paradox of prediction bio of an idea next challenge life journey reviewers calendar debates collaborative IQ home contact
talk on Collaborative Intelligence at StanfordFEBRUARY 2014


paradox of prediction biography of an idea life journey reviewers debates links collaborative intelligence contact

© Zann Gill 2008 – 2014

R Buckminster Fuller: The History and Mystery of the Universe, San Jose Repertory Theater

February 23, 2014 Play Matinee 2PM
San Jose Repertory Theater
101 Paseo de San Antonio
San Jose, CA 95113 For tickets.


4 PM San Jose Repertory Theater
Mercury News Lounge – After this final performance of DW Jacobs' outstanding play, San Jose Rep Artistic Director Rick Lombardo will lead a post-play brainstorm to explore what the play inspires for the future with Terry Beaubois, Eden Brukman, Mark Finnern, Zann Gill, Victor Hwang, David McConville, and Peter Meisen. Ron Campbell, who plays a powerful RB Fuller, and playwright DW Jacobs will join.

Objective. This post-play brainstorm is not only an idea exchange but also aims to seed and contribute to ongoing leadership inspired by Buckminster Fuller's idea that each individual is a trimtab, able to shift the direction of the big ships that drive our civilization.

Buckminster Fuller, like Bill Gates, was a Harvard dropout (twice). This is also a Harvard Club event.

talk on Collaborative Intelligence at StanfordOCTOBER 2013

A-PR Hypothesis

October 28, 2013 at 6:00 PM

NETFLIX, 100 Winchester Circle,
Theater A, Los Gatos, CA (map)
Building A1 Foyer Theater Entrance

October 9, 2013, 6:30 PM – Program
University of California – Berkeley
Room 110, Barrows Hall (map)

making sense of the data cloud

Big Data and Predictive Analytics take for granted that, with enough data and the right tools, we can predict the future. This talk proposes instead that crowdsourcing platforms are poised for a breakthrough — capacity to evolve through use toward Ecosystem Utility that exploits synergies across computer data processing and human pattern recognition. Based on study of how evolution operates, and how thriving ecosystems provide platforms for co-evolution of species, collaborative intelligence characterizes one model for how distributed, multi-agent networks can “evolve in the cloud” as each unique agent autonomously contributes to its collaborative problem-solving ecosystem.

NETFLIX LOGISTIX: The talk will begin at 6.30pm. Please arrive between 6 and 6.30pm. The doors to the building will be locked from 6.30pm on.

Zann describes principles applied in her soon-to-issue patent for a Responsive System for Information Exchange in Human- and Device-Adaptive Query-Response Networks for Task and Crowd Management, Distributed Collaboration and Data Integration.

collaborative intelligence ecosystems

Collaborative intelligence characterizes distributed, multi-agent networks where each unique agent is an autonomous contributor to its collaborative problem-solving ecosystem. This talk will show how these principles are applied in the project EarthDECKS (Distributed Evolving Collaborative Knowledge Systems).
talk on Collaborative Intelligence at StanfordJUNE 2013


All 2011 – 2013 images – Zann Gill
January 2010 — NASA, SF Bay
November 2009 – BFI
September 2009 — Leonardo da Vinci, Codex Trivulzianus,
Foiio l30r, © Comune di Milano
May 2009 — Los Angeles
April 2009 —
March 2009 —
February 2009 — IBM. wordle © Jonathan Feinberg 2008.
January 2009 — Jeffrey Ventrella
December 2008 — NASA
November 2008 — MEJ Newman
October 2008 — NASA
August 2008 — NASA
July 2008 —  Jordan Pollack & Hod Lipson, "Golem"

  Zann Gill – Talk at Draper University

Wednesday, June 27, 2013 at 10 AM
Draper University: Entrepreneurship
for Business Thought Leaders
44 East Third Avenue
San Mateo, CA 94401

from predicting to pioneering the future

Making sense of today’s deluge of “Big Data” is a great IT challenge, requiring Design Synthesis. Predicting that crowdsourcing platforms will evolve into next generation social networks to support the emerging field of collaborative intelligence, Zann Gill's talk describes a thought leadership space with emerging potential for a range of new ventures dedicated to turning social networks into problem-solving ecosystems.

