Economic Participation in the Age of Networking: Digital Ecosystems of Knowledge, Business and Services. Bruxelles, November 7th, 2007 | Achievements of the first 3 years and future perspectives of the Collaborative EU research and deployment of Digital Business Ecosystems.


Francis Heylighen

Francis HeylighenFrancis Heylighen is a research professor at the Free University of Brussels (VUB), and director of the transdisciplinary research group on "Evolution, Complexity and Cognition". He's affiliated with the Center "Leo Apostel" and the Department of Philosophy. He is an editor of the Principia Cybernetica Project, an international organization for the collaborative development of an evolutionary-systemic philosophy.

The main focus of his research is the evolution of complexity: how do higher levels of organization originate (metasystem transitions) and develop? How do systems self-organize, adapt and achieve some form of cognition? He worked in particular on the development of collective knowledge and intelligence, and its application to the emerging intelligent web, or "global brain".

He use this evolutionary-cybernetic approach as a framework for the integration of ideas from different disciplines into an encompassing "world view". This broad evolutionary view, together with its practical applications on advanced web systems, has helped him to develop a broad, but concrete vision on the future of the information society. He also teach an introductory course (in Dutch) on this topic at the VUB.

As a true interdisciplinarian, he has moreover done research and published papers about various subjects in various scientific disciplines, from mathematical physics, and computer support systems to humanistic psychology, including the following:

* Collective Intelligence, and the global brain * Social Progress and the measurement of Happiness (with Jan Bernheim) * Algorithms for Learning Webs (with Johan Bollen) * Foundations of Cybernetics and Systems Theory (with Cliff Joslyn and Valentin Turchin) * Evolutionary Development of Social Systems (with the famous methodologist Donald T. Campbell) * Memetics or mechanisms for cultural evolution * Formality/context-dependence in Linguistics (with Jean-Marc Dewaele) * Psychology of Causal Attributions (with Frank Van Overwalle) * Maslow's theory of the Self-Actualizing Personality * Bootstrapping Knowledge Representations * Foundations of Quantum Mechanics and of Space-Time Structure (see also my PhD. Thesis) * Gifted people and their problems (for those who recognize themselves in these traits).

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