In a near-future science fiction novel, human intelligence evolves into a hivemind that makes people the violent cells of a collective being.
Adam Roberts inquires into the phenomenon we call "hive mind":
"Are our electronic technologies on the verge of enabling truly collective human intelligence? And if that happens, will we like the results?…
In short, [soldiers equipped with advanced electronic communications technologies] behave like a slime mold, which changes size, splits and combines, according to need, in such a way that it's hard to say whether the slime mold is one big thing or a bunch of little things. Slime molds and social insects behave with an intelligence that ought to be impossible for such apparently simple organisms, but, as Steven Johnson points out in his fascinating book Emergence, simple organisms obeying simple rules can collectively manifest astonishingly complex behavior….
New Model Army presents us with a question: What happens when human beings, not just slime molds or ants, submit themselves to collective will and become part of an immense shared intelligence? If complex behavior can simply "emerge" through the simple decisions of simple creatures, what might happen if much more complex creatures become absorbed into a collectivity?...
The first answer that science-fiction fans are likely to give is: The Borg. Which is to say, the prospect of any single human intelligence being lost in a collective mind fills us with fear. We fear that the transcending of human intelligence will also mark the transcending of human feeling, that all of our familiar and deeply-treasured ideas about what constitutes human flourishing will be simply cast aside by a superior intelligence that has other and supposedly greater concerns….
What if this is the Singularity? Not simply our machines becoming smarter than we are, but the machines we use to communicate with one another enabling our own translation to a supposedly "higher" sphere of being?"
In this article, author Alan Jacobs makes a case for the importance of cultivating wisdom and consciousness to match our technological capacities. As we grow in the strength of our technological tools and weapons, can we expand our empathy, apply the intelligence of the heart-mind, and strengthen our integrity even more?