Re: Mind machines, a badly neglected topic? (Was: Re: Mind Control,

J. Maxwell Legg (
Sun, 25 Oct 1998 14:06:49 +1300

John Clark wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> den Otter <> Wrote:
> >Imagine a machine >that you just put on your head (I'm not sure
> > how big the total device would have to be, and how much energy it
> >would need etc., but even a static version would have great marketing
> > potential) that gives you instant, safe pleasure like you've never felt
> >before. Resistance is futile -- you will be pleasured, guaranteed.
> >The ultimate form of entertainment;
> That could be the explanation of the Fermi Paradox, the reason we can't
> find any ET's. If it were possible to change your emotions to anything
> you wanted, alter modes of thought, radically change your personality, swap
> your goals as well as your philosophy of life at the drop of a hat it would
> be very dangerous. Once you change yourself you may not want to change back,
> even if your behavior became bizarre or suicidal.
> Ever want to accomplish something but been unable to because it's difficult,
> well just change your goal in life to something simple and do that;
> better yet, flood your mind with a feeling of pride and self satisfaction and
> don't bother accomplishing anything at all. Think all this is a terrible idea
> and stupid as well, no problem, just change your mind (and I do mean CHANGE
> YOUR MIND) now you think it's a wonderful idea.
> Complex mechanisms don't do well in positive feedback loops, not electronics,
> not animals, not people, not ET's and not even Jupiter brains.


"On the basis of the perceptual control theory of Powers, the market mechanism is analysed as a negative feedback loop..."


"Wealth and poverty tend to be self-reinforcing. Poor people do not have the means to get a good education, to start a business, to invest money, or do any of the other things which typically lead to high income. This vicious circle or positive feedback loop can only be broken by outside intervention, e.g. by the government providing free education, or subsidizing business start-ups."


"An even more challenging issue for further research is the cognitive development of the economic control system. The analogies with neural mechanisms of learning we proposed barely scratch the surface of this problem domain. Further inspiration may be found in some more detailed models for distributed, supra-individual learning via computer networks which we proposed earlier (Heylighen & Bollen, 1996; Bollen & Heylighen, 1996). Computer and communication technologies provide particularly effective ways to implement an efficient "nervous system" for the socio-economic organism. We already discussed the example of the computer-controlled stock exchange to illustrate the enormous gains in sensitivity that can be achieved in that way.

In addition to the software agents and learning hypertext webs discussed in our earlier papers, the software technology based on "workflow" holds particular promise. The main idea behind workflow is that tasks, belonging to a larger project, are automatically sent by the computer system to the person or group best qualified to handle them. Once a part of the job has been finished, the provisional results together with the subsequent questions are forwarded to the next one in line, and so on. For example, the manufacture of cars requires the completion of a number of subtasks, such as buying tyres, steel, plastic, etc. An automated computer system, when receiving an order for a certain amount of cars would automatically order the required amounts of tyres and other components to the suppliers that make the best offer, and continuously monitor in how far the orders are fulfilled. By comparing orders fulfilled by different producers, it might even learn which suppliers are most reliable and efficient and take this into account when making further orders.

Such technologies could make the socio-economic system much more efficient and intelligent, providing it with a real "global brain" (Heylighen & Bollen, 1996; Russell, 1996; de Rosnay, 1996; Mayer-Kress & Barczys, 1995). Further development of the control system model of the economy and the distributed cognition structure characterizing it may help us to support that development."