In one of those curious instances of synchronicity, right as I was sending Red Herring my “Hive mind” piece (the first installment of which is here), Nova Spivacks was posting “Minding the Planet: Minding the Planet: From Semantic Web to Global Mind,” which touches on some of the same themes– or more accurately, exemplifies some of the things I was trying to analyze. Some quotes:
This article presents some thoughts about the future of intelligence on Earth. In particular, I discuss the similarities between the Internet and the brain, and how I believe the emerging Semantic Web will make this similarity even greater….
While today most of the intelligence on Earth still resides within human brains, In the near future, perhaps even within our lifetimes, the vast majority of intelligence will exist outside of human brains on the Semantic Web….
I believe that the Internet (the hardware) is already evolving into a distributed global brain, and its ongoing activity (the software, humans and data) represents the cognitive process of an increasingly intelligent global mind….
The evolution of our planetary intelligence has been taking place for billions of years — it is a natural process, just like the evolution of human intelligence was long ago. The Semantic Web is merely the next step in this process whereby communicable ideas (memes), having already evolved technologies to externalize themselves outside the human mind (i.e. books, recording, software, the Web, etc.) are starting to evolve the ability to propagate intelligently and interact without human intervention. In other words, although today memes are for the most part completely immobile and static unless perceived within a human brain, with the advent of the Semantic Web the cognitive processes for running memes will begin to spread outside the human brain, enabling memes to “run” without depending on humans.
It’s quite a stimulating piece.
[To the tune of Pink Floyd, “Brain Damage,” from the album Pulse (Disc 2).]