Eric Berlow and Sean Gourley: Mapping ideas worth spreading

SpeakerEric Berlow: An Ecologist, internationally recognized for his research on ecological complexity and for creative approaches to simplifying complex problems.Sean Gourley: Physicist with an interest in politics, now using data to understand the nature of human conflict.SummaryEric and Sean met when they discovered each had spoken at separate but related TEDx talks on the Ecology of war, and began questioning if other TEDx talks were unknowingly linked as well. They analysed the mathematical structures behind all 24,000 TED talks, by pulling the comments, viewers, and extracted transcript of the talks from Youtube. They then extracted key concepts from each talk, to find the ‘meme-ome’ or underlying idea of a talk. By comparing Meme-omes between talks, they can map links.These links can be analysed firstly by geographical location of the talk, but they also used a neural network to map the main conversation of each talk. This gives the following results:Related subjects are grouped nearby, meaning stronger links between talks of those subjects.By zooming in on ‘Environment’, they saw all the sub-conversations eg food economy, solar, greenhouse gases.They can also see which conversations are the most important to males vs females, or young vs old.They can also analyse the topics that have the most popularity talksLook at topics that link unrelated disciplinesOn the flipside – which talks are most ‘core’ to their topic – that link a lot of different conversations within the same disciplineSome thaat are completely ‘out there’ – not fitting clearly into any particular field.These algorithms allowed Eric and Sean to simplify their understanding of an extremely complicated network of TED knowledge into a single network map – making the information a little more accessible and a little more ‘human’.

via Eric Berlow and Sean Gourley: Mapping ideas worth spreading.



With the exponentially increasing atmosphere of technology and information development, it is clear that a system must exist which provides the means to manage and disseminate this information and technology in a useful and meaningful way. To date, management of these systems has relied on heavily competitive practices many of which treat information as a rare, precious, finite commodity and conduct business accordingly. Simultaneously, an advanced education does not hold to the promise it once made, with an estimated 42% of recent college graduates unemployed or underemployed.

We at unify everything believe that there will be a day in the near future when all of human knowledge will be unified. We believe that it is our responsibility as citizens to ensure global accessibility to this information in such a way so that every man, woman, and child may grow and contribute to the well-being of society in any way they chose. When information is sequestered, the points of view in problem solving groups are inherently limited. With the incredible challenges facing the world today, global hunger, climate change, and unemployment just to name a few, it is imperative that we as a global community shift our perspective from victimhood to heroes.

Our vision is to create the most expansive problem solving and societal improvement system ever devised by man, and the means by which the most perfect world possible is born.

Now, with such a bold vision we look for support wherever we can find it. To date we have found it in a number of areas, and that list continues to grow. As a new organization we looked to the open source community for our inspiration and as our primary resource, like minded and mission-ed individuals who are devoting their time and energy towards a common purpose. Today, we are combining new resources in visualization technology with the open-source free encyclopedia Wikipedia. We are showing visually, how information congregates to form connections.

Visualizing information is important for a number of reasons. The degree by which two concepts are linked reflects the degree to which we understand them. By building a user generated and maintained platform, we can reduce the degree by which each concept is separated, essentially identifying and closing the gaps in knowledge. Knowing what we don’t know is an essential component of generating ecological solutions to seemingly insurmountable challenges.

In addition to a user based platform and social problem solving tool, we intend to function as stewards of global research and development. We will accomplish this by providing a network for corporations, individuals, and non-profit organizations to provide grants to problem solvers in key areas. Any information generated in this manner will remain public knowledge; however the organization may choose to retain any patent privileges. This creates a win-win scenario and enfranchises a currently undervalued and under compensated population.

Non-profits have a number of challenges as well as some key advantages in our current global economic system. We believe we will unleash a new force with which anyone who cares about anything may focus their intellectual and monetary resources in the most efficient and ecological manner possible, and in so doing, create and grow the world of their dreams.

Unified Vision

Inspired by a philosophy of brotherly love and meaningful contribution, we founded nonprofit 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Unify Everything.

Our Mission is to unify and expand all of human knowledge in such a way that it is accessible to every person on this planet. As a global community we will use this information to tackle the toughest challenges facing the world.

Our Vision is to create the most expansive problem solving and societal improvement system ever devised by man and the means by which the most perfect world possible is born.

We are accomplishing this by combining open source software and information with a 3D visualization platform in order to map the connections between individual pieces of information. Our first iteration will be computer based, following iterations will make use of Oculus Rift, Emotiv, & Google Glass, once these technologies are brought to the public.

