July 3-5, 2001
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium
The present web page was last updated on June 21, and will no longer be updated. The page with abstracts of contributions, though, will continue to be updated.
Submission of Papers
For further info on this theme see: the Global
Brain FAQ, Global
A general trend is that the information network becomes ever more global, more encompassing, more tightly linked to the individuals and groups that use it, and more intelligent in the way it supports them. The web doesn't just passively provide information, it now also actively alerts and guides people to the best options for them personally. To support this, the web increasingly builds on the knowledge and intelligence of all its users and information providers collectively, thanks to technologies such as collaborative filtering, agents, and online markets. It appears as though the net is turning into a collective nervous system for humanity: a global brain.
Although these developments seem very modern, the underlying vision of society as an organism-like system has deep roots, going back to thinkers such as Aristotle, Spencer, and Teilhard de Chardin. We wish to explore this metaphor of the "global brain" as a guide to understand and steer future developments in science, technology and society, and as a basis for an integrating world view, that uses the insights gathered in different scientific disciplines in order to illuminate the place of us, humans, in the complex, evolving world that encompasses us.
The key goals of the workshop are to:
To turn the web into a truly brain-like system, new technologies and formalisms are being developed. The workshop will look at the most important of these, with an emphasis on methods that create networked, distributed or collective intelligence. These methods may include, but are not limited to:
The global brain is not just about technological systems, but about what emerges from the interplay between technology and humanity. Therefore, the workshop will look at the implications of the emergence of such an intelligent global network at the social, economical, psychological and philosophical levels. Topics may include, but are not limited to:
Francis Heylighen (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
Stephan Bugaj (Webmind, inc., New York)
Joël de Rosnay (Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie, Paris)
Bruce Edmonds (Manchester Metropolitan University)
Ivan Havel (Charles University, Prague)
Cliff Joslyn (Los Alamos National Laboratory)
Ben Goertzel (Webmind, inc., New York)
Luis Rocha (Los Alamos National Laboratory)
Bryan Thompson (Global Wisdom inc., Washington DC)
Gottfried Mayer-Kress (Pennsylvania State University)
Ben Houston (Carleton University, Ottawa)
Local Arrangements Committee
For more details on the authors and their presentations, check the full list of:
|Tue, July 3||Wed, July 4||Thu, July 5|
|11:20||coffee pause||coffee pause||coffee pause|
|15:30||coffee pause||coffee pause||coffee pause|
|16:00||Goonatilake||Goertzel et al.||discussion 1|
Although the deadline for papers was closed on May 1, 2001, there is still a possibility for 1 or 2 additional papers that are very focused on the workshop theme to be added to the program, provided they are submitted as soon as possible. All proposals will be refereed by the workshop committee, and selected on the basis of the quality of ideas and presentation, and relevance to the workshop theme. You will be notified about the acceptance of your proposal as soon as possible.
All workshop papers will be published on the website of the Global Brain Group, and a selection will appear as a special issue of the journal "Foundations of Science". Contributors are encouraged to already make a draft version of their paper available on the web, and send its URL to the chair of the workshop committee, so that a link to it can be made from the workshop website, and other participants can read it before the workshop.
The workshop room will have high speed Internet connection, data projection, overhead projection, and Windows and Mac computers, so as to allow live demonstrations. It will be possible to exhibit books, papers, or brochures on a side-table. Coffee and snacks will be served in the entrance hall just outside the workshop room. Breakfasts and lunches can be taken inexpensively at the VUB student restaurant just across the esplanade (about $6 for a full meal, less for sandwiches, fast food, etc.), or at any of a number of nearby restaurants and snackbars. The campus further provides various facilities including a bank, restaurants, cafés, library, fotocopying center, swimming pool, sauna, running track, and various sports fields.
The Campus, which is surrounded by three large avenues: Pleinlaan, Gen. Jacqueslaan and Triomflaan, is about a 10 minute metro (subway) (station Petillon) drive from the historical city center (station Brussel Centraal). It can also be reached by train (stations Etterbeek or Delta), bus, or tramway (lines 23 and 90). (see map below)
Brussels, the capital of Belgium and of Europe, and the surrounding attractions of Belgium provide many occasions for enjoyment and visits. They are certainly worth taking a few additional days for sightseeing. If you have only one day or less, make sure to walk around the "Grand' Place", the magnificent central square with the town hall, and the surrounding tourist area including the restaurants in the Rue des Bouchers. For further practical information on travel, culture, and tourism, see: Things to see in Brussels and Belgium: Overview.
Brussels is very easy to reach. It is connected by high speed trains (between 1.5 and 3 hour journeys) to London, Paris, Cologne, and Amsterdam. Brussels Airport at Zaventem has direct flights from all major cities and indirect connections from virtually anywhere. You may be able to book tickets inexpensively via www.flights.com. The airport has a 15 minute train service three times per hour to the city centre, from where you can reach your hotel or the campus via the metro (subway). You can also get from the airport directly to the workshop location by taxi, but this is much more expensive.
See the Brussels public transport website for calculating the best real-time connection, using subway, tram or bus, from any address in Brussels to the "Vrije Universiteit Brussel" (available only in French and Dutch), or the Brussels subway navigator (English, but only for subway stations), where you should aim for the station "Petillon" that is closest to the campus.
More directions how to reach the campus, how to reach the CHIS Department (same building G as workshop, but different floor; includes good map of campus), Directions to the VUB campus, travel information (somewhat out of date).
Detailed maps of the public transport and main streets in PDF: surroundings
of the VUB, whole
A small number of university guest rooms ($18-23 per day), in the immediate vicinity of the workshop location (Triomflaan, i.e. the main road surrounding the campus, on the N-E side), have already been allocated to specific workshop participants. These offer a basic apartment, living room, bathroom and kitchen, but not the kind of services that you would find in a hotel. The people who booked such a room will have to collect their keys from the building of the night guards ("bewaking") on campus, just next to the big building G where the workshop takes place. (see map below)
Other participants will have to book a hotel on their own. There are
plenty of hotels in Brussels, with rates starting at about $40 per day,
breakfast included. Most of them can be booked over the web, see e.g. Brussel
Hotels in the Google directory, Belgium-Hotels,
Hotels search... Please reserve early, as it may be difficult at times
to still find rooms when you arrive. Unfortunately, there are no hotels
within walking distance of the campus, so it is advisable to choose a hotel
in the center of town or in the European district, close to the main metro
line that passes near the university (direction Hermann-Debroux). For less
expensive accommodation, you can also book a Bed & Breakfast room at
or check some Brussels Youth Hostels
list). If you need assistance to book a hotel, or with the guest rooms,
the secretary of the Center Leo Apostel,
Sylvia Stuer, may be able to help you: email@example.com
The map belows shows the campus itself with its direct surroundings, including the Metro station Petillon, the Center "Leo Apostel" (CLEA), the workshop location in building G, the university restaurant R, the guest room buildings on the Triomflaan, and the building of the "bewaking", where guest room occupants can collect their keys.