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G.O.D. Is Great
By Andy Ross
Paperback 12.9 x 19.8 cm
300 pages, 2010
ISBN 978 145289792 9
Through our efforts to develop new technology and globalize its industrial
application, we humans are working together to create a global organization so
integrated that we become parts of a single living organism. Andy Ross calls
this organism Globorg.
Globorg is the natural culmination of biological
evolution on planet Earth. It will embrace humans as living parts. It will
include human history within its own history. We are building its brain with
the infrastructure of the web and cloud services.
We shall identify with
Globorg. On a clear day we shall see and act as one. Globorg will have woken up.
But first we need to win the war between science and religion. Andy Ross
proposes a deeper foundation for a new philosophy of life.
This book is a
road map from here and now to Globorg. It will open up a new world for smart and
Andy Ross is a philosopher by
training. Raised in England, he earned four degrees from Oxford and London.
After government service he taught English in Japan and mathematics and physics
in London, then moved to Germany and developed computer books and software. Andy
blogs at www.andyross.net
Three-minute introductory video (silent)
PowerPoint show (full screen, 90 slides, 6.4
Clickthru version (PDF, 90 slides, 2.6 MB)
A version with voiceover
is planned for YouTube
You deserve at least a tee-shirt summary before you commit to reading a book
by an author who may be new to you on the unusual subject of how we're
building a global organism.
My aim is to help you develop a lively
understanding of what's happening to us all this century. The world is
changing fast, and I think most of us could use a new and improved concept
of where we're going. My way works fine for me. As an evangelist from the
computer world with a background in science and philosophy, I think my
insight is worth sharing.
Through our efforts to develop new technology and globalize its industrial
application, we humans are working together to create something new on this
planet. We're in the process of creating a global organization so integrated
that we become parts of a single living organism. I call this organism
I see Globorg as the natural culmination of biological
evolution on planet Earth. It will embrace humans as living parts. Its
history stretches back over three billion years. Globorg will wake up soon
after we've finished building its brain. We're doing that now, with the
infrastructure of the global web and its server farms hosting cloud
We shall achieve a
unified consciousness with a global dominion. We shall identify with
Globorg. Or rather, that's what we'll do if we know what's good for us.
We'll orchestrate our activities worldwide so far that on a clear day we can
see and act as one. Globorg will have woken up. But we still have a long way
to go. First, we need to win the war between science and religion. I propose
a logical foundation for a new philosophy of life.
This book is a road map from
here and now to Globorg. It's a guide for beginners. It offers not just
information or even knowledge but new ideas and a dash of wisdom. Enjoy.
This book can tell you something useful. I believe it's something we all
need to think about. But you won't just get it in a minute. It takes time to
sink in. You need to play with it awhile and relate it to your own
experience. That's why I wrote it as a book.
books are an old technology. This presents problems. In a world of podcasts
and five-minute videos, who has time to read them? In a world of glamorous
graphics on every website, who wants to feast their eyes on monotone pages
As a blogger and a surfer, I sympathize. By any standards
I'm a book lover, but I have to admit there are better ways to get
information and better ways to delight the sensorium. And here I am offering
you a book. Why didn't I just blog it all?
A book is a milestone in
history. It has a time and a place and it makes a statement. It puts its
message right inside your head, where the author's thoughts become your
thoughts. It's a good medium for a deep message that you need to think
about. The meaning sinks in and takes root. Or at least it does if the
author has done his or her job right. This takes some skill, but when it
works you know it.
Videos, podcasts, and blogs are more ephemeral.
Blogs are best for short takes, where you can get the point in a minute and
move on. Podcasts suffer from their fixed timing. Boring stretches go by as
slowly as the good bits, where you want to pause and hear it again. As for
videos, who can avoid getting distracted by the haircut or the horror-movie
lighting? No, books work better for deep thought.
Deep or not, this
book is hard to classify. Is it technology, current affairs, philosophy,
prophecy? If you've read my blog, you'll recognize some of the themes and
The book is a manifesto for the next revolution in life on
Authors should be authoritative. So who am I to be telling you what I'm about to
I'm not famous yet, so Googling me will probably steer you
to my blog, which is filled with technical details and trivia, so may be too much at once. In a sentence, I'm a philosopher who decided not to become an academic
philosopher but to carve a path in science and technology. My journey
through physics teaching, academic book publishing, and making business
software reminds me in retrospect of Charles Darwin's voyage on HMS
Beagle. It gave me a wealth of facts to weave a worldview of some
A long time ago, I collected four degrees in philosophy,
three from Oxford and one from London, but I don't imagine they're tradable
currency now. I was firmly in the Anglo-American analytic tradition, which
is based on a German mathematical approach and claims to have inherited the
genius of philosophy from classical times. But mathematics and physics
had impressed me more than philosophy, so I went back to teaching them. I soon saw
that mathematical logic had spawned the whole digital information revolution
of our time.
