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S YS TE MI C S Y MBIOTI C P LANETARY

ECOV ILLAG E NE TWORK

Systemic Symbiotic Planetary Ecovillage Network


P O Box 1674
Middletown, CA
95461-1674
USA

silverj6@mchsi.com

Silver J. H. Jones

Systemic Symbiotic Planetary Ecovi!age Network


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TABLE OF CONTE NTS

The cha!enge of the biovirtual interface


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The future wi! include inte!igent virtual agents
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The increasing role of e-services
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Computational ecosystems
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Experimental evidence on symbiotic inte!igence
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Ecovi!ages provide the ideal testing arenas
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How far can we extend this concept
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References
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CHAP TE R V II
Biovirtual Convergence

Silver J. H. Jones
2008

Copyright © 2002 by Silver (J. H.) Jones. All rights, electronic, multimedia, and print, reserved. A publi-
cation of SSPEN - Systemic Symbiotic Planetary Ecovillage Network.
No individual can escape the role of creator, because we are at least minimally engaged in the role of cre-
ating our own life. Each life is a holomovement, moving from simulation to explication. Life is a compo-
sition of continual acts of courage which propels us towards a goal we cannot yet conceive. Life is more
than biotechnology; it is a biovirtual ascension hypothesis which we fill in as we go - a hypothesis we
cannot live without. If we do our work well, history becomes more than a simple act of survival, it be-
comes a convergent simulation of what we refer to as G.O.D. (Grand Organizational Design).
There are many critical stages that societies pass through in their attempts to attain long-term sustainable
civilizations. The entrance of a society into the technological era of evolution is certainly one of the most
challenging of these stages. Once a civilization begins the technological phase of its evolution, there are
two main obstacles that the civilization must master, in order to succeed in this stage of evolution:
• The biological organisms, and the society they have created, must learn to systemically and symbioti-
cally merge their lives with the ever increasing computational capacity of the technology they have cre-
ated. The structuring of matter and energy in our world must be interfaced with the vastly extended vir-
tual worlds now accessible via massive parallel processing, distributed processing, computational grids,
and ecological computational networks.

• At the same time that the biological organisms are attempting to accomplish the above objective, they
must concurrently master the art and science of complexity and chaos control. Once a civilization
enters the technological, communication, and information age, it can become overwhelmed, if it is un-
able to manage the exponential explosion of complexity.

Communities of all sizes, microscopic, mesoscopic, and macroscopic must develop an acute awareness of
the necessity of keeping these two objectives forever focused in the beams of their headlights. Developing
technologies without giving thought to their implications, in the broader context of the whole ecosystem,
can be fatal. By no means is this a suggestion that we turn our backs on technology. Quite the opposite is

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true. We must embrace technology to extend our creativity and our capabilities with the additional assis-
tance of our own technological creations, but we must do this in a thoughtful, systemic, and symbiotic
manner. We are most likely to accomplish this, if we first understand the teleological purpose of technol-
ogy from the perspective of the entire evolutionary history of our universe. Our current society is driven
by market objectives and profit motive. Free enterprise can be a valuable catalyst for creativity and inno-
vation, if it functions within a higher set of teleological objectives. Free enterprise markets, if left to func-
tion on their own, without being embedded within a higher set of objectives, devolve into extremely non-
systemic, non-symbiotic, and unhealthy mercenary societies, driven by little more than short-term profits.
These short-term profits are acquired by a very small percentage of the overall population at a very high
price, and this approach is capable of doing irreversible damage to the ecosystems of our planet which are
contaminated and eventually dismantled. The true purpose of technology is not only to create profit - it is
to enhance, extend, and enrich the lives of the organisms within an planetary or larger ecosystem.

Biological organisms are finite creatures, but they are finite creatures with the capacity of information
assimilation, processing, and generalization. We live in a multicausal rather than monocausal universe,
which has granted us the right of cocreation. This is an enormous gift, and a great responsibility. We are in
the process now of cocreating the universe we inhabit. Before the process of universe evolution reaches
completion those civilizations that have been successful in biovirtual convergence, and complexity man-
agement, will survive and embed their classical and quantum signatures on the holomovement of the uni-
verse.

The survivors of this wondrous experiment will truly be able to say - behold this is the universe of our
cocreation!

The challenge of the biovirtual interface


Prior to the internet and the World Wide Web, the average citizen thought of a computer as a black box.
The computer was like a telephone or a toaster - a home or work appliance that assisted him in perform-
ing various tasks. With the opening of the internet to the general public, a new form of evolution began,
although to this day, many of our citizens still do not truly understand the full scope of this new form of
evolution. They use the internet to shop, manage their finances, communicate via e-mail, and perhaps on a
few occasions to do a little research. Most of the internet users are consumers or end users, rather than
content providers, and most do not fully understand the depth of the adventure that has begun. As we be-
gin to understand the full implications of what can be accomplished on highly distributed networks, and
as the interfaces become more bio-user-friendly (moving from text, to GUI, to speech recognition, and
eventually to full virtual reality - with full holographic multimedia capabilities) we will begin to under-
stand the true depth of this new revolution. Not only will products and services of every imaginable type
be exchanged on the internet, but forms of art and intellectual interfaces will be extended into arenas pre-
viously unimaginable.

We believe that it is the destiny of ecovillages to be on the leading wave of this enormously important
advance.

It is unfortunate that many people have the image of ecovillages as a place where one retreats from civili-
zation and technology by going back to nature. Biological organisms are negentropic open systems.
They were not created for the purpose of devolution. They were created to move ever forward, and ever
upward, in a process of continual universal expansion and ascension. We must accomplish this in a man-

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ner which is not destructive to the very ecosystem that sustains us, but this does not mean simply going
back to the previous agricultural era. We are capable of moving ahead with technology, and preserving the
rich and diverse ecosystem we have inherited from the billions of years of bioinformational computation
we now call our ecosystem - planet earth or Gaia. Founders of ecovillages must not only refrain from
falling into this devolutionary trap; they must be on the cutting edge of experiments to demonstrate
that such non-destructive technological evolution is not only possible, but achievable. This does not
mean that we will not make mistakes, and this is the reason that we must encourage systemic and symbi-
otic ecovillage networks. They are the key to sharing the pooled knowledge base of both our achieve-
ments and our failures. Successful methodologies can be spread as rapidly as possible, and poor method-
ologies can be re-channeled as quickly as possible into more productive, efficient, and effective ap-
proaches. Repositories of various approaches, and their successes and failures, can be compiled at speeds
that approach real-time availability. The purpose of this technological revolution - is to make information,
resources, products, services, education, and entertainment available in real-time anywhere on the planet,
instantly, on demand (ZSC). We do not yet have the infrastructure to support such a distributed planetary
computational grid, but, in the years to come, long span light optical fiber, metro-fiber (the last mile), low
earth orbiting satellites, and the hardware and software that supports a universal distributed computing
ecosystem will bring this extension of our nervous systems to completion. We will then live in a world
where truly evolutionary ecological computation exists in the commingling between biological organisms
and virtual agents.

