Ever since I plugged into the blog network, I’ve liked the metaphor of blogs as neurons. Jon Udell here writes the essay I wish I had written: InfoWorld: The network is the blog. There’s a shorter summary of the same thing on Jon’s Radio.
Blogs are natural filters and amplifiers. Owing to the quirks of their authors, they participate in many (seemingly) unrelated themed subnetworks which they are constantly forming, dissolving, and reforming. This is a good approximation of actual neural circuitry. But suppose something more literal is going on. Suppose that what started as a metaphor turned out to be a fairly direct observation of the fact. The question that everyone is asking is when does this information network, blogs and all, turn into some sort of cohesive entity that is more than simply a big noisy network? To put that in “cosmic” terms, as Udell might say, when does the network wake up? When does it become the sort of intelligent noosphere that de Chardin dreamed about? And if it does wake up, is there any reason to suppose we could detect it? It may be marveling at us right now even as we marvel at it.
Everybody look up and say “hi!”