A recent work of science-fiction, called New Model Army, by English author Adam Roberts examines what the world may look like were humans to submit their individual consciousness to a hive mind, where the aims of the collective were more important than individual concerns. While the novel is set 25 years in the future, much of the book reflects on today’s technological advances. “In short, imagine groups arising that resemble Anonymous, whose extemporaneous self-organizing projects [are equipped] with better communications and an interest, not in hacking websites, but in fighting and killing for money.”
What’s the Big Idea?
The organization of the novel’s social groups, which depend on collective intelligence, resemble the Occupy Movement in that each group “organizes itself and makes decisions collectively: no commander establishes strategy and gives orders, but instead all members of the [group] communicate with what amounts to an advanced audio form of protocol, debate their next step, and vote.” Quite contrary to Occupy’s aims, however, the novel asks if, as a result of submitting to a complex collective, our “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.”