Matt Blumberg, Society of Minds – a framework for distributed thinking

GridRepublic, trying to raise awareness of volunteer computing. Provide people with a list of BOINC projects, can manage all your projects in one website.

Progress Thru Processors, trying to reach people in Facebook. Join up, one click process, projects post updates to hopefully reach volunteers’ friends.

Distributed thinking – what can be done if you draw on the intellectual resources of your network instead of just CPUs. How would you have to organise to make use of available cognition.

What is thinking? Marvin Minksky, The Society of Mind, “minds are built from mindless stuff’. Thinking is made up of small processes called agents, intelligence is an emergent quality. Put those agents into a structure in order to get something useful out of them.

Set of primitives

  • Pattern matching/difference identification
  • Categorising/Tagging/Naming
  • Sorting
  • Remembering
  • Observing
  • Questioning
  • Simulating/Predicting
  • Optimising
  • Making analogies
  • Acquiring new processes

Another way of thinking about it, linked stochastic processes, try stuff randomly, then explore those approaches that seem to be giving better results.