Future Fossils with Michael Garfield
🫂👩🏼‍💻🔍 215 - Social Science & Collective Intelligence with Brigham Adams of Goodly Labs

🫂👩🏼‍💻🔍 215 - Social Science & Collective Intelligence with Brigham Adams of Goodly Labs

Because the problem tech needs to solve isn't "more ideas." It's "better coordination."

No transcript...

This week I speak with social scientist Nicholas Brigham Adams (Twitter, LinkedIn) about his work at Goodly Labs to create new infrastructure for collective intelligence — new systems for collective fact-checking and sense-making that can help us rise to the occasion of our inherently social, planet-scale challenges.  And the time for this work is definitely NOW.  As paths across social, economic, and ecological networks continue to shrink due to the increasing connectivity of technological systems, humankind migrates from an Earth on which most events seem impossibly distant and irrelevant to an Earth defined by nonlinear, often exponential impacts of seemingly-trivial developments anywhere on the planet.  This is the century — and the decade — in which many of us have no choice but to learn, the easy way or the hard way, the consequences of our increasing vulnerability to and power over one another.  And one of the places this is most vividly apparent is in how truths and untruths ripple at unprecedented speeds across the globe, forcing us into a new and intense cosmopolitanism.  In the 1940s, the message was “Loose lips sink ships.”  Perhaps the message for the 2020s is “Cognitive biases spread mind viruses.”

If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ve likely read my 2017 science fiction short story “An Oral History of The End of ‘Reality’”, a peek into our present-day post-truth carnival funhouse where AI-assisted forgeries demand vastly more nuanced and sophisticated methods for navigating fundamental uncertainty, far greater humility about our validity claims, and revolutionary tools for thinking together.  We have to learn to communicate the degree and dimension of our confidence and of our doubt — to learn how we can rigorously restore the trust necessary for coordination at scale — and Goodly Labs is, in my opinion, one of the most promising efforts in the world right now in this regard.  2024 is very likely to feel like the end of reality for a lot of us, and the stakes are immense:  fair presidential elections, concerted ecological action, and effective AI steering policy are all domains of existential risk in which we MUST be able to reconstruct some kind of minimally viable consensus reality.  I’d be considerably more worried for our future if I did not know that there are people like Brigham Adams and his amazing team of academics, founders, engineers, and journalists tilting their spears directly at this issue and working around the clock to help midwife that Holy Grail of communications technology:  a sane and healthy global brain.

Announcement: The Future Fossils Book Club is back! Join me for to discuss Iron John: A Book About Men by Robert Bly on Saturday 27 January and Saturday 10 February from 12p-2p MST. I’ll send Substack and Patreon supporters the link to both calls soon, and there will be a dedicated private discussion channel in the Discord server.

Mostly-Complete List of Citations:

Study: On Twitter, false news travels faster than true stories (MIT News)
LOGIN 2009 keynote: gaming in the world of 2030 by Charles Stross (transcript)
Ready Player One by Ernst Cline
The meaning of life in a world without work by Yuval Noah Harari (read at web.archive.org or 12ft.io)
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Motivated Numeracy and The Politics-ridden Brain by Stuff To Blow Your Mind (podcast)
Coming Into Being by William Irwin Thompson
Explosive Proofs of Mathematical Truths by Simon DeDeo (lecture video)
Stewardship of global collective behavior by Joseph Bak-Coleman et al. (paper)
OpenAI's anarchist science chief is a techno-spiritual culthead (Athenil)
So You Want To Be A Sorceror In The Age of Mythic Powers by Josh Schrei (podcast)
Saul Perlmutter
Occupy Movement
Jamie Joyce
Lynn Margulis
Douglas Engelbart
Alexander Beiner
Douglas Rushkoff
Steve Jobs
Stewart Brand
W. Brian Arthur
Jim Rutt
Sense8 (television series)

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Future Fossils with Michael Garfield
Join paleontologist-futurist Michael Garfield and an avalanche of amazing guests for deep but irreverent discussions at the edge of the known and knowable: on prehistory and post-humanity and deep time, non-human agency and non-duality, science fiction and self-fulfilling prophecies, complex systems and sustainability (or lack thereof), psychedelics as a form of training for proliferating futures, art and creativity as service and as inquiry. New episodes on a roughly biweekly basis. Get bonus material and support the show at patreon.com/michaelgarfield or michaelgarfield.substack.com