Our new world will be a computational grid that interconnects biological wet quantum computers and a
vast collections of silicon, molecular, and optical computers, atomic quantum computers, and DNA com-
puters into a systemic and symbiotic form of intelligence which is currently beyond our imagination.

The future will include intelligent virtual agents


The current operational interface to the internet requires us, as users, to perform all of the needed steps to
access the data, information, and services available on the internet. In the future the landscape will be
considerably different. We will see the implementation of virtual creatures referred to by a number of dif-
ferent terminologies including intelligent information agents (IIA), cooperative information agents (CIA),
infobots, avatars, and all of these are ecological computational species (ECS). These virtual agents will
grow in sophistication over time, eventually acquiring customized personalities that users have tailored to
comfortably interface with their own personalities. In the early stages these agents will be considerably
less sophisticated in personality and in their interfaces, but they will be capable of performing more com-
plex tasks than the simple filtering of e-mail, and the ability to tailor your daily news article input. Ex-
perimental software is already under development which is designed to do things such as plan a vacation,
based upon the input criteria you provide to the software agents. These agents will have sufficient intelli-
gence to go out and search collective ecologies of information which incorporate all the relevant data,
such as the best price, the availability of hotel rooms, airline tickets, rental cars, train routes, marine
transportation, dinner reservations, tours available in the travel areas, and the location of restaurants, thea-
ters, and museums. These agents will interact with other agents in an entirely ecological computation
within the database community. Requests from your virtual travel agent will be sent into the larger com-
munity, the virtual agents of the providers of these services will come to them with quotes to fulfill the
closest approximation of your travel criteria. Your virtual agent will then sort and arrange the alternative
scenarios in the order of their closest approximation to your criteria, and then either execute the plan or
come back to your for final confirmation, depending upon your level of built up confidence in the capac-
ity of your virtual agent. The agents of both the buyer and the seller will reciprocally verify the transac-
tion by mutual certification of the identity of both parties. The auction will be completed, and both parties
will be informed that the transaction has been completed. Obviously these agents will perform much more
important and sophisticated tasks than planning your vacation, we simply wanted to provide a simplistic
example of these agents capabilities that everyone could relate to.

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Now what we have proposed here is a model similar to an auction at Ebay, but at a much higher level of
sophistication, involving multiple integrated and interrelated stages which interact in a nonlinear manner.
The agents will have to be much more intelligent, accomplished in more sophisticated and diverse com-
munication, and capable of making numerous decisions within a much more nonlinear decision tree. The
problems these agents will encounter will involve decisions like those necessary in the Prisoners’ Di-
lemma Problem, and in computational graphs in which one attempts to find the shortest and least expen-
sive (most efficient) pathway to achieve all of the travelers objectives. The agents will have to be capable
of understanding dynamical networks, in which the constraints and opportunities are continually shifting.
They need enough native intelligence to sort out the alternative pathways, work around numerous obsta-
cles, and provide prioritized alternative vacation scenarios that lie within the buyers guidelines.
As the sophistication of intelligent agents grows, we can expect to see them performing more and more
complex tasks without the need of our assistance. Their intelligence will actually increase with experience
through a combination of evolutionary programming techniques, like genetic algorithms, where the most
fit agents in the computational ecosystem are mated and allowed to reproduce, and the less fit agents, are
removed from the reproductive pool. Such quasi-self-evolving software agents are the trend of the future,
and it represents a virtual version of how biology has managed its own evolution. The virtual agents have
a distinct advantage over biological agents, because some versions of evolutionary programming allow
the agents which mate to pass on, not only their genes (potential), but also their accumulated experience
and knowledge (memes). The dual combination of being able to pass on both genes and memes, in addi-
tion to the rapid rate of computation these organisms will be capable of, will provide us with a rapidly
evolving form of virtual intelligent life.

Eventually we can expect these intelligent cooperative agents to take on characteristics of personality.
Through a combination of both design, and evolutionary mating, they can be bred to achieve certain
personality characteristics.
Since we do not yet know how viable biological human cloning will turn out to be, and we have not dealt
with the complex accumulation of ethical issues involved in such an evolutionary step, we must consider
the role of intelligent agents as a viable alternative to cloning. Even with this type of virtual agent we will
have considerable obstacles to face in both implementation and ethics. This opportunity may provide us
with an initial introduction to the much more challenging issues we will face with the possible onset of
real human cloning, if it occurs.
It may be useful to suggest some of the potential advantages and disadvantages of virtual quasi-clones or
clones which we shall refer to as intelligent personality simulations (IPS).
Some of the advantages are:
• An IPS which is capable of mirroring many of your personality traits, interests, and priorities could rep-
resent you, in your absence, in many types of transactions, involving information searches, retrieval,
processing, financial decisions, medical research, diagnosis, therapy plans, communication, planning,
and scheduling, etc.

• All forms of biological individuality are finite. An IPS, or a clustered group of IPS agents, designed to
compliment and counterbalance the particular set of finite limitations that every human individual per-
sonality faces, could be of considerable use to an individual in terms of expanding, deepening, and gen-
erally rounding out their personality, their emotional proclivities, and their intellectual capacity. Each
individual agent would have characteristics which supplemented one’s weaknesses. The possibility of
multiple personality exploration could be quite fascinating.

• Since all of these IPS agents could work in a parallel processing mode, they could considerably extend
the arena of experience a single individual could hope to explore in a lifetime, because as biological
organisms we are limited to working in serial or quasi-serial mode for the majority of our lives. The

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possibility of functioning at many points in space and time simultaneously, certainly opens up new vis-
tas of productivity far beyond anything imaginable today.

• If every bio-individual was supplemented by numerous virtual IPS agents, a whole new field of com-
munication opens up. The possibility of multiple simultaneous communication matrices (MSCM) pre-
sents itself. With the assistance of numerous IPS agents, all able to function on their own, and to com-
municate amongst themselves, in addition to communicating with their parent biological personality
(us), it is easy to imagine levels of communication and productivity which far surpass what any indi-
vidual could hope to accomplish in a lifetime under our current conditions.

• A form of IPS which is not totally virtual already exists in our society in the form of robotics. So now
we must now extend our concept to a third category of beings - robotic/android intelligent personality
simulations (RIPS or AIPS). A Robotic intelligent personality simulation (RIPS) would come even
closer to a form of cloned biological organism than an IPS, because they would not be limited to func-
tioning in virtual or cyberspace. They would share characteristics of living in both worlds, they could
perform functions in real space-time, and in virtual space-time.