Film of Zann Gill's talk ff by discussion

Student discussion (last 20 minutes of the film) identified a range of new ventures conceived by this Draper U cohort, pioneering next generation social network business concepts.

talk on Collaborative Intelligence at Stanford MAY 2012

  Zann Gill talks at Design X, Stanford on Making Sense of Big DataDesign X Spring Speaker Series
Center for Design Research
Stanford University

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 4 PM
Building 530, 440 Escondido Mall
Stanford, CA  94305-3030

Zann Gill at ACM CHI 2013 on Collaborative Intelligence: User-Driven Collaborative Networks
ACM CHI 2012 – Austin Texas
Session: Making Sense of Data
Wednesday, May 9, 2012 4 PM


The next generation of crowdsourcing platforms should be able to evolve, through use, toward Ecosystem Utility that exploits synergies across computer data processing and human pattern recognition. Beyond reliance on Predictive Analytics, collaborative intelligence emerges from Design Ecosystems — smart learning networks connecting humans and devices. Whereas collective intelligence identifies similarities in aggregates to improve prediction, next generation social networks are becoming crowdsourcing ecosystems where disparities among agents strengthen “genetic diversity” in the ecosystem. As in nature, each individual organism plays a unique role in a distributed, multi-agent network where each unique agent is an autonomous contributor in a collaborative intelligence ecosystem.

User-Driven Social Networks as Crowdsourcing Ecosystems

Vernor Vinge proposed, “In network and interface research there is something as profound (and potentially wild) as Artificial Intelligence.” How, in this 2012 Centenary of Alan Turing, can we explore that wild CHI opportunity to create futures of intelligence? User experience data can co-evolve synergies across computer data processing and human capacity for pattern recognition, developing collaborative intelligence applications that engage distributed creativity, processing crowd-sourced analytics to plan and track projects, so that data gathered, bottom-up, can improve decision-making.

Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Published by ACM 2012.

talk on Collaborative Intelligence at StanfordFEBRUARY 2012

  Kawasaki - smart city  
* one "singularity" for futures of intelligence

The 2012 Centenary of Alan Turing inspires speculation about futures of intelligence. Collective intelligence identifies similarities in aggregates to improve prediction, whereas collaborative intelligence identifies disparities among agents to spur innovation. As in nature, each individual organism plays a unique role in its ecosystem. Crowdsourcing platforms are poised for a breakthrough — capacity to evolve, through use, toward Ecosystem Utility that exploits synergies across computer data processing and human pattern recognition. Collaborative intelligence characterizes distributed, multi-agent networks where each unique agent is an autonomous contributor to its collaborative problem-solving ecosystem.
  Zann Gill's talk ff by discussion of
ART: Artists Redefine Turing

LASER – Stanford University

Wednesday, February 1, 2012 7 PM
Pigott Hall (Bldg. 260), Room 11
Co-Sponsored by LEONARDO
Palo Alto, California
    talk on R. Buckminster Fuller and Collaborative Intelligence at Rhode Island School of DesignJUNE - JULY 2011
A-PR Threshold  

utonomy | Pattern Recognition

ICCS 2011
– Boston, MA
The A-PR Hypothesis characterizes how effective complexity emerges — the bootstrapping engine through which life evolves toward effective complexity.

Origins 2011 – Montpellier, France
If the threshold of the origin of life was the moment when the first A-PR cycle occurred, then the A-PR Hypothesis resolves debates about how to define life.

