Re: request for new word

From: Mitchell Porter (
Date: Fri Jul 04 2003 - 20:52:49 MDT

>I need a new word: a word to denote a mind that is
>halfway between an individual mind and a society of minds.

Rather than immediately shoot off in search of neologisms and
social metaphors, I'd like to see people think concretely and
pragmatically about this first. The future is going to hold all sorts
of novel psycho-socio-computational hybrids. There will be a
nuanced vocabulary, partly derived from the technical jargon of
AI and neuroscience, for the description of these entities.
Ben's word designates a very broad class of possible beings.

Of the words suggested so far, "chorus" and "symposium"
suggest to me particular subclasses. They're both social
metaphors, and they carry connotations of particular forms
of activity: harmonizing and intellectualizing, respectively.
They are more likely to be *types* of mind-society, rather
than being truly general terms.

Then we have "mindplex". I suppose it has a chance. It
reminds me of "meme". In a final scientific theory of mind, is
there really going to be anything called a meme? "Meme"
has already been spread too thin; it denotes any sort of
repeated or replicated structure with meaning. And conversely,
it's not grounded in any of the specificities of real minds.
If we find, say, that William Calvin is right and that there are
widely replicated representations in the cortical columns,
I would be very surprised to see those representations ending
up with the name "meme". More likely they'll end up with
an acronym like "CCSVs" ("cortical-columnar state vectors").
Anyway, "mindplex" seems to me too science-fictional, too
much a groovy term from the dawn of the Age of Mind to be
what they'll use when the networking of minds is an everyday
affair. Then again, even "electron" probably sounded outlandish
when it was first coined. That's why I think "mindplex" does
have a chance.

Then we have a few terms that really are from science fiction.
"Medusa", "coral", "snowflake" - a different sort of metaphor.
To me, these ones have *architectural* connotations (in
the sense of system architecture). Again, they sound like
types - a coral is a mind-society or mind-network built on a
particular *type* of networking.

"The Comprise", well, that's like "the Internet", it's a name
for a particular collective, rather than being a taxonomic term.

Hot chart ringtones and polyphonics. Go to

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