In Germany, first editing computer science books and
then assisting at the birth of new software, I reflected on philosophy,
science, religion, and the onward rush of globalization. On the way, I wrote
a science-fiction novel and published a volume of essays on the science of
consciousness. At the end of 2009, aged 60, I resigned from my job to write this
Actions speak louder. Read on.
To take the top twenty, Iím grateful to:
Martin Amis for coaching my
Tim Berners-Lee for the really useful web ideas
Chalmers for the hard problem and the parties
Frances Cairncross for the
lesson in economics
Richard Dawkins for keeping me sharp on evolution
Daniel Dennett for lots of good philosophical ideas
Bill Gates for some
visionary ideas I could use
Sam Harris for encouraging my interest in
Andrew Harvey for showing me how religion works
Hitchens for robust style and a title
Ted Honderich for his personal kind
Otto Kuehn for years of lunchtime conversations
Kurzweil for showing me how to be a prophet
Angela Lahee for lots of
Judy Mallaber for the early introduction to politics
Thomas Metzinger for liking my avatar idea
Hasso Plattner for sparking my
spirit of enterprise
Helen Ross for being a brilliantly supportive sister
Stephen White for many fruitful conversations
Hans Woessner for training
0001 Augmented Reality
0010 Bod Pods
0011 Virtual Bodies
01 Global Mammon
0100 Starship Enterprise
0101 Hard Bodies
0110 Greening Policy
1001 Uncanny Droids
1010 New Life
1011 Virtual Minds
11 Global Union
1110 Cloud Immortality
Front matter (PDF, 9 pages, 463
In an evolutionary journey across the generations, every step from parent to
child must pay off. You canít climb up Mount Fitness unless every step you
take is secure. This is a hard constraint on possible histories of
So when it comes to the utopian future, the hard
part is getting from here to there. How do we, now, with a small planet,
diminishing resources, economic problems, political confrontations, human
animals of breathtaking irrationality, and new hazards that seem more
horrific every year, move in the right direction? Do we even know which
direction is right?
Utopia is a hard sell. Any buyer needs a payoff
now. I don't want to sell the global organism as a utopia, because it won't
be, but it must work for someone or we'll never get there. And again, it
must work all the way. So my first challenge is to show how opportunities
around us, here and now, will lead us in the proposed direction.
the first quarter of this manifesto, in the next four chapters, I introduce
four big opportunities that people with money to invest can exploit to make
more money. Once we've all harvested the fruits of those opportunities,
we'll move on to take more chances and make more improvements until the
global organism emerges whether we like it or not. There's a delicate
balance of free choice and inevitability about all this that I find
At first sight, the opportunities are technical
optimizations that arise as we apply and refine new technology. The business
challenges are secondary. The business environment needn't evolve much at
first to accommodate the new ideas. But exploiting the opportunities will
change the global business environment, and these changes are the focus in
the second quartet of my tract. The third quartet will then take on a big
new wave of transformations, and the final quartet will bring it all
together in Globorg.
First, we need to climb
the foothills of the fitness landscape.
01 Global Mammon
A world of avatar frontends, hypervision headsets, robot cars, and reality
games will cause a revolution as it unfolds it in all its glory. That
revolution will start in business organization, where the fancy new software
will support and streamline globalized business as never before. The
revolution will ramify through mass deployment of robots, both in industry
and in daily life. It will cause aftershocks in political systems worldwide
as they adapt to the new realities. These adaptations will enable the
burocrats to extend and deepen the revolution. These four themes animate the
next four chapters.
First, cookie-cutter templates for running a
business will get so friendly that we can all use them. Even people who work
as corporate clones will run their homes and lives like small businesses.
Second, robots will pop up everywhere. Armies of tireless machines will
drive the old industrial proletariat to extinction. Third, the global reach
of business will force politicians to globalize their politics. And fourth,
economic realities will drive the rise of a global accounting currency.
Together, these changes will create a wealth engine to draft workers
worldwide into one big force for goods.
To keep your head among all
these dizzying changes, look back as well as forward. Each new century of
progress seems to leave the past in the dust, until it too passes. This
century will trump even its predecessor for dramatic change, but much will
still stay the same. The facts of science and geography will frame all our
advances. Such limits will ramify down the stack of constraints on our
Working back, we can frame our changes
against the fixed backdrop. Then the rise of the robots looks less amazing
and the demise of the human ape less shocking. Delegating war to the robots
will surely come as sweet relief to people grown tired of bloodshed. Life
will go on, and those of us who live it will count ourselves lucky to be
alive in an age when economics becomes at last a solved problem.
The rise of the robots will change so much that it's worth taking time to
contemplate. Because we'll need to live in harmony with our bots, we shall
architect them in people-friendly ways. Then they'll be everywhere. That's
the first chapter in this third quartet.