GECCO 2011 – Dublin, Ireland
Next generation social networks can become problem-solving ecosystems. Beyond targeting us as buyers, recommender systems can use our profiles to identify how we can best contribute to a problem-solving ecosystem. Future crowdsourcing platforms can improve capacity to aggregate data so that microtasks engaing A-PR cycles of distributed agents can be integrated, enabling our collaborative intelligence to address complex problems.

Zann Gill speaks on implications of the A-PR Hypothesis for diverse disciplines:

ICCS 2011 – International Conference on Complex Systems, Boston June 26 - July 1, 2011

Origins 2011
– International Conference on the Origin of Life and Bioastronomy, Montpellier, France July 3 - 8, 2011

GECCO 2011
– International Conference on Genetic Algorithms & Evolutionary Computing, Dublin, Ireland July 11-16, 2011

talk on R. Buckminster Fuller and Collaborative Intelligence at Rhode Island School of DesignJANUARY 2010


San Francisco from satellite

Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Keynote at SURF 12
Sustainable Remediation Forum
Sacramento, California

Raising our Collaborative IQ
Decision Support & Sustainable Remediation

Zann Gill (eco•DESYN Lab) described how decision support tools and collaboration platforms can be designed to enable collaborative, cross-disciplinary teams and networks with diverse priorities and expertise to converge rapidly toward sustainable remediation solutions. Zann presented principles to “raise collaborative IQ” in decision-making where a range of stakeholders, from engineers to financial analysts, from scientists to policymakers, innovators, and the public, must collaborate to solve a problem. She contrasted the C-IQ method with conventional approaches to problem-solving, which can produce lowest common denominator outcomes. more>
talk on R. Buckminster Fuller and Collaborative Intelligence at Rhode Island School of DesignNOVEMBER 2009

    Buckminster Fuller – World Game  

Design Science – Evolutionary Method
Natural Sustainability via Worldgaming

The World Game concept needed collaborative intelligence methods, the internet, ubiquitous mobile computing, and social networks that only now, half a century later, can implement this concept, harnessing game methods to environmental sustainability challenges.

There is only one revolution tolerable to all men, all societies, all political systems: revolution by design and invention.
Buckminster Fuller

Blog following the presentation by Professor Kyna Leski, Chair, Dept. of Architecture

Sunday, November 15, 2009
Keynote Buckminster Fuller Symposium
Rhode Island School of Design
Providence, Rhode Island

      Leonardo da Vinci — Codex Trivulzianus  
What Daedalus told Darwin
Tracing a thought path from Leonardo da Vinci’s little-known Codex Trivulzianus, through Adam Smith’s neglected Theory of Moral Sentiments, which was overshadowed by his Wealth of Nations, highlights cultural biases that may explain why we emphasized a half interpretation of Darwin’s theory of evolution, making the Tragedy of the Commons an inevitable outcome of evolutionary dynamics. Recent findings in cell biology raise questions about pure Darwinism (random variation and environmental selection) as the exclusive driver of evolution’s ingenious designs. Mythical inventor/ architect Daedalus tells the great scientist Charles Darwin that Intelligent Design has diverted us from the full meaning of “design” — its role in life’s past and future evolution toward an eco-sustainable planet.

Program for the evening


Monday, September 14, 2009
Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER), a monthly series of lectures and presentations organized on behalf of Leonardo/ISAST, hosted by the University of San Francisco


MAY 2009

    urban ecology

May 29, 2009 — webcast
Ecology & Learning
Zann Gill is interviewed by Jay Cross about developing collaborative learning models, translatable into methods that can address eco-sustainability challenges as evolvable, collaborative learning systems.

Synopsis in eLearn Magazine, online journal of the ACM; webcast at Learning Irregulars


APRIL 2009

  Focus the Nation

Foothill College, Campus Center
Saturday, April 18, 2009
12345 El Monte Road
Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
9 AM — 12:30 PM

Objective. Launch the Foothill College initiative to be a model sustainable community college campus, building coalition between the campus and its communities around a clean energy future.


