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Social Grid Theory

February 3, 2009

Happy February to you. Word on the street is that our furry friend Puxatony Phil did in fact see his shadow yesterday, indicating that winter will stretch another six weeks longer. On the bright side, at least it means our carbon emissions haven’t pushed us over a warming tipping point, right?

Before we talk too much more about carbon, though, let’s actually talk for a bit about silicon. I mentioned in the last post that I am going to start taking the blog in some theoretical directions in order to build a Love-Revolution philosophy in real-time with each of you. Your contributions and thoughts whether through emails or blog comments are all valued and welcomed.

A few years ago, I attended a presentation in which a gentleman was explaining the huge problems that bio scientists are bumping up against. In trying to model problems like protein folding, the tremendous volume of data is overloading their computational power. In other words, the amount of information handling that is required even for relatively simple protein problems requires super-computer levels of processing power to run.

To cheat the problem, the lab started soliciting home computer users to lend some of their computer power for the greater good, and—VUALA—a virtual supercomputer was born.

Apparently this concept of linking smaller machines to achieve the processing power of greater machines has been formally dubbed “grid computing,” and has been called “the next big thing” in computing. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grid_computing)

brain-7639822The concept of uniting smaller processing centers to create a mega-processing conglomerate has wonderful implications for social dynamics: imagine social units deliberately linked together in a networks that maximally employ the intelligence of the parts to create a more powerful emergent intelligence of the group. I’m referring to this idea as a “social grid,” borrowed from the idea name for “grid computing.” According to the idea of a social grid, it is logical outcome that the microcultures that are best linked with one another socially have the highest probability for creating a higher net intelligence.

Someone recently told me about a project underway at Harvard to examine similar principles:
http://groupbrain.wjh.harvard.edu/background.html
If anyone else has links, references, or ideas to contribute to this line of thought, by all means, please share.

The way that I see it, there are great synergies between pursuing higher levels of compassion and charity in our social units, while at the same time pursuing higher levels of function and problem-solving. In other words, Love-Revolution isn’t just about feeling good about what we do; it is about doing it a whole lot better—together.

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2 Comments
  1. Martman permalink

    Great new look. And good article about grid processing with extraordinary implications for all of us real soon. I am once again directed to The Age of Spiritual Machines (1999) by Strauss and Howe that predicted so much of this last decade.

  2. I believe that blue brain with all the cosmic rays above there is definitely a social hub worth looking into.

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