ECCO/GBI seminar

Internet Epigenetics: how to modify DNA from inside

Evolution Complexity & Cognition group / Global Brain Institute seminar, Brussels, 07-12-12




Internet Epigenetics: how to modify DNA from inside

By Joël de Rosnay, Special Advisor to the President, Universcience, Paris, France

Global Brain Institute, Brussels, December 7, 2012


Slides of the talk (pdf)


The first part of the presentation will deal with the following question: what is Internet DNA? Where is it located? What constitutes its base? Is it possible to modify it from inside? On the biological point of view we will discuss the new discipline of epigenetics how the human behavior can modify the expression of genes. Several examples will be given, particularly the use of micro-RNA and interference with DNA to amplify or minimize gene expression.


The second part will discuss the “fluid brain”. How synapses reconfigure themselves during interaction with people, objects, the virtual or the real world. During this discussion the work of Jean-Pierre Changeux, regarding the selective stabilization of synapses, mentioned by the author in a previous GBI seminar, will be related to the ongoing development and internal modification of the Internet


The third part will deal with the so-called “intuitive Internet” in comparison with the intuitive brain. The three layers of the brain, (connective, collaborative, and collective intelligence) will be compared with the analog functions transferred to the Internet.


The fourth part will consider the evolution of society, factories, products, services, the anabolic and catabolic processes of construction and deconstruction, comparable to the basic bodily functions. Particularly the production of energy, by combination of renewable energies using the digital world and the connection to smart grids will be mentioned as it is part of the world metabolism and global ecosystem.


The fifth part will consider the fact that global companies, international organizations, and even countries are trying to monopolize and control Internet DNA. Major lobbies influence the functioning of Internet in spite of the behavior of every Internet user. How this global behavior, like epigenetics in our body, can modify Internet DNA ? The “occupy Wall Street”, movement, the “Maker Movement”, the Arab spring, the “Indignés”, proves that a young generation communicating through social networks can influence politics and even totalitarian regimes. In spite of certain “diseases” of Internet (schizophrenic, paranoiac, megalomaniac, depressed), there is hope that the global behavior of connected internauts, can modify Internet DNA from inside and transmit this information to future reorganizations of the global brain.


Short bibliography:


Donald Hebb, « the organization of behavior » (1949)


Francisco J. Varela, “Organism: A Meshwork of Selfless Selves”,

Organism and the Origins of Self, Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science, 1991, Volume 129, 79-107


Jean-Pierre Changeux, Philippe Courrège, and Antoine Danchin, “A Theory of the Epigenesis of Neuronal Networks by Selective Stabilization of Synapses”, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, Vol. 70, No. 10, pp. 2974-2978, October 1973


Joël de Rosnay, “Increase of complexity of Internet interfaces and the Darwinian process of selective stabilization of Internet nodes”, Summary of presentation, Global Brain Workshop, Brussels (July 4, 2001) .


Tim Berners-Lee, The World Wide Web - Past, Present and Future, Journal of Digital Information, Vol 1, No 1 (1997


Jeremy Rifkin, “Energy sharing is the new Internet”, Wired Magazine, February 2012


Joël de Rosnay, « Du mox au mix : vers un nouvel avenir énergétique », Les Echos, 29 novembre 2011


The maker Movement :


Joël de Rosnay 
Director of Strategy

Cité des Sciences et de l'Insdustrie – La Villette – Paris – France 

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