John Pasmore's Occassional Blog

Web 3.0, Hal? by John


Kevin Kelly is the founding executive editor of Wired Magazine. I don’t remember how I came up on his YouTube presentation about Web 3.0, but aside from the shots of the audience, it’s the most compelling clip I’ve seen on YouTube to date.

Kelly reminds the audience that the World Wide Web, as we know it, is only 5,000 days old, give or take. And the amount of development we’ve witnessed in this period almost defies description, and certainly was not predicted at the outset.

Kelly’s thesis is, in part, that what we are really constructing is one GIANT computer. Each individual laptop represents a node in this newly engineered neural net. His description far exceeds mine and I highly recommend taking the time (some 42 minutres) to watch his presentation. But given his scenario, I’m not sure I am as pleased about it as he is.

We all generally agree that technology has improved our lives, but has it changed what we are as an “us” as well? Has being insulated from nature made us more unnatural? I see two sides to the coin in this technological march. There are tremendous benefits; medical advances that are amazing even if access is uneven, we’ve explored the universe and understand much of it with the brute computational power of these machines. But why do we need one GIANT computer? And why would we be happy about it?

His comment resonated as I had been thinking that Twitter was really one giant conversation, as opposed to many. It’s not even a conversation, but just short flashes of ideas and obervations from around the world, saying not so much individually. Aggregated, however, if all of those tweets were scraped and analyized, what does it tell us? What are the trends? What are “we” thinking. I wonder on Twitter if we would even know if we were talking to a person or a machine.

In any case, it’s something to think about, and perhaps “think” is all we can do as this march barrels ahead in one direction led by no one in particular to who knows where. It’s certainly got me thinking.

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