An answer I gave about the idea of a global intellect and surprised myself with. I could certainly add/subtract things; this was all in one typing run without editing and I’m pasting here too:
So what is an intellect? For intelligence, I hold it to be an active process; the boundaries extend to where it is utilized or capable of being utilized (such as data storage) and is measurable in some ways if not in all ways.
So do collective actions of doing what’s considered intelligent (or capable of doing – a sleeping intelligence is still part of a collective intellect) form a collective global intellect?
That is a difficult question. As long as there is active communication between cultures or the potential, it’s possible to combine the cultural intelligences together and bind them into a body of potential collective intellect.
The Silk Road in China is likely the start of a lot of cross-cultural intellectual movements that has continued for millennia.
Is there an unconscious knowledge body that we all tap into? Well, there is genetic intelligence; our human capability of knowledge is more or less the same as it was when we humans and human/neanderthal hybrids came on the scene. That genetic intelligence is a gift from our evolutionary past. So our capabilities are certainly forming part of our collective intellect; simply for being part of this species.
Hence, a lot of similar solutions arise in diverse cultures that have no known contact; we’re all humans that are capable of thinking in more or less the same ways, given similar background materials and equivalent cultural problem solving standards.
So, like computers from a factory, there is a collective intelligence. Our networking capabilities depend upon our communication standards of the time and whatever interoperability there is between different cultural systems in different parts of history.