On the plane reading "Wired: 13.8" - "We are the Web"
I’m on the airplane en route back home after the UC and I just finished reading the entire August edition of WIRED, which features articles on the 10th Aniversary of Netscape going public in 1995.
I was a college freshman then, excited and intreguied by the Internet at school, and hashing out early HTML for fraternity and university websites. Anyway, that tapered off when I left school for “a more rewarding career” of driving the Short Bus. But now I’m back at it. A geographer and a technologist, in an exciting field, but nonetheless in a restrictive buracracy. I am frustrated and fueled at the same time. Standing up to “fight the good fight” and “to do the Lord’s work.”
Reading “We Are the Web” by Kevin Kelly here on the plane, my brain went into overdrive with thoughts of how the GeoWEB, hypergeography (a lame attempt to tag the evolution of geospatially enabled hypermedia), and us will emerge as what Kevin calls "The Machine" that will connect every sensor (RFID tags, people, etc) together to make a neural network more complex, more dynamic and grows more rapidly than the human brain.Some crazy SkyNet stuff, is it not?
The web is growing and society is producing more information than it is consuming. The combination of The Machine learning and us as engineers and geographers giving it the ablity of spatial awareness and sight (combo of slippy map services and geospatially tagged Flickr images) we are creating a reflection of ourselves. This is probably why in the article people are hedging their bets that the Internet will be the first self-aware AI. Heck, it’s never off, we teach it to learn, to see, to feel, to touch, to talk, and to know where it is. It will be us and we will be it.
An interesting thought caught my mind though when Kevin talked about the future wen here the human/web will be embedded with one another. Imagine that we’re all linked to everything (yes, Borg-ish), but our children will have left their memories for their children. This future growth causes an exponential increase in our own neural development as a species and will allow us (and it) to learn from all of our mistakes.
Now, how spooky does that sound: instantaneous wisdom? Anyway, I don’t think we have anything to fear as in The Terminator movies. We will still have our compassion and our reason. Hopefully, transferring those traits to The Machine, which will be all of us?