Planetary intelligence

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"Planetary intelligence" might not be a good choice, due to reflexive conflation with an earlier use of the expression:
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EXCERPT: . . . To make sense of our impact—and to guide ourselves toward a future we want, not one we merely succumb to—we need an entirely new conceptual framework. Along with my colleagues Adam Frank and David Grinspoon, I describe that framework as planetary intelligence. In our view, intelligent individuals like you and me may be a passing evolutionary phase on the path to a more advanced, collective intelligence, one that can operate intentionally at a global scale. The future of Earth and the future of intelligence may be, in this sense, one and the same.

Fantastical as the idea may sound, similar transitions have played out repeatedly in the history of life. Time and again, individuals have given way to collectives, because collectives often are better at responding to information about their environment and coming up with strategies for survival. Consider the social insects. No one ant in a colony has access to enough information to make intelligent decisions; individual ants seeking a new nest site cannot visit every possible home. Instead, they have evolved decision-making mechanisms that operate at the colony level, comparing the quality of potential nest sites based on the combined experiences of many ants that have each seen only a small subset of the options. Such information sharing has made ants and other social species highly successful, to the point that they cannot survive outside their social groups.

Socially, our species is already collective. A typical modern human can survive only hours to weeks in the wild, away from all societal comforts. Our technology, which makes it possible for us to live comfortably in nearly every habitat on Earth, was invented through our social behavior. Our technology has progressed so quickly that our current social structures are no longer sufficient to steer it, however. Things invented only decades ago are already becoming outdated. A prominent example is nuclear arms proliferation. After World War II it became clear that new global norms had to be established to prevent a nuclear catastrophe. We came to understand the threat, but we have still not intelligently resolved it. The treaties and other makeshift solutions of the last century are not resilient enough to contain countries that might want to defect from these agreements.

We need to invent new collectives that can compensate for our technological advances. Like ants, we cannot individually comprehend all the information required to make the right decisions for survival. That is why we must nurture planetary intelligence, creating systems to sustain life on the same scales of space and time at which our technology operates. The history of evolution tells us that this transition can happen, and that it must.

The roots of collective intelligence stretch back to the earliest stages of life on Earth. It was the cooperative action of many molecules, interacting through complex webs of chemical reactions, that gave rise to the first living organisms. On their own, no atoms in an organism are alive, yet collectively they are. You are a self-assembling living system, a set of nested feedback loops of molecules that process information specific to producing other molecules—the molecules that compose you. You are a collective.

In this view, the boundaries of what constitutes a living thing are not well defined, because the chains of information propagating through molecules and other matter extend beyond the boundaries of what we call an individual organism. Across both space and time, every living thing is part of persistent ecosystems that include food webs of predator and prey species continuously cycling resources.

Extending this idea to the planetary scale leads us to the concept of the biosphere, the collective activity of all life on Earth, a concept introduced by the Russian-Ukrainian geochemist Vladimir Vernadsky in 1926... (MORE - details)

RELATED (wikipedia): Noosphere

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