I'm reading Ray Kurzweil who says the the Singularity is Near. While nay-sayers claim his science is questionable, I say he sounds pretty bright to me. The basic gist is because of exponential growth in technology (ie Moore's law) we're on the cusp of revolutionary changes in what it means to be human. We will transcend our bodies through technologies ranging from advanced medical DNA engineering to nano technology and the internet itself. We will become immortal within 20 years. (…says Ray)
I'm perusing an issue of Wired where they talk about Petaflops and the end of science as the process of discovery changes from "hypothesis -> proof" to "real model -> observation." By connecting billions of people with billions of computers and cell phones, you create a global network that is quite similar to the human brain but on a much more massive, and speedy scale. Computer processors got faster than human synapses in the late 90's. Your brain still has billions more neurons than your computer has switches in its processor, but if you start connecting everyone's computer through the internet you can imagine the computers beating us before long. The internet = huge brain.
The more self expression and meaning that can be digitized on various cross linked web sites, the more complex the system becomes. At some point you get complex enough to call it "conscious." Have a hard time believing that the only thing that makes us conscious is complexity? Is a flat worm conscious? Nope. How about a monkey? Well that's got personality. Both have neurons its simply a question of quantity and cross connections.
Well, on the internet cross connections are most easily expressed in HTML. For better or worse, hypertext as expressed through a combination of HTML, XML, and CSS is the best way we have for documenting the meaning and cross connections of the content that makes humanity interesting. Making web pages = good. Think of it as a kid with a tiny brain figuring out how things go together. Learning is work. Twittering, blogging, sprucing up your mySpace page – that's all worthy contributions to the group consciousness. One day we'll all be immortal thanks to your selfless labor and kewl cat pictures.
The only downer is blogs, twittering and social networking sites kinda suck. Building a website the way you want to and being able to edit the copy without learning complex tools is key. You can't expect a kid to learn, playing one game over and over again. In my eyes, blogs are nice because they're easy to use – but the price you pay is your creativity is very limited. What we need is a more flexible way for people to easily edit web sites that don't have to be blogs. ie, concrete5.
Ergo, use concrete5 – it's going to replace your brain one day.