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some good old internet optimism

In Wired's look-back at "10 years of boom, bust, and sock puppets" since Netscape went public in 1995, Kevin Kelly's article 'We Are the Web' provides an interesting look forward. It's been a while since we heard such jubilant talk of the internet, but this is up to the level of his 1999 'New Rules for the New Economy' again.

Combining, essentially, Toffler's idea of prosumerism with McLuhan's idea of media as extensions of man, the internet will become (or already is) one planetwide Machine. Fed information with every mouseclick, Google search, blog post, e-mail and web page we create, this Machine is bound to become an extension not only of our memory, but of our brain. In short, it will become intelligent. We are all jointly creating that mythical AI that no amount of laboratory research has accomplished.

Or as McLuhan asked in 1964:

...might not our current translation of our entire lives into the spiritual form of information seem to make of the entire globe, and of the human family, a single consciousness?

Like I said, some good old internet optimism. But still a cool idea.

Update: See also 'The Machine is Us/ing Us', which boils down web 2.0 to a five minute video.


information, pt. 2

Now, there is something obscene about the instant replication of an event, act or speech and their immediate transcription, for some degree of delay, pause or suspense is essential to thought and speech. The immediate totting up, itemizin… Read the full post »

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