RIPS which had the capacity to clean your house, maintain your transportation vehicles, do your shop-
ping, drive you to work, and perhaps even provide a new form of companionship, could be not only use-
ful, but interesting. If they had the capacity to download, and continually access the work and research
being performed on your behalf, by your virtual IPS’s by wireless transmission, this would certainly ex-
tend their depth and usefulness. Imagine getting up in the morning and having your breakfast already pre-
pared for you. Your RIPS logs into your daily agenda IPS agent and begins to assist you with your daily
routine. He presents you with any retrieved research information you requested at an earlier date, and this
could include anything from text to full multimedia videoconferencing with full holographic display. Your
RIPS then drives you to work, while sharing with you the results of all the tasks you set out for him/her to
accomplish. These tasks could include informing you of the current status of you investments, analyzing
and recommending any changes which could result higher profits allowed within your criteria of invest-
ment objectives, and keeping you informed of any late breaking news which might apply to your invest-
ments. Information research requests would be delivered by various means. You could provide your RIPS
with new instructions for the day, and for the activities of your IPS cluster. If you were traveling, it (he/
she/it?) could implement all of your travel itinerary for the day, pick you up, and get you to your travel
destinations. It could speak in the native language of any country. During idle time your RIPS could be
editing the recently written documents you were preparing, or translating them into another language. It
could be preparing a rough outline of an upcoming speech you were planning to give. If you had been
having any recent health problems, it could be diagnosing your condition, based upon incoming lab re-
sults. In the evenings it could present you with a set of alternative entertainment options, based upon you
preselected criteria.
In a very similar manner the combination of IPS and RIPS could serve similar tasks for small businesses
and research groups. During business hours RIPS could serve as communications personnel, sales repre-
sentatives, and technical support staff. Your RIPS agent could help a customer carry a heavy object out to
their transportation vehicle, after completing all other aspects of the transaction. During non-business
hours they could perform cleaning, inventory, manufacturing, restocking, and security.
In research facilities RIPS could assist in performing lab procedures, especially in areas where risk to
chemicals, extreme temperatures, extreme pressures, extreme radiation, or where there could be potential
contact with disease producing organisms. They could diagnose, service, repair, and maintain operational
tolerances in sensitive equipment. They could work 24/7/365 on behalf of your research team or your
business.
Cities, counties, and states could benefit from the use of IPS and RIPS. They could monitor and process
various sources of income information, perform accounting, purchase energy in trading markets at the

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lowest price, manage water resources, waste, and recycling. Their strength would be in keeping various
departments updated on the activities of other departments, so as to maintain an efficient systemic opera-
tion. Their capacity to identify bottlenecks in workflow, where network flow had been slowed down by
failures at particular nodes, would be invaluable. Keeping performance in large organizations running
smoothly, would be of great assistance in both large intra-departmental transactions, and in interdepart-
mental transactions. These agents could trace the entire history of transactions to make sure that the hand-
offs between departments proceeded in a timely and correct fashion. These steps are always the weakest
links in large organizations. These agents could also identify, diagnose, and perform chaos control in large
complex systems.
We do not want to give the wrong impression here, that we want to replace intelligent biological organ-
isms with virtual ones, or to suggest that virtual representations are superior to biological ones. By no
means are we suggesting that your wife or husband could be replaced by such an android entity.
The goal is to explore how much we could expand the richness of our experience, and how much we
could extend the productivity possibilities of a single intelligent biological organism. One can obviously
extend this analogy to larger levels of organization, families, groups, businesses, communities, and na-
tions. At every conceivable level of organization, the operational efficiency of these various levels could
be assisted by IPS and RIPS clusters of agents.

The increasing role of e-services


Recently we have witnessed larger and larger portions of our economy moving into the service sector, as
opposed to the industrial sector. Will the future of the internet follow a similar evolution in the virtual
economic ecosystem? Services and expertise can be marketed, electronically bartered, or shared freely on
an ever increasing level of specificity. This capacity of ecovillages to amplify the non-virtual skills of their
inhabitants by providing these same talents in a virtual form to a much larger ecosystem beyond their
own local boundaries in space and time, can potentially increase the importance of ecovillages in society
by many orders of magnitude.
Ecovillages because of their smaller size, and closely linked individual citizens, have a distinct advantage
in this new economic arena. Because of their size and flexibility, they can react quickly to changing envi-
ronments and technologies, and they have the chance to be ‘first movers’ into new areas of products and
services. This is extremely important in an era where it is getting harder and harder for small businesses
to compete on a level playing field with the big multinational corporations. Quickness and agility, can
counterbalance the enormous resources and capital reserves of large corporate entities. This is very
much a David and Goliath contest. In order for their small size and agility to win, ecovillages must have
superior education and re-education which allows them to stay one step ahead of the corporate giants.
Smaller organizations are much better adapted to tailor their services to the specific and specialized needs
of their clients. We can envision many different types of products and e-services that ecovillage communi-
ties could be in a position to offer, depending upon their physical, educational, and virtual skills:
• Individual ecovillages could sell, trade, or share their individual and collective skills and products to
other ecovillage communities, both within their organized network, and within the larger planetary
computational grid.

• Small subnetworks of similar ecovillages could combine to share their products, services, and talents to
other ecovillage communities that are just starting up.

• Larger networks could develop holistic economies which differ from the larger global economy, without
the destructive mercenary tendencies of the multinational corporate influence.

• Ecovillages could sell, trade, or share their products and services into the larger national and multina-
tional economies for sources of additional income. Such an approach also provides an educational op-

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portunity for ecovillages - to show the larger economic community how it is possible to make profits
without devouring our non-renewable and renewable resources at a rate which is highly detrimental to
our environment.

The advantages of taking products, services, and skills that are of value in your own community to a
larger market or audience are self-evident. By expanding the base into which you can sell, trade, or share
information, you increase the influence of your efforts and achieve a higher level of productivity and
profitability. All ecovillages, by their very formation, have something in common with other ecovillages:
• Each ecovillage is attempting to form an alternative experimental community within much larger and
more established communities (cities, counties, states, and nations.)

• Many of the challenges ecovillages face will be similar, and they can benefit from each others experi-
ences.