By combining APIs from nonprofits such as Khan Academy and Wikipedia, along with University level curriculums, and peer reviewed open source research, we are building the most efficient self-directed learning tool ever created. The reason we can do this is because we can map what you already know, and display search results weighted to what you already understand. This way, you are always learning from a position of strength, and never getting lost in the material.

Because we can do this at an individual level, we can overlay knowledge maps between different people, for example an expert and a student, to allow the student to actually see knowledge the way an expert does. We can also GPS a learning map from what you know to what an expert knows, so you can get to where you want to be in the way that is right for you, feeling secure at every step.

We are currently designing a method of attaching open source 3D CAD files for 3D printers to be displayed by keyword search connected to the information described above. So in a few years, when everyone has access to quality 3D printing, you will be able to have free designs for anything you can imagine building. For example, you could print your own lab equipment to do private research from home, and use that research to contribute to the structure of knowledge.

Our endgame is to eliminate the concept of scarcity, because scarcity tends to be at the heart of suffering worldwide.

Because our economy is scarcity based, we work synergistically with for profit corporations, because we provide tools that makes business, along with research and development, easier to conduct, leading to higher profit margins, faster market adaptation, and happier employees.

We are starting our first fundraising effort this month.

Until now, my co-directors and I have privately funded development.

I am asking my brothers and sisters nationwide, who believe in our mission and vision, to contribute to our crowdfunding campaign today, and help make this dream a reality now! All donations are entirely tax deductible.

Thank you!

Dr. John Roehm

Executive Director

Unify Everything

What could we do, if anyone could learn anything for free?

The Knowledge of all things is possible.

– Leonardo da Vinci 

I am a scientist, and I believe this is a hypothesis worth testing. So I began my search. I earned my doctorate in the field of pharmacy, because I wanted to understand the interactions between biology and chemistry, matter and energy. 

Providing Critical Care at a Children’s Hospital, I have found Time to be the most valuable resource we have. We trade time for money, time for knowledge, and time for experience. 

My mission is to help us all get more value for that trade.

The average life expectancy in the United States is less than 80 years. 

Today far too many of us spend the first third of our life primarily trading time for knowledge, betting that knowledge will make us valuable enough to trade our second third of our life for money. If we succeed, we will be able to trade our final third of our life for self-directed, uninhibited experience. 

That would be a great plan, if physiology and time had a different relationship with respect to our health and bodies.


There are inefficiencies in the way we traditionally acquire knowledge:

                          Lacking Requisite Knowledge for Understanding

When we learn, we find relationships between what we already know, and what we experience. 

The connections to what we know, allow us to remember learned information within a context that we are able to access on demand. 

Because of the way we traditionally distribute knowledge, many students spend years learning from their teacher’s perspective instead of from their own. Today that is changing. 

Open Source tools provide a mechanism to map the connections between all shared knowledge. Leaders such as the Khan Academy have made public APIs that track the progress of learning

We are integrating this functionality and taking it up a notch by allowing the option to search the wealth of human knowledge through your own lens of understanding. It then becomes possible to share maps with teachers, colleagues, mentors, experts, and pretty much anyone you can imagine. If we know the starting point, the end point, and all of the connections in between, we will always get where we want to go. We can stop getting lost along the way.

                                             2-Dimensional Learning

The visual cortex is particularly good at understanding and adapting to new environments rapidly

There are 2 primary pathways information is transmitted in the visual cortex:

1. The “What pathway” is associated with form recognition, object representation, and the storage of long term memory.

2. The “Where Pathway” or the “How Pathway” is associated with motion, representation of object locations, and control of the eyes and arms when visual information is used to guide reading,

Most forms of knowledge acquisition practically eliminate motion. In the years of our lives when we learn most rapidly, our bodies allow us to move most easily. Motor control is directly connected to visual information and the understanding of context and cause, the “Where” and “How“.  

Our visual systems have evolved to learn in a 4-D environment. It is far more efficient to structure the distribution of knowledge in the same form as we most effectively learn from. 

We are building a system to match, a 3-D visual map of all open source knowledge, with the ability to choose not only what you learn, but the direction you want to take while you are learning, so you can learn in whatever way feels best for you. 

                      We remember best when we learn while we do. 

You can’t forget how to ride a bike, no matter how hard you might try. In the absence of major structural damage, our bodies and minds are connected, and work together to learn.

How much would you know today if you could understand and integrate any concept in the time it takes a child to learn to ride a bike?

We are linking crowd-sourced challenges and projects with the knowledge base required to solve them. Because we use open source material, the solution generated becomes incorporated into the knowledge base. The new set of connections draws closer seemingly unrelated topics: new projects, waiting to be solved. 

                                      Shouldn’t Homework Pay?