Opening Remarks
Judy Miner, Foothill College President and
Mayor Jean Mordo, Los Altos Hills

The Emerging Green Economy
• William Blessing, Ratcliff Architects
• Robert Cormia, Foothill College Faculty
• Charles Allen, Executive Director of Facilities
• Steve Schmidt & Jay Shideler, Los Altos Energy Initiatives
• Margaret Abe-Koga, Mayor of Mountain View
• Curtis Williams, Planning Director, City of
Palo Alto
• Peg Champion, GreenTown Los Altos

Keynote: Zann Gill
Foothill College at a Leading Edge
learning, innovation, and sustainable communities

Closing Remarks

Foothill College Program listing.



MARCH 2009

  Collaborative Intelligence – Smart Cities  

Evolving Collaborative Intelligence
engaged citizens & smart systems for sustainable cities

Nature manifests directed innovation, with a series of “process design” principles that human-computer systems could emulate. Zann Gill will describe how the evolution of life harnesses innovation networks, directed processes that converge toward improved adaptation that could not be predicted in advance as a goal. These principles are applicable to smart systems that support cross-disciplinary, collaborative problem-solving as we face our greatest challenge, eco-sustainability. Collective intelligence, which taps the consensus “wisdom of crowds,” harnesses algorithms to transform diverse input into a better-than-average consensual output. In contrast, collaborative intelligence taps and retains the diversity of individuals, manifesting principles of evolutionary design, such as collaborative autonomy, to co-evolve by improving through time, innovating and adapting to continually changing ecosystems. This talk describes how Nature’s dynamic design process principles apply to practical problems faced by enterprise systems (from companies to social networks to cities and nations) to evolve more intelligent capacity for emergent pattern recognition, decision-making, and to converge gradually toward sustainable operations.


SAP Future Salon
Friday, March 20, 2009
SAP Labs, 3410 Hillview Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94304
6-7 pm networking, light refreshments sponsored by SAP; 7 – 9 pm presentation followed by discussion. Blog.

Objective. To seed discussion about the role SAP Future Salon plays in enabling our collaborative intelligence to evolve smart meta-systems for sustainable futures. Applications to explore include sustainable business practices, rapid responder systems for emergencies, e-governance, and planning eco-cities.




social nets, semantic webs & evolving systems

Researchers have analyzed how social networks operate, from small organizations to nations and networks of people connected by similar values and objectives. But insufficient attention has been paid to harnessing social networks for cross-disciplinary, collaborative problem-solving. 2009 is the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth and 150th anniversary of his publication of Origin of Species. The theory of evolution is seen by many as the greatest theoretical breakthrough of all time.

Zann Gill will introduce findings that call for a more complete interpretation of Darwin’s theory (Stephen Jay Gould thought “Darwinism” misrepresented Darwin) and argue that this more complete interpretation of Darwin’s theory would drive sustainable development and offer a model for seeding and evolving “innovation networks” to develop smart systems for eco-sustainability at the intersection of ICT and green tech.


Monday, February 23, 2009, 11 AM
Digital Enterprise Research Institute
(DERI ), National University of Ireland
IDA Business Park, Lower Dangan

Objective. To explore how DERI's semantic web and e-learning R & D support Dublin's e-city initiative and Ireland's international leadership, harnessing enterprise, university, and government collaboration.



Friday, January 23, 2008, 8 pm.
BIOTA LIVE podcast
Call-in number: 646-200-0640
Host: Tom Barbalet & Zann Gill

Modeling Smart Sustainable Systems
artificial life, decision support, & the environment

From ALife to "terraforming Mars," our speculative thought experiments enhance awareness of Earth's intricate web of life. Trying to synthesize life or to simulate life's behaviors are both ways we speculate about evolution and the future. Updating Buckminster Fuller's vision of World Game for eco-sustainability and world peace will promote constructive speculation and harness models developed by the artificial life community, moving beyond deterministic to emergent systems able to cope with uncertainty.

