I usually write about religion, psychology, and consciousness, but today I want to hit the problem of Internet’s evolution and its direction. A recent survey has shown that more than 61% of Internet traffic is non human-generated. This number can be an underestimation. Around two-thirds of Internet traffic comes from all kinds of bots, crawlers, and automated software (sometimes malicious). This tendency grows every year, slowly pushing “originally human” activities to Internet’s margin.
Our “information sphere’s” complexity grows constantly and the top level market is in desperate need for specialists who understand and can effectively manage and control it. Every now and then we find out that humanity doesn’t know even the Internet’s basic facts for sure — we humans don’t even know the size of Internet we have created, and the pure theory tells us that whenever the complexity of any system grows to its critical point (of our understanding and controlling abilities), entropy follows up and forces either destruction or major changes.
Despite Internet’s flexibility and non-hierarchical built, it’s still vulnerable: Internet users’ activities are vulnerable, (remember last time you couldn’t recover your password for some important service), governments and corporations web-services and networks (that so many people rely on) and search engines are vulnerable, and the worst thing — information, the Internet’s core, is also vulnerable to all kinds of manipulations.
A major thing of concern is that the Web becomes more and more user-friendly but human-hostile. Since any information had received a possibility to become monetized it has become less and less reliable or trustworthy. We have huge percentage of Web’s content either meaningless or misleading in the way profitable for its owner.
Viruses and malware are getting very sophisticated and smart having learned how to replicate and bypass defensive software. Hacker groups spamming and cheating, governments with surveillance services and corporations with their advertising, marketing, and PR departments have become major players reshaping Internet into something completely different than anyone could have expected ten years ago.
These competing interests and constant information wars shape the Internet as a sphere of unreliable information, with few responsibility and little understanding by most users, a sphere that we are hooked up to and can’t live without.
As nobody is “in charge” of the Internet, nobody really controls it and nobody is responsible for what’s going in.
As a result we have come to pretty chaotic Darwinian Web which doesn’t benefit humanity as a whole but serves just different groups’ powers.
People feel less comfortable in this new Internet, they experience more pressure and manipulation, and trustable information gets often pushed out from SERPs by high-rank marketed materials aiming to lead you the way someone else wants…
Another issue to consider in this respect is the rapid technology advance.
Dalai-lama had noted couple years ago that there might be bodhisattvas out there in the Internet (in Buddhism boddhisattva is an enlightenment being motivated by great compassion). Some commentators from religious side have gone with their interpretations of this statement as far as alluding to highest Buddhist authority stating the presence of Higher Consciousness (whatever it may mean) in the Internet. Leave it to religion, since our realms are science and research and as to these realms we can state with certainty that the only thing we can be sure of Artificial Intelligence is that high chances are that most of us will not notice its (and its capabilities) arrival because it’s to become its owners’ top secret. (We don’t truly consider sci-fi scenarios of AI appearing by itself or because of someone being careless).
Most of the science fiction predictions about life in XXIth century and technology development have proven false. We have a very vague idea of where are we heading and how to get there. The notion of what or whom is accompanying us on our journey is even dimmer.
With the development of Google glass-like devices, computerization of household and latest neural implanting techniques IT will get even closer to us, naturally becoming an inevitable part not only of our lives but of our bodies as well.
It’s role in mediating all human interactions will grow: for sure, we’ll be happy to give more technical control over Web (and over our lives) to the superefficient “brains” of technology-to-come, sacrificing a little of our power for a much more conveniences…
Is this Web of marketers’ and advertisers’ victory with AI’s figure at near horizon the one we’ve really dreamed of?
It looks too much like the mix of Matrix and Skynet worlds we are heading to…
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