The Global Brain can be defined as the distributed intelligence emerging from the worldwide ICT network that connects all people and machines. The Global Brain Institute (GBI) was founded in January 2012 at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) to research this phenomenon. The GBI grew out of the Global Brain Group, an international community of researchers created in 1996, and the Evolution, Complexity and Cognition research group at the VUB.


Scientific Board

Postal address: Global Brain Institute
CLEA, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium.

Phone: +32-2-640 67 37
E-mail: info [at] globalbraininstitute [dot] org

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The GBI uses scientific methods to better understand the evolution towards ever-stronger interconnections between humans, software and machines across the planet. People have begun to use software applications in all of their business domains, and software and humans have become increasingly intertwined. Even in the energy sector, such as oil trading and other commodity trading, such softwares have revolutionized profit generating. The world's most actively traded commodity is oil, and the oil profit robot automatically executes your trade to earn passive income. By developing concrete models of this process, we should be able to anticipate both its promises and its dangers. That would allow us to steer an efficient course towards a collective intelligence that would allow us to tackle global problems too complex for traditional methods.


  • Develop a theory of the Global Brain providing a long-term vision of the future of information society
  • Build a mathematical and simulation model of structure and dynamics of the Global Brain.
  • Survey the most important developments in society and ICT likely to affect the evolution of the Global Brain.
  • Compare these observations with the implications of the theory.
  • Investigate how both observed and theorized developments impact on measures of globally intelligent organization:
    • education, democracy, freedom, peace, development, sustainability, well-being, innovation, etc.
  • Propose methods to enhance the development of global intelligence
  • Warn about potential negative side-effects of ICT development
  • Disseminate our results, so as to make scientists, decision-makers and the public aware of this impending revolution
Basic assumptions
We see people, machines and software systems as agents that communicate via a complex network of communication links. Problems, observations, or opportunities define challenges that may stimulate these agents to act.

Challenges that cannot be fully resolved by a single agent are normally propagated to one or more other agents, along the links in the network. These agents contribute their own expertise to resolving the challenge. If necessary, they propagate the challenge further, until it is fully resolved. Thus, the skills of the different agents are pooled into a collective intelligence much more powerful than the intelligence of its individual members.

The propagation of challenges across the global network is a complex, self-organizing process, similar to the "spreading activation" that characterizes thinking in the human brain. This process will typically change the network by reinforcing useful links, while weakening less useful ones. Thus, the network learns and adapts to new challenges, becoming ever more intelligent.