The Global Brain and the future information society




Mixel Kiemen, The Global Brain Institute, Vrije Universiteit Brussel


The Global Brain can be defined as the self-organizing network formed by all people on this planet together with the information and communication technologies that connect and support them. As the Internet becomes faster, smarter, and more encompassing, it increasingly links its users into a single information processing system, which functions like a nervous system for the planet Earth. The intelligence of this system is collective and distributed: it is not localized in any particular individual, organization or computer system. It rather emerges from the interactions between all its components—a property characteristic of a complex adaptive system. Such a distributed intelligence may be able to tackle current and emerging global problems that have eluded more traditional approaches. Yet, at the same time it will create technological and social challenges that are still difficult to imagine, transforming our society in all aspects.

Invited Speakers

Dirk Helbing, ETH Zürich, Switzerland
Francis Heylighen, director of the Global Brain Institute, Vrije Universiteit, Brussel

Subject and Scope

The concept of the Global Brain touches a wide variety of issues concerned with the large-scale impact of information technologies on society. We give priority to interdisciplinary research that integrates different levels, applications and domains, so as to provide a long-term vision of the future.  Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Futuristic socio-economic paradigms. 
  • Applications of collective intelligence for tackling  global challenges.
  • Sociotechnological evolution, trends, and patterns.
  • Distributed governance, decision-making, and democracy.
  • Knowledge-based civilization.
  • Privacy, security, freedom and ethics in the information age.
  • Relationship between the Global Brain and the individual.
  • Information systems and technologies with global impact:
    • Internet of Things 
    • Semantic Web.
    • MOOCs and other online education technologies, 
    • Global healthcare management
    • Smart Grids
    • Human-machine interfaces and convergence.
    • Artificial Intelligence
    • …        


The conference track will have 3 parts:

  1. Keynote talks by Prof. Dirk Helbing and Prof. Francis Heylighen 
  2. Paper presentation session (including Q&A)
  3. Free discussion session


Contributors are invited to submit a one page abstract with links and references. The authors whose abstracts are selected by the scientific committee will be invited to present their work in the paper session. (Notice that we require abstracts which are substantially shorter than what is indicated in the general conference submission page: ~750 words)

Abstracts are submitted from the conference submission page. Please follow the instructions there. (When prompted to do so, you should select “ISIS Summit Vienna 2015” as the conference name and “The Global Brain” as the track name.)

Following the conference, authors will be invited to submit their full paper for a special issue of the Web of Science – listed journal Technological Forecasting & Social Change (or to a number of other publications offered by the IS4IS summit organizers). The full paper will be subject to a peer-review according to the standards of the journal.

Scientific committee

Francis Heylighen (Vrije Universiteit Brussels)
Dirk Helbing (ETH Zürich)
Johan Bollen (Indiana University)
Cliff Joslyn (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, USA)
Carlos Gershenson (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)
Marko A. Rodriguez (Aurelius LLC, USA)
Marios Kyriazis (British Longevity Society)
Shima Beigi (Bristol University)
Evo Busseniers (Vrije Universiteit Brussels)
Cadell Last (Vrije Universiteit Brussels)
Mixel Kiemen (Vrije Universiteit Brussels)
Marta Lenartowicz (Jagiellonian University Kraków)
Viktoras Veitas (Vrije Universiteit Brussels)
David R. Weinbaum (Weaver) (Vrije Universiteit Brussels)
John Stewart (ECCO Group, Vrije Universiteit Brussels)
Clément Vidal (Vrije Universiteit Brussels)

Trackorganiser and contact

David Weinbaum (Weaver) –

Further information

Click on the Track banner above.

Important Dates

Submission deadline: 27 February 2015
Notification of acceptance: 20 March 2015