From Kevin Kelly's What Technology Wants:

    Woven deep into the vast communication networks wrapping the globe, we find evidence of embryonic technological autonomy. The technium contains 170 quadrillion computer chips wired up into one mega-scale computing platform. The total number of transistors in this global network is now approximately the same as the number of neurons in your brain. And the number of links among files in this network (think of all the links among all the web pages of the world) is about equal to the number of synapse links in your brain. Thus, this growing planetary electronic membrane is already comparable to the complexity of a human brain. It has three billion artificial eyes (phone and webcams) plugged in, it processes keyword searches at the humming rate of 14 kilohertz (a barely audible high-pitched whine), and it is so large a contraption that it now consumes 5 percent of the world's electricity. When computer scientists dissect the massive rivers of traffic flowing through it, they cannot account for the source of all the bits. Every now and then a bit is transmitted incorrectly, and while most of those mutations can be attributed to identifiable causes such as hacking, machine error, or line damage, the researchers are left with a few percent that somehow changed themselves. In other words, a small fraction of what the technium communicates originates not from any of its known human-made nodes but from the system at large. The technium whispering to itself.


Historically speaking, gods were created in the image of man (or the fun-house reflections of aspects of humanity), then people forgot why the gods were invented and so those gods became "fact" until a greater understanding of the world emerged. What if in this instance, human beings are unwittingly creating a real god, or a consciousness or being that will effectively be a god?

In some sense, I think that the one of the many reasons why there are so many dystopian futures in science-fiction is that there is a deep seated suspicion in the collective unconscious that should an all-powerful being exist, that it wouldn't particularly like humanity.

In any event, there is a particular symmetry to the natural world giving rise to a pantheon or even an ineffable creator figure giving rise to the agency and power of humans, who in turn, create a being or class of beings much greater than themselves in a universe increasingly influenced by human hands.

posted by theadvancedapes: 2048 days ago