If time is worth money in the second third of our lives, shouldn’t we get the same deal in the first third of our lives? Starting the second third of life in debt sucks. Having limited financial resources in the first third sucks too. What if we incentivized learning, by using real world challenges as leverage. Why do we do homework problems? To practice the skills so they will be useful in life

Real world problems have real world price tags. Grants exist to acquire the solutions to those problems at reduced social and economic cost.

What if we substituted real world problems for regular homework?

If we did that, the solutions would generate funds in the form of grants and donations. These funds can be paid to problem solvers as a scholarship or grant. We could also match donations to 501(c)3 organizations of the problem solver(s) choice. Imagine how much you would learn about the world we live in if your paycheck came with a matching donation to a charity of your choice? What if we gave this gift to our children in the form of scholarships, and allowed them to allocate matching resources to the areas they believe will help the most?

How much more research could universities accomplish if they could award scholarships for crowd-sourced solutions?  What could our recent graduates share with us, if they had the resources to act today

                                 We all know knowledge is power.

In the second third of our lives we trade money for time. We spend so much time educating ourselves because we know that knowledge gives us more money for our time. What if you could save just an hour a day on whatever you spend time learning about now? What would you be free to do if you could save years?

How many times, while we are learning something new, do we have a flash of inspiration, a what if moment? Then we think to ourselves, maybe it’s too impractical, maybe it wouldn’t work, maybe I’ll look into it when I have some more time, I really need to focus on _____.  Or worse, maybe we develop the idea, and realize we don’t have the time or resources to pursue it, and lock it away as a dream for another day. 

What if we took the time investment out of the equation?

Our map will allow you to search multiple concepts, and map all of the connections in between, so you can quickly see what you need to make your idea work.

If we can come together and make this happen, I believe we can spend much more than a third of our lives enjoying the beauty of self-directed, uninhibited experience, which as it turns out, is an optimal condition for new learnings to occur naturally. 


What We Need & What You Get

We are a 501(c)(3) organization, meaning every donation is tax deductible.

We are looking to raise $100,000 in our first round of funding. 

All donations up to the first $70,000  will go directly to development costs. 

$31,000Back-end Programming (Connecting all information)

$39,000 – 3-D visualization and information integration

The remaining $28,800* will go towards initial server and hardware costs as well as fulfilling all perks to all of our amazing contributors.

*(30,000 – 4% Indiegogo fee)

In the event that you are even more generous than we hoped:

Additional funds will go towards developing a collaborative intern program designed to teach college students nationwide how to develop and utilize a map of all of human knowledge, and use that information to tackle the biggest challenges facing our world today


The Impact

Technology is converging at an ever increasing pace. Open source resources are expanding to leverage this technology. Our goal is to integrate with high impact technologies as we continue to develop.

Once launched, we will have a platform for open source 3D printing CAD files to be freely searched, shared, integrated, and easy to use. What this means is that as you explore concepts, you can bring those concepts into reality without resistance. Anyone anywhere could rapidly prototype a solution to any problem paying only the cost of materials.

While we are developing our web based application, we will also be developing for virtual reality using Oculus Rift, Leap Motion, and Emotiv. 

Our board of Directors comes from the health-care community. One of our central missions is to improve healthcare outcomes across the board. In order for this to be accomplished, we all must be aware of issues impacting our health. Our first proof of concept of Unify Everything was conducted on the PubMed Database. We successfully mapped the articles based on connections found through citations. The average person however, does not have access to the articles themselves. We found that we could apply the same concept with open source, peer reviewed, scientific and medical journals. Because we can do this we can, as patients and practitioners, better understand the landscape of medicine and health. We will achieve a higher standard of health.

Risks & Challenges

Licensing of content:

There are many forms of knowledge which are legally protected. 

We work with open source knowledge sources so only the people that want to share end up sharing. 

Visit for information about the types of licenses we integrate.


That’s a lot of Information, can you handle it?

What makes this project doable, is that we don’t actually store the information, at least not at first. We work synergistically with organizations who are already storing the information we display. We store URLs & Lists of connections in order to create our maps. 

We are using a flash based system for our first iteration, and will expand to platform independent software soon afterwards. 

We will create programming challenges for the open source community to address any unanticipated technical issues. 


Other Ways You Can Help

Enough people coming together will make Unify Everything a certainty!

If you want to see this dream become a reality now, please share our campaign!

We need all the help we can get, and I’d love to hear from you.

If you have another way you’d like to contribute, or have any questions please email me directly, and I will respond to you personally.

Thank you all so much for being so amazing, we couldn’t be more excited to get Unify in the hands of everyone!

Dr. John Roehm

Executive Director/President

Unify Everything