Was there collective intelligence before life on earth? Considerations on the formal foundations of intelligence, life, and evolution
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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World Futures 58 (1):61 – 80 (2002)
Collective Intelligence (CI) can be formalized as a specific1 computational process through the use of a molecular model of computations and mathematical logic, in terms of interacting information_molecules, which are chaotically or quasi-chaotically displacing and running natural-based inference processes in their own environment. The formal definition of Collective Intelligence as a property of a social structure of beings of any nature is surprisingly short and abstract (which is astonishing) from definitions of Life. The formal definition of Collective Intelligence proposed by the author in the last few years seems to be valid for the whole spectrum of beings, in human social structures to ants in colonies, and even for bacterial colonies. It has recently been found that the CI definition also has an engineering value. The theory of CI can also be used to better understand Evolution because it allows us to locate and relate Life and Intelligence in Evolution. Moreover, this approach presents Evolution as something more complex than can be concluded from Darwinism. Probably the most surprising fact is that a simple extrapolation of the definition of Collective Intelligence brings us to the conclusion that most probably the first elementary Collective Intelligence emerged on Earth in the "chemical soup of primeval molecules," much before Life emerged. Collective Intelligence can be defined with fewer and weaker conditions than Life requires. Perhaps the emergence of that early elementary Collective Intelligence provided the basic momentum to build Life as we now know it. Thus Evolution caused Intelligence to create Life. Our hypothesis is consistent with biochemistry theories that "primeval biochemical molecules" started to interact, "firing" the Collective Intelligence of their "elementary chemical social structure" for survival. This successful action boosted further growth of complexity in that "elementary social structure," which finally resulted in the emergence of "well-defined Life." Furthermore, it provided a self-propagating cycle of growth of individual and collective Intelligence and individual and collective Life. The Collective Intelligence of ants, wolves, humans, and so forth today is only a higher level of Collective Intelligence development. Thus the present Evolution is a computational process of unidentified complexity where Life, Intelligence, and perhaps other as yet undiscovered components play temporary roles. In this paper we provide formalization and a proposed partial proof for this hypothesis.
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