John Clippinger – Co-founder of BioForm Labs
At a time of profound threats to the biosphere, democratic institutions and global stability, scientifically informed perspectives and policies are needed to counter conspiratorial narratives and outright distrust in science and civil discourse. While the Industrial Machine Age and Free Market Capitalism engendered an era of extraordinary material wealth for the “industrialized world”, it has also imperiled all life on the planet. Furthermore, the failure of “free markets”and industrialized democracies to effectively and equitably govern has engendered a growing nihilism and fatalistic acquiescence to authoritarianism. The nightmare of an all knowing and all seeing Machine Intelligence, as exemplified in Artificial Intelligence, especially, as seen in recent ChatGPT projects, seems to further confirm such an inevitability.
But this need not be the case. Our group, Coalition for Collective Intelligence Commons (CCIC) was recently convened at the MIT Media Lab on the premise that we are transitioning from a 17th century “abiotic” or mechanistic view of Nature and ourselves to one based upon biotic principles, that is, a physics of living things. With the convergence of computational biology, complexity sciences, neuroscience, genomics, and physics has emerged science and evidence based computational methods for reimagining our democratic and economic institutions in a manner that is in concert with Nature and human dignity. This approach has recently come together to provide a coherent framework for a scale free and domain free AI that is based on the principles of living things. Known as Active Inference, Bayesian Belief modeling and Free Energy Minimization, this work builds upon a long history of cybernetics, information, computation and complexity sciences. It is best known recently through the work of Judea Pearl and the computational neuroscientist, Karl Friston.
The purpose of the CCIC is to form an entity for researchers, scientists, ecological and democratic activists, and new “biotic” companies to ensure that such technologies do not become captured by the powerful few, but serve the global commons, the Greater Good, through science and evidence based policies, firms, and institutions that strengthen democratic and open societies.