The Geoscope was one of Buckminster Fuller's ideas involving a very large model of the earth which exhibits detailed and objective information about the global state of resources, wealth, economic, environmental etc. It was to be publically accessible and would serve to raise awareness of the state of the planet in the public consciousness by allowing people to have a complete picture of the whole planet as a single functioning organisation.
In this site, the GOscope is a similar model of the "world organisation", but is a purely conceptual model used as a tool to aid in discussing, modeling and implementing Generic Organisation (hence GO-scope). The GOscope is a description of a planet in an imaginary "Sim world" dedicated to running a global network of generic organisations to satisfy generic needs of the population. Since it's purpose is purely concerned with Generic Organisation, the world and its members can be extremely simplified and all its aspects and state completely defined. The world exhibits randomness in many of it's dimensions of state, but this randomness is clearly defined.
Arnow quotes Fuller as having once said, "There is no energy crisis, food crisis or environmental crisis. There is only a crisis of ignorance."
What are the organisations for? What are their goals? How have those goals changed over time, and what's their rate of achievement? All perfectly valid and obvious questions for someone to ask of an organisation. But if you were to ask where to find these answers for your country or the world, nobody could tell you.
Fuller conceived of a Geoscope which might serve to ameliorate humanity's ignorance of its own condition. "Consequences of various world plans could be computed and projected using the accumulated history-long inventory... of data," he wrote. "All the world would be dynamically viewable and picturable and radioable [sic] to all the world, so that common consideration... of all world problems by all world people would become a practical everyday, hour and minute event."
Our Geoscope ideas
The ideal interface for the project would be as human speech and real-world simulation. The main focus being on the ability to represent real-world situations semantically and render them in a "sims"-like 3D context. By combining this with the network's own ability to describe and simulate organisations, this allows a full "microworlds" (see the fifth discipline) version of Fuller's Geoscope.
Proprietary gaming environments have been at a very sophisticated level for some time now, and some such as The Sims exhibit exactly the kind of environment required by our project. There are some important criteria that an environment must satisfy before it can be a candidate for the one to be used by the project.
- Self containment - editable from within, and developed from within with no downtime
- Collaborative - unified space that all can collaborate on in real time
- Free and open source
- Prototype/Archetype - Fully OO where all classes are instances "in the field"
- P2P - not reliant on centralised servers for maintaining the global shared space
There are a number of corporate solutions that fit all these criteria except for the free/open source one, but until recently none have fit all of them. In March 2008 the Croquet project released it's collaborative 3D browser into a pre-alpha testing state, and it meets all the criteria. It's still very "bleeding edge" technology, and in fact we haven't successfully been able to install it ourselves yet, but it's extremely promising and we're keeping a close eye on progress.
Once we have an environment in place, we'll begin creating content for it which will be designed to mirror our current organisational structure. We'd replicate our entire system in the new environment (using bots so that work can carry on from either wiki or 3D), and begin adding physical properties to our concepts.
In addition to refining our current concepts into the physical domain, we'd also begin collaboration on generic 3D content for use with our concepts and for the 3D community in general. The kinds of physical content we'd prioritise our collaboration on are the items sued to describe real-world organisations such as simple buildings and office equipment as well as the many human actions involved in an organisation. No doubt the environment will come with a large tree of these already and it would be a matter of refining an existing taxonomy.
The idea in general is to allow users to map physical organisation prototypes to their organisational systems and then to refine those prototypes. See Prototype/Archetype for more details about this process of developing objects.
Simulated reality is the proposition that reality could be simulated—often computer simulated—to a degree indistinguishable from "true" reality. It could contain conscious minds which may or may not know that they are living inside a simulation. In its strongest form, the "simulation hypothesis" claims it is probable that we are actually living in such a simulation.
This is different from the current, technologically achievable concept of virtual reality. Virtual reality is easily distinguished from the experience of "true" reality; participants are never in doubt about the nature of what they experience. Simulated reality, by contrast, would be hard or impossible to distinguish from "true" reality.
The idea of a simulated reality raises several questions:
- Is it possible, even in principle, to tell whether we are in a simulated reality?
- Is there any difference between a simulated reality and a "real" one?
- How should we behave if we knew that we were living in a simulated reality?
3D Development Links
- Croquet project - free collaborative multi-user online application environment
- Excellent Slashdot discussion on 3D development
- 3D Engine Database
- OGRE 3D (wiki) (FAQ)- excellent well structured free 3D game engine
- Crystal Space wiki - Free cross-platform 3D game engine
- Alice.org - An easy to use 3D story and world creator (Winodws only)
Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI):R. Buckminster Fuller's Geoscope(web archive)
- Wikipedia:Virtual Globes
EARTHscope(TM) - The BFI's implementation of the Geoscope
- Google Earth
- NASA Worldwind
- BBC news item - UK traffic and information tracked second by second
- http://www.gapminder.org - See changes in GDP etc graphically over time
- A map of every single cargo ship in the world
- Kids building Mars colony with Edusim - based on Croquet
- Classroom Mashup - Edusim + Smartboard + Wiimote
- Potential Management
- Wikipedia:Artificial consciousnesses
- BFI Community blog page on Geoscope (web archive)
- Croquet - Excellent 3D environment meeting all the criteria of the project
- Ugotrade:Interoperability of virtual worlds
- Second Life - this attempt fails several of the criteria
- Sizes of things
- Wikipedia:Brain-computer interface
- Wikipedia:Buckminster Fuller
- Wikipedia:Dream argument
- Wikipedia:Omega Point (Tipler)
- Wikipedia:Simulated reality
- Wikipedia:The Sims
- Worldclock - world key data and stats in realtime
Open Life - a Global Community 3D Metaverse built with open source technology from the OpenSimulator project
- O'Reilly:Making the Geoscope a reality