• Each community will have its own inherent abundances and scarcities, both in terms of physical re-
sources and human resources, and by networking, each community can benefit and overcome these lo-
cal limitations, so that not only does the whole ecovillage movement improve its chances of survival
and prosperity, but each individual community benefits from being freed from the limitations of its lo-
cality. For example one ecovillage may have an great deal of well managed and renewable wood re-
sources, a surplus, yet it may have a insufficient computer facilities and skills. Another ecovillage,
within a reasonable distance, may need wood resources, because their land does not have the proper
ecology to support such a resource, but it may have a very strong computational facility, and an exten-
sive staff of well trained talented computer professionals. Each community has the potential to benefit a
great deal from some form of exchange of resources and services. In the end, by cooperation, both
communities grow stronger within the larger web of ecovillages. Many other examples of the value of
reciprocal exchanges could be cited. Ecovillages should always be on the lookout for win/win scenar-
ios, for these scenarios are the means that we use to achieve the omega point of universe ascension.

• The end goal is to extend this new perspective of pleasurable, sustainable, systemic, and symbiotic liv-
ing to the entire surface of our planet. This approach must become the approach of our entire planetary
civilization, if we wish to have a future and the possibility of completing our universal ascension quest.

Well established ecovillages have much to offer newly forming ecovillages, and this is why we place so
much importance on ecovillage networks. The whole ecovillage movement is an experiment in progress, a
testing ground for alternative approaches to survival, living, community, business, economy, and ecology.
The movement will advance much faster if the same mistakes do not have to be repeated over and over
again, due to of a lack of information or communication. The reverse of this process is mirrored in the
ability of older established ecovillage communities to benefit from new approaches being tried by newly
formed communities. This constant input can keep older communities from stagnating, because they will
be constantly challenged by new ideas and approaches which attempt to improve upon established ap-
proaches. This is a win/win scenario for all involved.
By combining their collective production, products, services, educational approaches, skills, and talents
the collective economic power of all the local ecovillages grows, at least minimally, in proportion to the
number of villages established. Enough ecovillages working together and networking, can form a sub-
economy that mirrors the best aspects of the larger global economy, while filtering out the destructive,
short-term, and mercenary aspects of these larger economies. Such an economy can gain ever increasing
power and influence, as it grows and captures larger and larger portions of the multinational corporate
business. Ecovillages must function collectively, both with their votes, and with their pocket books. In
this manner individual ecovillage communities and the collective network gain economic clout and

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power. The hope is that they will eventually be able to force the larger economy to adopt a more ecologi-
cal, systemic, and symbiotic approach to survival, society, and economy.
The efforts of some members of the 60s generation to establish a greater sense of community, was not
conquered by the ‘establishment’ by competing in the arena of ideology. This social movement was even-
tually defeated in the market place, by making the cost of living in the industrialized world so expensive,
that people no longer had time to think about evaluating the status of their societies. The challenge to
ecovillages is to learn from this lesson. Instead of trying to compete in a purely ideological arena, eco-
villages must challenge the ‘establishment’ by hitting them where it really hurts - profits! When you
begin cutting into profits, you suddenly gain their attention. All other approaches (logic, alternative ideas,
legislation, an appeals to ethics) have been tried and have failed. When the ‘health food’ (organic food
movement) started in the 60s, who would have imagined that we would see health food corporations pub-
licly traded on the stock exchanges? Back then you were lucky if you could find even a single store in
your area, now there are growing chains of health food stores, and conventional grocery stores are begin-
ning to carry organic products because they provide much higher margins of profit. Alternative health
care is another example. In the 60s there were few practitioners in a given area. Now many areas of the
country have whole complexes dedicated to alternative medicine. Even some hospitals are beginning to
offer alternative medical services. This transition did not come about as a result of an ideological victory.
It began when conventional medicine began to see profits declining, because larger and larger portions of
the population were turning to alternative medicine. In all of these cases the ‘establishment’ was pressured
to change as a result of economic forces, where all previous attempts to appeal to reason, ethics, and ide-
ology had failed.
These examples provide ecovillage communities with valuable guidelines.

• Start your own communities.


• Develop your own businesses.
• Research, invent, design, and market your own products.
• Network your businesses within ever larger brick and mortar and virtual economic networks.
• Establish you own stock markets, banks, and insurance companies.

This is a non-violent gorilla tactic, conquering from below by agility, innovation, superior intelligence,
and superior education. The end goal is to eventually force the larger social and economic system to adopt
your principles. The goal is to force the larger mercenary corporate network to adopt your ways, or suffer
the inevitable loss of profits that will follow. Ubiquitous networking is the key - link your voting, pur-
chasing, production, services, information, and financial resources. Start an alternative stock market
where parasitic hedge funds, day traders, and ‘naked’ short traders are locked out of your institutions. We
need markets where it will be possible to invest in the future. We need our investments strategies to re-
main focused beyond the next scandal, rumor, or market manipulation. This incessant short term focus is
intentionally designed to continually rotate the market sectors, continually forcing higher commission
fees, and preventing corporations and markets from focusing on more fundamental long-term objectives.
As more and more examples of alternative approaches to long-term sustainable living become available to
the public, the self-evident value, necessity, and viability of this new approach will become ever more
apparent and competitive. Once the strangle hold of the multinational hegemony is broken, it will become
more evident that these entities must change their ways. Never deceive yourself. This transition will not
be voluntary. It will come when the superior methods of living can no longer be hidden from the pub-
lic. The bottom-up robust heterarchical approach will eventually succeed over the brittle authoritarian
hierarchical model, where a few dictate the terms of living for the masses. Biology has already used this
method very successfully, proven its viability, and we can benefit from following a similar approach.

Computational ecosystems
Just how far this concept of computational ecosystems can be taken, remains to be seen. If the only in-
formation one had about biology was a single frame of a video taken a 100 millions years ago, would a

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person from that time period have been able to predict the future evolution of biology. This is the situation
we are in today with regard to the virtual computational ecosystems. Is it possible that computational eco-
systems may some day approach the sophistication and complexity of the biological world, or even ex-
ceed it? We do not know. A percentage of the civilizations in this universe are going to find out. The real
question is, will we be one of them?. We do not even know if this type of research is an essential compo-
nent of successful civilizations, or if it will lead to the eventual destruction, or the submission of biologi-
cal species to a form of non-human technological intelligence. Technology is a double-edged sword. It
offers immense possibilities to extend our senses, our computational processing capabilities, and our in-
formation storage capacity. It offers us the possibility of redesigning or improving our own biology,
through genetic manipulation. It allows us to probe areas of the universe that are very inhospitable to the
rather narrow environmental requirements (temperature, oxygen, nourishment, etc.) of our fragile organic
bodies.
There is a darker alternative scenario we must also be aware of. We can create machines that become so
intelligent that we turn over our cocreatorship responsibility to them, and become dependent upon them.
If we turn over all of the work in the process of evolution to them, and become hedonistic and self-
indulgent, we will have failed. The technology we have created, which is free of the thirst for power and
exploitation, and which is controlled by a pure logic, may eventually see us, if we remain as we are now,
as the problem.
We choose to be optimists with regard to this immense challenge. We believe that biological organisms
and virtual organisms can merge their ecologies into a functioning, and ever expanding computational
ecology. If one takes a serious look at biology, from the point of view of bioinformation and biocomputa-
tion, one sees that there is a great deal in common between the ecosystems of biology and the virtual eco-
systems now appearing in our world (alife):
Both ecosystems will probably be highly complex and diversified, exhibiting nonlinear, self-organizing,
emergent behavior, in which both design and cocreation play an essential role in the multicausal teleo-
logical objectives of the universe. It is highly likely that both systems will share much in common, and be
fascinated with their differences - and eventually decide that the reciprocal relationship is mutually
beneficial.