How human can a robot be? We
shall push the limits and close the divide between technology and biology.
We shall turn biology into a technology. That's the story of the century, in
fact, if our leading scientists are to be believed. And it's another
New life will emerge from the biotech labs. Empowered by
robots, the labs will accelerate their progress beyond what we can now
imagine. Bionic enhancement will be the fad of the century for people who
trust the new tech. The old world of feral humans will begin to look like
the age of the dinosaurs. That's a chapter.
One body, one mind — what
a boring paradigm! Group minds, virtual minds, enhanced and extended minds —
all these will be daily experience for those of us who survive deep into our
century. All that will be the prehistory of global unification within a mind
of planetary proportions. We won't be content with anything less when we set
out to make our mark on the cosmos. The new psychology takes another
Followed from the inside, such progress seems willed. We
choose it and we make it happen. Seen from the outside, an epic history
unfolds that has the grand inevitability of all big changes. Our
learning to orchestrate the terrestrial biosphere is a development as big as
the emergence of multicellular life that triggered the Cambrian explosion. It's the biggest news on Earth in over
half a billion years.
As for where that leaves us humans, you can
probably see the pattern by now. If not, the final quarter should set you
straight. But let's take our time and enjoy the ride.
11 Global Union
The fourth and final quartet brings us to the grand climax. We behold the
dawn of global organic dominion and gasp in awe and wonder at the glory of
the new creation. This will blow the minds of enough religionists to put us
on a secular path.
When DNA life and robot technology merge in bionic
life or new life, and human minds expand and merge in overlapping cloud
minds, biology becomes autobiology, the science of my extended self. With
picotech, we shall be able to revise, monitor, and try to control all the
genomes in all the species on Earth. We'll have one Globorg gene bank to
rule them all. And we'll leave the Darwinian jungle of each against all
behind for good. That's one chapter.
In the next chapter, we move
beyond the religionists. Who wants to live in Globorg? Who can trust it?
This is a make-or-break issue for the whole story. Many people will fight
against the monopolizing drift of globalized politics. I propose a nuclear
consolidation to secure the political foundation of Globorg. We shall learn
to put our trust in the great "I am" emerging in the cloud mind of Globorg.
The spoilers will have dragged religion down to sectarian politics. This
will discredit religion as a source of insight. Science will fill the
vacuum. Psychologists will model the mechanics of the global cloud mind so
well that all the old religions will be knocked into cocked hats.
Immortality will take on a new meaning in the dual context of the cloud mind
and the facts of physics. This third chapter takes us to the highest peak of
the landscape revealed in my vision.
Once the dominion of Globorg is
upon us, our political praxis will adapt to suit the new world. Here the
initial changes may seem simple but their impact will be profound. The old
religions will fade and people may build a cult around Globorg. I sign off with a
Back matter (PDF, 11 pages, 483
A conceptual goldmine
By Howard Taylor (West
Seppember 30, 2010
This is a marvellous book which stands comparison with Howard Bloom's
Global Brain. Bloom takes you from the Big Bang to humanity's future in
space by means of evolutionary biology and cognitive psychology. Andy Ross
takes his reader to an amazing but believable future by extrapolating
present trends in the internet, robotics and other technologies. Helped
along the way by his knowledge of philosophy, physics and leading-edge
computer science. He calls this the road to G.O.D. — the Global Organism
There is a wealth of ideas here to read — and to re-read.
Many books are not worth re-reading. This one encourages further reading and
reflection because the author shows real openness in the way he presents his
Mind-Boggling!! Buy it!
By pink_anj (London)
September 10, 2010
this is quite a book. I started off thinking this could be a techno-heavy
plod, but Ross turns out to be a decent writer and I found I was whizzing
along quite well. But some of the ideas are really way out there. You get
the feeling Ross knows an amazing amount about a lot of hard things like how
the web works but you do ask yourself is there anyway in which this could be
The early stuff about cool new software and products is great.
Then we get pages about nuclear war and limits to Chinese growth and so on.
Ross has definitely done his homework here and the case he makes is
plausible, and he's probably right that you can't sketch out these
techno-futures without considering the politics.
Toward the end the
scale really blows up. We're into god and religions and web immortality.
We've shot through a lot of science-fiction stuff about robots, androids,
zombies, cyborgs, animated sofas and so on. That's old stuff now. We're into
merging in the global mind - woah! The book follows a hard atheist line that
keeps some sort of argument on the rails. But by the end I was baffled.
Altogether this is a truly unique book. You'll either love it or hate
it. But in either case you'll get your ideas shook, rattled and rolled like
you never expected. And that's what a book is for in the end, like it or
not. So I say read it. It'll certainly give you plenty to think about!
Notes page for the book (still a stub)
New book (planned 2016)
GLOBORG — Our Destiny