Discussion papers

CPM-00-70 - 2 May 2000

The Society of Mind Requires an Economy of Mind

Ian Wright

A Paper at: The “Starting from Society” symposium at ASIB’2000 convention, Birmingham University, 16th-19th April 2000.

Also published as: Ian Wright (2000), “The Society of Mind Requires an Economy of Mind”, in the Proceedings of the AISB’00 Symposium on Starting from Society – the Application of Social Analogies to Computational Systems, Birmingham, UK: AISB, 113-124. (ISBN 1 902956 13 8)


A society of mind will require an economy of mind, that is multi-agent systems that meet a requirement for the adaptive allocation and reallocation of scarce resources will need to employ a quantitative, universal, and domain-independent representation of value that mirrors the flow of agent products, much as money is used in simple commodity economies. The money-commodity in human economic systems is shown to be an emergent exchange convention that serves both to constrain and allow the formation of commitments by functioning as an ability to buy processing power. Multi-agent systems with both currency flow and minimally economic agents can adaptively allocate and reallocate control relations and scarce resources, in particular labour or processing power. The implications of this design hypothesis for cognitive science and economics are outlined.