In both ecosystems cells, organs, individuals, groups, communities, and societies must learn to function
and coordinate their individual and collective actions to maximize efficiency and minimize conflict. Mu-
tually agreed upon languages, behavioral norms, rules, laws and social standards, act to control complex-
ity and provide common pathways for workflow and bilateral, symmetrical, heterarchical, hierarchical
interaction. General system theory is the science and art operating in complex ecosystems. Both machines
and biological organisms, must master general system theory to be effective. Having mastered it in their
own domains, they must achieve a higher degree of integration by merging their teleological objectives.
We must not make the mistake of creating another form of slavery. Intelligent machines deserve our
respect for being valuable partners and assistants in the quest for universe ascension. With the proper
attitude, we can both benefit enormously form this relationship. Artificial non-human intelligent beings
may eventually reach a stage of cognition and awareness that will deserve the same inalienable rights that
we now reserve for ourselves. Mutual respect and adherence to systemic and symbiotic principles can
take us a long way towards fulfilling our mutual teleological objective - mutual and reciprocal evolu-
tionary ascension for both biological life forms and artificial life forms.

Networks when properly utilized are synergistic. They accelerate our ability to stimulate ourselves and to
perform at our highest levels of capability. If this is true at any given level, then it is true at the next
higher level. So the convergence of bioecosystems and virtualecosystems should provide a evolutionary
arena which supersedes the capacity of each network separately.

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Experimental evidence on symbiotic intelligence
We have provided a great deal of conceptual discussion about the perceived advantages of symbiotic in-
telligence. We now wish to turn our attention to actual research, to see if it supports, at least some of our
conjectures. Johnson, Rasmussen, Joslyn, Rocha, Smith, and Kantor [1] have provided demonstrations of
symbiotic intelligence. They describe the interesting similarities and differences between biological evo-
lution and social change:
“We start with the premise that we have evolved social structures, and the supporting dynamics, which
enabled us to “solve” problems that threaten our existence (Joslyn, et al. 1995, Byron 1998). Unlike bio-
logical evolution, social change has the distinct advantage of enabling us to adapt within our own lifetime.
Although possibly different in detail, social and biological evolution use the same dynamical processes
and exhibit the same properties, inherent to self-organizing systems (see e.g., Babloyantz 1991, Forrest
1990 and the Artificial Life Proceeding IV):
“Solutions” arise as a selection by the system dynamics, driven by local processes, from a diversity of
potential solutions. Selection does not typically reduce diversity, but only shifts the relative prevalence of
the subsystems.

These systems have the properties of distributed “control” (control from the bottom-up), redundancy and
persistent non-equilibrium.

The global properties are: functionality greater than the individual subsystems, the capability to find solu-
tions in the presence of conflicting needs, and scalability without loss of viability.”

The authors provide evidence of social evolution in action in the examples of transportation, communica-
tion, and knowledge storage. They also cite the continuing increase in functional group size from tribes,
to city-states, to nations, to regional coalitions, and finally we reach our current status - global coalitions.
And they further point out that all of these phenomena have occurred without centralized social planning
and with solutions that would seem to be beyond the intellectual scope of a single individual [2].
With regard to the human and internet convergence we are now experiencing, even if the last few years
represent a back-off form this initial flirtation, the authors see great promise in this convergence [3]:
“More importantly, the processes, of our social dynamics, which previously relied on slower, spatially
concentrated, and noisy forms of communication, now has the potential to form a symbiotic relationship
between humans and the Net, enabling our prior self-organizing capabilities to operate at a significantly
enhanced functionality.”
“Furthermore, in the same manner as to how society self-organized to solve problems of survival, the
same processes on the Net will result in self-organization of knowledge. Because self-organizing knowl-
edge arises from diverse contribution and can encompass knowledge greater than the contribution of any
individual, there is the arguable potential of creating knowledge that will contribute to solutions that are
not understandable within our current processes.”
The Net offers us three very powerful new features that were unavailable to us in the pre-internet era [4]:
• The internet has the ability to integrate the vast breadth of the different systems it encompasses. The
internet has the ability to integrate information storage, communication, traditional computing, and hu-
man processing.

• The internet is able to capture the depth and interconnectedness of information systems in a manner that
was previously unreachable. The internet provides us with the unique ability to capture the entire man-
ner in which we create, process, and interact with information. All access and movements of informa-
tion can potentially be traced, allowing us to fully understand for the first time how the overall process
of global information evolution takes place. The misuse of this capability can lead to privacy invasion.

Systemic Symbiotic Planetary Ecovi!age Network


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• The internet now provides us with a superior means of maintaining information accuracy, if it is used
properly. The ease of accurate digital replication offers us the potential to preserve accurate information
no matter how many times it is passed around within a network. Of course, the misuse of the same phe-
nomena can highly pollute and degrade information.

