|What is it?
Distilled from parallel
developments during the transition to the industrial age, the winning strategy
today is to --
Concede to electronic
intelligence the functions it does best, and get better at the special kind of
mentality that sets humans apart.
This unique human mentality
may be called "metamind" or "meta-consciousness" and it includes
meta-conscious modes of creativity, intentionality, choice, and social interaction.
|Just what is
"Meta" means "over"
or "above," and metamind or meta-consciousness is simply thinking how
to think instead of just thinking. It also includes noticing and channeling our
feelings instead of letting them take the reins and drive us as they will.
When we're in the "meta"
mode we get a step above our thoughts, perceptions and feelings. We consciously
experience the fact that we're experiencing, thereby gaining control over the
mentality that determines our actions, which in turn produce consequences. Mature
metamind is fully-developed self-consciousness, bordering on a wider state that
might be called "universal consciousness."
|Why hone metamind
The urgent need to enhance
metamind needs a bit of explaining, for meta-consciousness may seem abstract and
unrelated to everyday activities. The need for immediate leveraging and enhancement
of metamind also requires a look at the history of the past hundred years or so.
During the rise of the industrial
age, our muscle power got augmented and replaced by machinery.
Now, during the infancy
of the information age, our mental powers are being augmented and replaced.
This has serious implications for organizations and people in all industries,
occupations and walks of life.
Electronic technology is
rapidly taking over industrial-age tasks -- not just blue-colar ones but those
performed by office workers, managers, professional people, teachers, doctors,
researchers, just about everyone.
shift displaced many people and disrupted many organizations as well as society
as a whole. In the end, we came out okay; we did it by shifting from muscle-based
work and muscle-dominated lifestyles to knowhow-based work and knowledge-dominated
lifestyles. This shift was an excellent coping strategy for those who implemented
it intentionally and aggressively. The "early-adopters" did very well,
becomming the new affluent middle class, wealthy industrialists, and privileged
professionals. Others suffered severe dislocation and the pain of involuntary
|What's the right
"shift" for the information age?
Looking back at the successful
shift during the industrial age, the question naturally arises, "What kind
of shift do we need to make now to profit from today's sea change?"
How can we avoid being
swamped and instead positively adjust to, positively manage, and profit from the
transferrence of mental functions into electronics?
The old stratery won't
work now; we can't shift to different knowledge-based work -- even work that involves
high-level scientific or scholarly knowledge.
Knowledge or knowhow is
the very thing that's now being transferred into our new electronic creations
-- from smart networks and systems to facile microchips implanted in devices everywhere.
What's there to shift to
-- as individuals or as companies, institutions, or governmental bodies? First
our muscles were augmented and replaced; now our minds are being augmented and
replaced. That leaves zero left. Right?
Wrong. There's something
left. And we can and must shift to it. That something is to be found in a comparison
of what humans inherently do best versus what electronic systems inherently do
best (at least for the next few decades).
|How we outshine
What, exactly, are we best
at, and where to our creations leave us in the dust?
self-aware, self-controlled --
- Perception & action
or motor activity
- Love & other emotions
- Logical activities:
- Goal & priority setting
- Creativity & imagination
- Decision making
- Planning & execution
- Hypothesizing & cause
- Social skills including
ethics & responsibility
or functions conceived by humans --
- Number crunching and routine
- Mass storage and retrieval
- Remote sensing & control
- Structured or routine decision
- Control of repetitive processes
- Simple or labor-intensive
NOTE: Through artitificial
intelligence or A.I., computers are beginning to assume complex cognitive and
even "creative" tasks. However, A.I. is not even close to achieving
simple consciousness let alone the self-aware meta-consciousness that gives rise
to insight and inspiration, qualitative priority setting, caring, responsibility
-- all that makes humans human.
Too often technologists
and business people confuse logical intelligence with humanity.
We're more than wet calculators.
Our uniqueness is found in our aliveness, and our aliveness comes from meta-consciousness.
The possibility of creating
"human," self-aware devices is not being disputed here. Electronic consciousness
and meta-consciousness may be possible or even inevitable. Pouring massive resources
into A.I. projects with this focus, however, only makes sense for humans wishing
to replace most other humans.
The mind-extension strategy
is quite simple. It's also quite sensible for all employers, policy makers, and
innovators who wish to create an information age worth living in.
Knowhow is going into electronic
systems and going there fast, and it's a permanent one-way flow. The key is not
to fight the flow but to let it gush. The mistake is to assume, through knee-jerk
management and employment policies, that all people are good for, beyond their
muscle power, is their knowhow.
Increasingly, the winning
economies, companies, and public institutions will be those that act on this critical
People are good for something
other than knowledge, experience or skills (knowhow). They are good for mental
qualities and functions that electronic systems cannot at present begin to challenge.
The winning organizations
will develop policies and programs that implement this insight. The over-arching
strategy will be twofold:
- Keep transferring knowhow
tasks into electronics including complex A.I. systems, but draw the line at human
replacement. Human replacement is already starting to backfire in the form of
employee unrest and disloyalty, customer dissatisfaction, unethical management,
and social aberations ranging from addiction to terrorism.
- Pour massive resources
into creating organizations, jobs, products, and services based on meta-conscious
realities. Also pour resources into the of honing human meta-consciousness for
the new more human forms of employment and consumer behavior. Get with the information-age
program. Move everything into the next "higher" realm of work and life,
the realm above the knowhow realm.
exactly, is there to leverage and strengthen? What are the elements of metamind?
2001 EraNova Institute