    Also on Simulations Network, Podcast Alley and Podcast Pickle

  NASA aerial image of Earth  

Nine ECO-logical design principles

new media and sustainable innovation

Drawing from her forthcoming book, What Daedalus told Darwin, Zann Gill will describe how design thinking can harness new media to promote cross-disciplinary collaboration, citing innovation network principles and dynamics found in the origin and evolution of life with lessons for eco-sustainability.

Though we're poised to experience the impact of what Garrett Hardin evocatively predicted in 1968 would escalate into a Tragedy of the Commons, where competition for scarce resources and "survival of the fittest" could threaten the delicate balance of Earth's ecosystems, we're also poised to harness web 2.0 digital media, learning systems, social networks and ubiquitous computing to reverse the downward slump — to achieve technological innovation, social change, revitalized cities and a greener economy. This talk will describe how nine principles of ECO-logical design, illustrated in the origin and evolution of life, can "raise our collaborative intelligence."


Thursday, December 4th, 6 – 7 PM
Media X — Stanford University
Peter Wallenberg Learning Theater
Building 160, Room 124
Stanford web event listing here

Talk online – Media X website.
Objective. To explore how Media X can play a significant role at the intersection of new media and cross-disciplinary problem-solving.



Newman network

designing innovation networks
modeled on life’s origins and evolution
Highly innovative organizations face the constant challenge of processing a flood of good ideas, both generated by employees and submitted from outside. In the wake of Google’s Tenth Birthday Competition, this talk describes how innovation networks apply principles found in life’s origins and evolution to “innovation processing.” 

Debates about how novelty emerged in the origin of life and its evolution toward complexity demand revising assumptions that we’ve taken for granted. Steven Jay Gould said that "Darwinism" misrepresents Darwin.

A more complete interpretation of Darwin's theory of evolution could inspire new problem-solving methods with practical applications, e.g. from multi-agent systems able to learn and improve their performance to cross-disciplinary decision support systems designed to address environmental sustainability challenges.


November 20, 2008 @ Google
Zann Gill talk and discussion
webcast on Youtube
Google employees + invited guests

Objective. To discuss nine principles of innovation networks and the problem-solving method they support.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008. 4 pm

NASA Ames Research Center
Building 3, Patio Room. Directions
4 PM........Zann Gill Talk
5 - 5:30......
Networking Break
5:30 - 7:30 Brainstorm with
Provocateurs + Audience

Joe Betts-Lacroix
, Evocateur/ entrepreneur: Founder/ CTO of OQO; Harvard: earth, MIT: oceans, Caltech: proteins, IBM Research: usability
Rich Boyle, NASA Ames, Director BioVis (Bio-Visualization, Imaging and Simulation Technology Center)
Geoff Briggs, NASA Ames (ret.), Founder/ Director of the Center for Mars Exploration
Bruce Damer, CEO, DigitalSpace Corporation, Founder, Contact Consortium & (project EVOgrid)
Boris Debic, Google Software Engineer Mars Society Project Director
Deborah Grove, Grove Associates
Patty Jones
, NASA Ames, Division Chief (acting), Human Systems Integration Division
Chris McKay NASA Ames astrophysicist
Steve Omohundro, Self-Aware Systems
Mark Shirley
NASA Ames Software Lead, LCROSS Lunar Mission
Jonathan Trent
NASA Ames biologist ( nanotechnology & astrobiology)
Osher Yadgar
, Computer Scientist, SRI Artificial Intelligence Center



origins of life & emergence of intelligence

Zann Gill will present the hypothesis of her book (title above): traits ascribed to mind, such as pattern recognition, may have counterparts in early life. The origin and synthesis of life are windows on controversies over evolution and intelligence. Rather than argue for “one right answer” to the question of how life originated, she'll describe how design principles apply, not only to the origin of life, and to the design of hypotheses about it, but also to the debates and question it inspires. She'll examine not only how research on the origin and evolution of life is a case study of the creative process in science, but also how this research can inform the synthetic disciplines: AI, ALife, robotics, and designing collaborative multi-agent systems.

