The Distributed Intelligence— How Humanity Can Evolve Beyond The Internet

I had an interesting discussion with a good friend the other day. It started with a simple comment: “I feel like we can only choose to join a community that we like, because collective action of a group of people in the same geographical area is the same.”

“Human community is actually like nature, everyone thinks they are an individual, but collectively, they actually find ways to make one common thing.” Even though each human has individuality, once you put 1000 of them together in the same space, they will just somehow be collectives in nature, and cooperate to make complex things possible.

Swarm Intelligence

Swarm Intelligence = watch, listen, learn from feedbacks and somehow act like a single mind.

Let’s talk about swarm robots. MIT labs build Kilobots, each one only has one single mind that does not originally share knowledge with other robots. Each robot has simple capabilities, and is susceptible to many errors. To compensate for this, they must work together. Just by watching other robots of the same kind via sensors, they can adjust and perform one common goal (e.g self assembly into a shape)

This work demonstrates the ability to create and program large-scale autonomous swarm which can achieve complex global behavior from the cooperation of many limited and noisy individuals.

Humanity in a way is like swarm intelligence.

Each individual is like an agency, they have a soul and a mind. They have choices. As a massive human body, they are themselves also a body with soul and mind, they are also nature and how it works. Even when a system of millions of human body get together, they are just nature, working as one.

Like ants and bees. Each ant thinks they have a mind of their own. Each ants swarm is a single intelligence, acts like a single animal at large scale. Each bee hive is a single intelligence. Bees’ minds are not connected at all, they don’t have a hive mind (see below). At large scale, they act like a single mind.

So, to try and change the nature of a community, large body of people working as one, living in the same geographical location, it needs large scale reprogramming from something higher than the individual itself.

The Hive Mind

We dabbled with the idea of Swarm Intelligence above, it’s interesting how human somehow act like bees and ants. However, Swarm Intelligence is different from Hive Mind.

  • Hive Mind = one single mind/orchestration system, controlling or connecting each person.

In the case of Hive Mind, each individual/person doesn’t have individual agency. In a way it’s like something that keeps and transfers knowledge telepathically to humanity from one central source.

It’s interesting to think that if there’s a way for humanity to act like one single mind, where the knowledge and language is unified and the same everywhere, then humanity can be the ultimate human race. Because somehow the goal is super aligned.

But it also impose the problem of single point of failure. Like the story of Babylon.

Example 1: The Story of Babylon

Babylon, or “The Tower of Babel in Christianity’s Old Testament, the tower that almost touches the sky, to reach heaven and ultimately became god.

The moral of the story was that when the people used one single truth to reach the sky (metaphor for the hive mind), there is a single point of failure. God simply said “Nah, don’t do that”, and broke humanity into having different languages. Humanity wasn’t ready for that, and that came the fall of Babylon.

Example 2: The Way We are Connected To The Internet

As of right now, nature doesn’t give us this hive mind, so there’s no one mind to kill. However, the internet is slowly (or already) becoming the hive mind, if the ways we’re connected to it don’t improve soon.


Let’s say the internet is becoming the ultimate extension for knowledge and wisdom of humanity. It’s cool, we’ve found a way to store and archive virtually unlimited knowledge to it.

The way the internet is architected is distributed (DNS, Bitcoin, Blockchain, cloud computing, etc…) that prevents the failure of itself on a low level. It’s smart and becoming better.

But the way we access the internet impose problems.

Human needs electricity + cable/wifi to connect to the internet via routers. If one doesn’t have access to those, there’s currently no other alternative. The way we are connected to it makes it inaccessible at any time, given that if some organization that is powerful enough pull the plug on it, then nobody would get access.

To say once again, the internet is not at fault, because it’s distributed with multiple servers. But the way human need basic requirements to connect to the internet makes knowledge, intelligence and wisdom a single point of failure. So we can’t depend on the internet for everything until that problem is solved.

What’s Next?

Nature is always evolving, and when it evolves, it has mutation. It keeps mutating from one state to another. The internet might be a version of that mutation. The two out of many concerns are:

  • Humanity just might need more ways to access that mutation.
  • If the internet fails, what is the better version of the internet?

There are a few:

  • Besides from cable and wifi, there needs to be more ways to connect to the internet, over long and short range, protected from many type of interferences.
  • Blockchain telepathic mind: Telepathically, distributedly interconnected brains, where each brain hold a certain chunk of the truth in all of humanity. How it’s done? I don’t know. But it just might solves the problem where if the internet is destroyed, human losts a large amount of knowledge.

I personally believe that the way human communicate should be like telepathic blockchain, where part of the truth is retained in each person, unlike using the internet the traditional way, where we depend on the internet via cable or wireless (single point of failure) for our enlightenment.