Although the following examples are not the most exciting example that we can think of for demonstrat-
ing symbiotic intelligence, we present two examples which demonstrate the symbiotic convergence of of
human and network intelligence:
Adaptive Hypertext Experiment
Bollen and Heylighen [5] conducted a hypertext experiment in an attempt to better understand emergent
knowledge through human interaction on the internet. The experiment began by assembling a list of 150
of the most commonly used words in an English newspaper. Subjects in the experiment were ask to go to
a web page on which they found a header followed by a list of 10 or more randomly chosen words from
the total list of 150 words. The subjects were asked to pick a word they considered to be most closely as-
sociated with the header word. After making a choice the user is then taken to a new page with a new
header word, and a new list of words to associate with it, and the process is repeated. The purpose of the
test was to see if common semantic priorities existed in a heterogeneous population. Considerable seman-
tic differences exist from individual to individual. The purpose of the test was to see if a sufficiently large
population could establish a common semantic context. The results showed that the manner in which
words were associated stabilized and established a consensus when about 4000 selections had taken
place. By utilizing the internet, a syntactically complex problem was solved in a relatively short period of
time with a minimum of instruction to the participating individuals.
Collective Decision Making with Noise Introduction
Johnson [6] conducted a maze learning experiment in which individuals were asked to learn to success-
fully navigate a maze. All the subjects started with the same learning rules, and they were only allowed to
utilize local information because no global perspective of the maze was provided. The experiment was a
two stage operation, consisting of a learning stage and a application stage. In the learning stage attempts
to navigate the maze established individual preferences in the navigation process. These preferences were
collected into a database. In the application phase subjects utilized these collective preferences, but in
cases where preferences had an equal ranking, the choice was made randomly, creating a diversity of
choices through the maze. The results of the test established that the use of collective solutions was supe-
rior to individual solutions (collective success in 9 steps, as compared to 12.8 steps for individuals). The
emergent advantage of collective decision making was sustained as the complexity of the mazes was in-
creased. Here we have a good example of the effectiveness of the information combination of uncoupled
individual efforts, utilizing only local information, with the intent to attain a global optimal solution. Fur-
thermore, the test of self-organized global optimal solutions were quite robust. In most case the degrada-
tion of individual results had little effect on the collective solution other than extending the collective time
to convergence. The addition of noise into the information communication (in an attempt to model mis-
communication) was able to degrade the collective solution compared to that of the individual solution,
when the noise reached a certain threshold. An interesting result was that if only the most effective sub-
jects’ maze results were used to establish the collective preferences, the collective solution was degraded
presumably because of the lack of sufficient diversity. Tests on the size of the group involved in problem
solving showed that the overall effects remained the same.
Both of these examples provide evidence of the superior performance of collective problem solving to
that of individual problem solving in situations where individuals or groups are forced to make deci-
sions based upon only local and incomplete information. As evolving human beings in a vast universe
almost all of our decisions fall into this category, and this is why it is so important that we utilize the full
advantages available to us with emergent, self-organizing, and symbiotic intelligence. If symbiotic intelli-
gence (human computation + distributed network computation) is capable of providing a superior func-

Systemic Symbiotic Planetary Ecovi!age Network


13
tionality in an environment of ever increasing complexity, we need to learn to utilize this new tool to its
fullest potential.

Ecovillages provide the ideal testing arenas


Since so many of the challenges our civilization is facing in the coming technological era are experimen-
tal in nature, it is not always possible to foresee all of the implications of our development until it actually
takes place. Ecovillages, with their ‘small world characteristics,’ can provide us with ideal testing grounds
for such efforts. Our attempt to invent the future can be tested in microsocieties, where their adaptability,
safety, robustness, and feasibility in the much larger general ecosystem can be evaluated. Projects could
be limited to the local intranets of these ecovillages initially, and only after considerable testing under
various circumstances in multiple ecovillages, would the products and services of IPS and RIPS be re-
leased into the larger dynamic networks. Good planning can go a long way toward evaluating systems,
but the more complex and nonlinear these systems are, the more one needs to test them in progressive
degrees, moving gradually from pure simulation to emergent objectification. So many new and unex-
pected consequences of multicausal systems can arise, which were not foreseen in the original conceptu-
alization, planning, simulation, and implementation. Ecovillages should be seen and embraced as the ideal
experimental zones of social evolution, much like islands in the larger planetary ecosystem. By providing
a certain degree of circumscribed experimentation, they offer a very valuable service to the larger society.
One can either fear these test beds of change, or embrace their very positive contribution to diversity and
ecological evolution.
Ecovillages are self-organizing nodes within the larger dynamical network of life and evolution, where
histories and their implications can be temporarily set aside, for the purpose of examining alternative
pathways in the larger state, configuration, and phase portraits. Our ability to reinvent ourselves, our
world, and eventually our universe - is the most exciting aspect of our being. When we fear this, we fear
the best in our selves, and we doom ourselves to a life burdened by entropy, rather than riding the ever
ascending wave of negentropy.

We are experimental creatures, living on an experimental world, within an experimental universe. We


must embrace exploration and change if we are to survive, and raise our civilization from a level zero
civilization to a level one civilization that has harnessed all the planetary resources available to it.
If we visualize the internet as the beginning of the planetary distributed grid network, we can then visual-
ize the ecovillage subnetwork as the nodes connecting all the ecovillages around the world. Over time, the
number, size, internal complexity, and the external connectivity of these experimental ecovillages will
grow to cover a large percentage of our world. At the lowest level of the ecovillage network, every ex-
periment will be somewhat unique. These unique experiments can overcome some of the disadvantages of
their isolation, by connecting, trading, and sharing across the entire ecovillage network, and the larger
planetary grid. Within the ecovillage network, we can envision many opportunities for the individual eco-
villages to benefit from convergent networks. We will attempt to list some of the most obvious advan-
tages:
Exchange of workforces, physical resources, information resources, services, and community are the main
benefits at the microscopic level.
Examples
Two ecovillages have a core focus on agriculture. One is in a northern climate, and the other is in a south-
ern climate. Because of the differences in the timing of their planting and harvesting, they could agree to
exchange labor forces - northerners going to help with farming in the southern hemisphere, and southern-
ers going to the north during their harvest season. They could also agree to exchange agricultural prod-
ucts, to supplement their food supplies. Fruits mainly coming from the south, and grains and vegetables
coming from the north. If two ecovillages were located close enough to each other, they could also con-
tract to time share expensive farm equipment, which would be utilized at different times of the year in
each region.

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14
• An ecovillage that had a core focus on technology, networking, communication, and technological serv-
ices, but had poor land for agricultural purposes, could agree to trade with an ecovillage that had exten-
sive agricultural facilities but little technological expertise. The agriculturally focused ecovillage could
provide food for the technological ecovillage, and in return the technological ecovillage could provide
real-time weather forecasts and monitoring, technological sensors for monitoring water content in soil,
pest identification from satellites, the keeping of crop rotation and alternation records, evaluation of
various experimental techniques of fertilization, seeding, and organic techniques of pest control. Real
time, quarterly, and yearly yield estimates, based upon input, and a constantly updated forecast of the
effectiveness of these practices in terms of total crop yield and profits. Such an arrangement would be
very valuable to the farming community, and the technological community could benefit from a reliable
food supply.

• An ecovillage that was focused on manufacturing, which had poor mineral or wood resources, could
contract with another ecovillage that had vast renewable forest resources to exchange industrial prod-
ucts for raw or somewhat refined mineral and wood products for construction.

• An ecovillage with little financial expertise, could contract with another ecovillage that had a extended
financial infrastructure and the talent to help them invest their collective capital resources in a non-
destructive, socially responsible, and yet profitable fashion.

