Thursday, November 17, 2005
The Machines & Us
I've been a big fan of Kevin Kelly, the founder editor of the Wired Magazine, for quite a while. Recently, when I was in US, I had a chance to buy his book Out Of Control which I had partially read it on his website - again a while ago, I guess. Even after 11 years after its publication, the book hasn't lost its charm. I think it will not for another 5-10 years at the least. His book is what I would call "a book of ideas" and a book where he mulls what's learnt and makes educated guess on what it will be. I ran a search on Google news, and found his latest article here It talks about a WebOS, the all knowing intelligence that our Net will be, similar to the AIs in Arthur Clark & Stephen Baxter - my favorite science fiction author(s). It's a fitting analogy to compare the human brain to the Net. But what's the analogy of consciousness will be? The consciousness, unbeknownst to itself, commands the brain to do what it wants. Now, all the computers sit there interlinked...and does the consciousness emerge itself as it does in human brains? I think, we have not understood the origin of consciousness yet, no? You just have the infrastructure and bingo, the consciousness emerges? I'm not too widely read to even fathom that question. But it's interesting indeed for me to come out of my blogging slumber and record it. I've been an application developer for the past 10 years from dBase, Clipper to now .Net. Yeah, what would an application developer know! But, I think, I've read and intuitively understand enough to realize that Network and software that evolves is the future. I can easily imagine what Kelly points to - A Web that learns from the actions of its users - prosumers. Right now, the web is a tangle of standards: CGI, PHP, ASPX and ASP etc. They are mostly designed and written to serve up what their masters are meant to. We have protocols on how information travels on the web and how the handshake and the further response of the Web Server (a piece of software that requires a PC with an Operating System). What shall push the Web to become the Ultimate Observer? I do not know. The infrastructure - consciousness - for that, I feel, is yet to emerge.