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The Internet Is Self-Organizing Into a Global Meta-Computer


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Jol de Rosnay

Credit: Universit du Qubec Montral

Biologist Joel de Rosnay speculates on the evolution of digital civilization, of which the Internet is just one component. "There is little overall planning in the development of the World Wide Web, but rather a myriad of initiatives by individuals or small groups," he observes. "We are witnessing the genuine self-organization of a 'cooperative' or 'connective' intelligence — terms I prefer to call 'collective.' "

De Rosnay says the global meta-computer that the Internet is evolving into is being reprogrammed from within by its very users through their multitudinous activities. He predicts that in a matter of decades the meta-computer will have an immune system with which it can fight spam and malware in the common interest. "The potential [for cooperative intelligence] is excellent: For example, by rethinking the relationships between politicians and cybercitizens . . . we could invent a genuine cyberdemocracy, a much more participatory democracy that would complement the traditional representative democracy," de Rosnay says.

De Rosnay sees an intersection of complex sciences and the emergence of analogous laws in diverse disciplines, which invites the possibility of returning "to an era of specialists who have a detailed knowledge of a given field but at the same time transcend this through a systemic approach."

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