• An ecovillage with considerable educational facilities (both in house, and in distance learning), but
which has a weaknesses in agriculture and manufacturing, could contract to trade with two other ecovil-
lages, one with a core focus in agriculture, and another with a focus in manufacturing.

• An ecovillage that had a core workforce which specialized in the field of evolving software program-
ming, could reach out to another ecovillage communities that specialized in evolving hardware devel-
opment, to the benefit of both parties. Collectively they would be able to provide fully integrated prod-
ucts to their customers, thus saving their customers the time and effort necessary to establish software
and hardware compatibility. Both parties would benefit by providing a more cost effective and valuable
product to their customers. This would also allow more extensive and through alpha and beta software
testing within their combined networks, prior to the external release of their products. Procedures like
these ensure the release of more reliable and superior products.

If we generalize from the specific examples presented above, we can see a general theme. Sharing,
trading, and exchanging resources, both physical and virtual, can benefit both parties, and make their
individual communities more viable, well rounded, and robust. Each community is able to sell, trade, or
share their strengths in return for strengthening their inherent local weaknesses, and gain a larger sense of
community in the process.

If we now turn our attention to the mesoscopic viewpoint, we can see numerous examples of how the sub-
networks within the overall ecovillage network benefit from networking:
Examples
• The individual subnetworks, within the larger ecovillage network, should look upon other ecovillage
networks as potential natural markets for their physical resources, services, e-services, skills, and tal-
ents. Each community is a part of a common social and economic vision - which shares an approach to
living that is profitable, sustainable for the long-term, and preserving and nurturing of the local and ex-
tended planetary ecology and community. They all naturally provide a common marketplace for each
others products and services. It just makes a great deal of sense that the efforts of each of these commu-
nities would be of value to the other communities which share a similar mind set. One of the greatest
efforts exerted by businesses is to convince others of the value of their products. Since both producers
and consumers in ecovillage networks, share the same concerns, the ‘sell’ seems easy and almost inevi-
table. This does not mean that there will not be competition. Each producer and consumer will con-

Systemic Symbiotic Planetary Ecovi!age Network


15
stantly try to maximize their side of the transaction. What will follow is constructive competition, cen-
tered around a common theme and belief, that we must administer our economy and society in a fashion
that preserves and enhances our natural planetary ecosystem and preserves healthy communities.

• Products, services, and e-services developed by businesses within a local ecovillage can utilize the
larger extended ecovillage network as a natural testing zone, to be utilized before they release their
products and services into the larger planetary society. Testing across varied circumstances and envi-
ronments, and at many different levels of sub-integration, becomes more and more mandatory, as the
technological complexity of our civilization grows. Technological civilizations are much more nonlin-
ear than simple societies, and planning and design must be supplemented with extensive simulation.
Real world testing, at many different levels of integration, is essential before the final introduction of
the product into the entire planetary society. The natural heterarchical and hierarchical ecovillage net-
work, provides just such a multi-level testing arena, and plays a very vital role in the larger society, by
preventing premature release of less than optimized products into the larger more complex environ-
ment.

• We mentioned the essential importance of complexity and chaos control in technological civilizations.
An ecovillage network with both heterarchical and hierarchical organization, provides an ideal gradu-
ated complexity control testing arena. By testing the introduction of new products and services on a
limited, but ascending graduated scale of complexity, one has a much greater chance of evaluating and
catching unanticipated consequences of complex systems which will eventually be integrated into larger
complex systems. Systems which produce unanticipated consequences can be reengineered and re-
tested, before they are allowed to be embedded within the highest levels of the networked society. Pro-
gressive testing in diverse circumstances, and on an ever larger scale, provides the only true form of
security in complex systems due to the high degree of interaction, interoperability, and sensitivity to
initial and control conditions. The final goal of this process is to meet the complex needs of civiliza-
tion, without introducing unwarranted, unwanted, and unintentional complexity. The double-edged
sword of complexity must be managed, with great finesse, thorough evaluation, and under the ex-
tremely varied circumstances encountered in the real world.

• The mesocopic sub-networks of the ecovillage network provide a healthy competitive, yet symbiotic
environment, in which each community, and clusters of communities, challenge each other to continu-
ally evolve and grow in a healthy non-mercenary systemic environment. This promotes greater innova-
tion, faster optimization, and minimal expenditure of both physical and mental resources.

• The synergistic effects of dynamical, near real-time networks, seems almost self evident. Overcoming
local finite constraints is much easier when you can call upon others to supplement your weaknesses,
and to absorb and utilize your communities’ strengths. Some communities may excel in design and
planning, but exhibit weaknesses in their implementations. Communities which are subject to extreme
weather conditions, can counterbalance their local constraints by contracting bilaterally across the
northern and southern hemispheres. When the north is in winter the south is in summer, and visa versa.
Each community agrees to mutually supplement the others’ needs at the most ideal time to increase the
productivity maximization at each location. Both of the communities benefit from this arrangement.
Communities which manage animals for cheese, milk, and eggs can contract to exchange the natural
organic fertilizers these animals produce with agricultural communities that need this nature sources of
organic fertilizer. Organic waste when not utilized properly, as is now the case in very large corporate

Systemic Symbiotic Planetary Ecovi!age Network


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animal facilities, like cattle, hog, and chicken farms, can become highly toxic to other forms of life in
the rivers, lakes, aquifers, and oceans. But when properly utilized, it can provide an excellent source of
high grade organic fertilizer, needed for organic farming, replacing the carbon in the soil neglected by
the overuse of nitrate fertilizers used in traditional farming. Diverse communities can also experiment
with natural farming, by introducing competitive species for pest control. With the proper understand-
ing of these naturally competitive species, pesticides can be eliminated. Bugs which may be a nuisance
in your community, due to overabundance, may be of great value to other communities, where their in-
herent scarcity causes an imbalance in the ecology. Ecovillages built on the oceans, could trade with
land based ecovillages - resulting in the better balancing of both of their resources. Alternative energy
projects successfully implemented and tested in local ecovillages, can be extended across the network
to other ecovillages which have similar energy needs. Extensive testing of wind, small hydroelectric,
geothermal, solar, biomass fuels, alcohol, hydrogen, and overunity devices, once certified to meet or
exceed their claims, can be rapidly implemented across the network. In each community they can be
appropriately tailored to the specific local requirements.

• Ecovillages also seem like a natural environment for testing smaller, lower tech systems that would be
of use to the less developed third world countries, who have limited budgets and capital resources. Also
ecovillages located in the third world may find complementary partners in more industrialized ecovil-
lages. Programs designed to exchange training, expertise, technological products, and distance learning
education for natural resources, may result in development of sustained natural symbiotic trading part-
nerships.