from provocateurs & the audience, e.g.
1. Is the origin of life a proof in principle that Darwinian evolution does not fully explain how life advanced toward complexity?
2. self-aware systems. What mechanisms enable the acceleration of evolution, such as the Baldwin effect, a new deliberative Baldwin effect, group evolution, and self-improving systems? What are the implications of these mechanisms for evolving, self-aware technologies and for technology innovation?
3. Alife can be invisible to extant immune systems. Slime-9 fears: it could reproduce unchecked and run rampant. Personalized medicine dreams: it could enter living systems unmolested to perform useful tasks. Will smart biotechnologists become Intelligent Designers in our interest? Or is there another approach to “planetary protection” that we could harness if we were clever enough?
4. Sensor networks as intelligent, multi-agent systems. What is their potential to support decision-making toward environmental sustainability?
5. networked computer grids. Could they be used as a lens to understand how life began on Earth, or elsewhere in the universe?
6. Long "Turing" Bet 2029. What types of bio-inspired simulations will pass "the Turing test" to be deemed by biologists worthy of study as models revealing insights about life? What role will they perform?
7. Innovation networks for sustainability. What has NASA learned from space travel that can contribute to sustainable communities on Earth?
8. from concept to implementation. What hurdles must we overcome to achieve more effective collaboratory initiatives?

Objective. To stir the "primordial big ideas alphabet soup" and watch how letters cluster to spell out one or more concepts worth pursuing.

Filmed by Furious Ink Studios
Filmmakers: Kurt Stumbaugh & Igor Stalew




Friday, August 22, 2008, 8 pm.
BIOTA LIVE podcast
Call-in number: 646-200-0640
Host: Tom Barbalet & Zann Gill with
Bruce Damer, Travis Savo, Ed Seufert

The BIG SPLIT in the Intelligent Design vs evolutionary emergence debates is pervasive — echoed by ALife designers who play God versus those who explore how evolution operates, by games driven by rigid goals versus exploratory, innovative gaming.

ALife has come of age to bring its methods to significant challenges, such as:
1. How can we define life, from “the protocell in a bathtub” to "Dawkins’ puddle"?
2. What does it mean to be life-like?
3. How can ALife address green tech and sustainability challenges?
4. How can Alife succeed where AI failed to design evolvable learning systems?
5. If multi-agent, collaborative complex systems are modeled as ALife ecosystems, can we design a collaboratory that adapts through human-computer interaction, exemplifying co-evolution?


JULY 2008

Jordan Pollack Golem

artificial life's unique problem-solving methods

Daedalus, the mythical artificer, was first responsible for the genetic experiment that produced the Minotaur. He was then commissioned to design a labyrinth to cage the beast. Finally, he ended up imprisoned in that labyrinth and designed wings to escape. This parable about how we trap ourselves in our own designs is the jumping off point for a talk about whether artificial life is a threat, a tool for problem-solving, or both.

Zann Gill will present ideas from her forthcoming book, What Daedalus told Darwin, describing her early work at NASA toward an “Is it alive?” competition and results from the panel she co-chaired at ALife X, which generated a range of concepts for alife competitions. This talk will be followed by Scott Schafer's presentation of VatLife: An Interoperability Framework and a brainstorming session on future artificial life challenges.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008
SRI International
Artificial Intelligence Center
Menlo Park

6 – 6:45....Networking, Cafe Borrone
7 PM ........Zann Gill's Talk.
Enter at Building-E Visitor Lobby

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Zann Gill Award of the Mayor of Kawasaki for her submission to the international competition Kawasaki: Information City of the 21st Century