The Global Brain can be defined as the distributed intelligence emerging from the Internet. The Global Brain Institute (GBI) was founded in 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, and is part of the Center Leo Apostel.

The GBI uses scientific methods to better understand the global evolution towards ever-stronger connectivity between people, software and machines. By developing concrete models of this development, we can anticipate both its promises and its perils. That would help us to steer a course towards the best possible outcome for humanity.


  • Develop a theory of the Global Brain that provides a long-term vision of the future of information society
  • Build a mathematical and simulation model of the dynamics of the Global Brain.
  • Survey the most important developments in society and ICT that 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, resilience, well-being, innovation, etc.
  • Propose methods to enhance the development of global intelligence
  • Warn about potential negative side-effects
  • Disseminate our results, so as to make scientists, decision-makers and the public aware of this on-going revolution

(for more details, check our strategic objectives and activities)

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 stimulate these agents to act. 

Challenges that cannot be fully resolved by a single agent are propagated to 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 greater than the intelligence of its individual members.

The propagation of challenges across the global network is a complex process of self-organization. It is 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.

Managing Director

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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