Kevin Kelly

“Woven deep into the vast communication networks wrapping the globe, we also 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 is whispering to itself.”


Kevin Kelly, What Technology Wants
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What Technology Wants What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly
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