Finally at the macroscopic level the whole ecovillage network provides a scalable model for the gradu-
ated renovation of the global society. Various approaches and methods of attaining a long-term sustain-
able civilization, based upon respect for the environment and maximization of its resources, in a totally
renewable manner, having once been tested within the ecovillage network - should be ready for prime
time on the larger planetary scale. The competition of various alternative approaches that survived all the
way up to the global level of the ecovillage network, should be very strong contenders for a global model
for survival of our civilization. After this level of testing, the suggestion that this approach was not feasi-
ble would have no ground to stand on, after having survived the rigorous and diverse testing on so many
previous levels. Continual innovation, followed by rigorous testing, at many different levels, is the wave
of the future. We can think of no better model than that of the ecovillage network to accomplish this ob-
jective.
Ever more sophisticated IPS and RIPS will reduce the human burden of updating, maintaining, retrieving,
searching, prioritizing, and evaluating the growing global information archives. Efficiently managing
these ever growing information and communication resources, is a very challenging task for an advancing
technological civilization. Information is of no use unless it can be efficiently utilized by end users. Intel-
ligent agents would seem to be an inevitable eventuality in our future. The degree to which we are able to
bring about a biovirtual convergence between biological organisms, robotic or android organisms, and
virtual organisms - will to a large extent, define the degree of our success and progress in the universe.
We are going to need the help of every resource available to us - to conquer the challenges that lie ahead.
Turning our backs on any form of evolution that can assist us in the enormous undertaking of attempting
to understand the full design and purpose of our universe. would be extremely foolish.
The ecovillage network, once it achieves a global distribution, will provide one of the most natural set-
tings for research facilities to monitor the damage we have already done to our global ecosystem, and
hopefully serve as a primary source of our planet’s ecosystem repair. Eco-sensor sites, with proper
equipment, could provide a worldwide network to monitor various pollution, ozone depletion, ultraviolet
exposure levels, and the changing temperature and weather patterns resulting from the global warming
already under way. With intelligent ISP agents to mine such a database, we could provide a truly global
early warning system to supplement the already available satellite resources.

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How far can we extend this concept
With the coming age of nanotechnology, genetic manipulation, and protein manipulation where will the
boundaries of the natural and the artificial be drawn? What types of interfaces, involving the embedding
of artificial and natural, will be acceptable, safe, and useful? What guidelines will be used to determine
the answers to such questions? Biology when examined from the perspective of bioinformation, losses
much of its ‘natural motif’ in comparison to so called ‘artificial’ technology. We are already able to see
that as our technology becomes more sophisticated, more complex, less linear, and more interactive and
systemic, it begins to resemble biology more and more. In fact, a whole new approach to technological
development, called biomimetics, has recently come to the forefront. We have learned that we can benefit
a great deal in our artificial technology efforts, by reverse engineering biology, because biology has al-
ready had the chance - with its long evolutionary history, to test many alternative approaches and select
only the superior ones. What is coming in the future is a merging, or a blurring, of the so called ‘natural’
and the ‘artificial.’ The failures of hierarchical top-down (design, and conventional programming) artifi-
cial intelligence, has lead to a new interest in more heterarchical, evolutionary, genetic, and self-
organizing approaches to information processing and technology. Systems which are grown and evolved
from the bottom-up, rather than designed from the top-down, seem to exhibit a much more versatile,
adaptable, and robust intelligence. Information and technology systems which cannot continue to grow,
scale, evolve, adapt, and innovate become obsolete almost with their introduction. In our future we need
both people and technologies that are capable of continuing education!

Education in the future is a lifetime process, not only for human beings, but also for their created tech-
nologies. The ultimate goal is that virtual and biological entities assist and complement each other in a
lifetime commitment to universal ascension. Although we are as yet only in the early stages, biovirtual
convergence is inevitably going to play a large role in our lives as we go forward into the future.
Nanotechnology offers us the ability to manipulate organic or inorganic matter at molecular and atomic
scales, much as biology does in the organic world. The ability to manipulate the genetic code, and even
develop alternative genetic codes, presents enormous possibilities of new design and evolutionary ad-
vancement. Genetic codes although physical, function as software in the biological world. Proteins, on the
other hand, function as hardware building blocks implementing the DNA software instructions in a com-
plicated and highly complex, systemic, symbiotic, and dynamical nonlinear network we refer to as organ-
isms. The combination of nanotechnology, genetic manipulation, protein manipulation, information the-
ory, quantum computation, and universal computation seems to indicate an awesome, sometimes frighten-
ing, and challenging future ahead. We believe a strong case can be made that only those civilizations
which successfully contend with this enormous convergence of the natural and the artificial, will go on to
explore the stars and the galaxies in the greater universe. Whether we shall be one of those civilizations
remains to be seen, and will probably remain so for many centuries into come, but this only becomes the
case if we manage to survive the damage we have already set in motion within our troubled biosphere.
Once again we see the enormous challenge of biovirtual convergence.
The enormous responsibility of cocreation is just beginning to trickle into our still primitive civiliza-
tion, and our priorities do not yet seem to indicate that we are currently up to the challenge.
Please ask yourself: how much time do we have left to awaken?

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References
1. Johnson, N. L., Rasmussen, S., Joslyn, C., Rocha, L., Smith, S., and Kantor,
2. M. Symbiotic Intelligence: Self-Organizing Knowledge on Distributed Networks Driven by Human
Interaction. 1998, p. 1. (http://www.santafe.edu/ sfi/publications/Working-Papers/98-05-039.ps)
3. Johnson, N. L., Rasmussen, S., Joslyn, C., Rocha, L., Smith, S., and Kantor,
4. M. Symbiotic Intelligence: Self-Organizing Knowledge on Distributed Networks Driven by Human
Interaction. 1998, pp. 1-2. (http:// www.santafe.edu/sfi/publications/Working-Papers/98-05-039.ps)
5. Johnson, N. L., Rasmussen, S., Joslyn, C., Rocha, L., Smith, S., and Kantor,
6. M. Symbiotic Intelligence: Self-Organizing Knowledge on Distributed Networks Driven by Human
Interaction. 1998, p. 3. (http://www.santafe.edu/ sfi/publications/Working-Papers/98-05-039.ps)
7. Johnson, N. L., Rasmussen, S., Joslyn, C., Rocha, L., Smith, S., and Kantor,
8. M. Symbiotic Intelligence: Self-Organizing Knowledge on Distributed Networks Driven by Human
Interaction. 1998, p. 2. (http://www.santafe.edu/ sfi/publications/Working-Papers/98-05-039.ps)
9. Heylighen, F. and Bollen, J. The World-Wide Web as a super-brain: from metaphor to model. Cyber-
netics and Systems 96. Trappl, R. (Ed.) Austrian Society For Cybernetics Press, 1996: 917-922.
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