lead to the exact opposite of this vision,. The reason is that effective collective intelligence requires diversity, decentralization and individual independence, as demonstrated by James Surowiecki in his book The Wisdom of Crowds. Moreover, a more distributed form of decision-making would decrease the power of governments, corporations or political leaders, thus increasing democratic participation and reducing the dangers of totalitarian control.