Tuesday Tech Tip July 30 Print
Tuesday, 30 July 2013 10:44

The Living Internet?

Part of anticipating the best strategic decision you can make for your network is anticipating the future inventions that can/will impact the way business is conducted.  I like to think big, sci-fi big, and then scale down to the latest and greatest.  By using my imagination to see the big picture, I can usually discern what is a fad and what is on its way to changing our lives forever. My favorite big picture topic right now is the Internet as an organism. 

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines an organism as “a complex structure of interdependent and subordinate elements whose relations and properties are largely determined by their function in the whole”.   As a vast collection of information residing on a multitude of servers, the browsers we use actually fetch and retrieve information much like a human mind.  Biology Online goes further to explain an organism as “an individual living thing that can react to stimuli, reproduce, grow, and maintain homeostasis.”  Moore’s Law says that this year, 2013, semi-conductor growth will slow to double only every three years, meaning computational power has a somewhat predictable rate of growth and reproduction, while the Internet reacts to human stimuli - accessing it’s cells, or servers, to retrieve/duplicate information.  It’s pretty basic, but it converts the concept of the Internet from highway to organism in a meaningful way.

Let’s factor in artificial intelligence specifically when a complex system begins to understand it possesses information to organize, and can acknowledge its own capacity to restructure itself to respond to its own environment.   In fact the fastest supercomputer in the world has officially surpassed the human brain’s processing capabilities.  This computer requires far more power to run its processor than our mere 20 watts (9.9 million watts to be exact) and takes up a lot of physical space in comparison.  Some futurists think the Internet will become self-aware within the next decade, meaning autonomously capable of addressing its own needs and deficiencies.  This awareness should not be confused with self-consciousness; instead it is capable of developing survival instincts to adapt to its own environment.

We still have the ability to create, not just organize.  We have the ability to imagine and question, not just recall answers.  Nonetheless, should the day come when the Internet realizes it exists, what will we want to invent next? It thinks, therefore I am doing what?