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Technology Wants YOU to Surf the Web.

"Technology wants mindfulness," says Kevin Kelly in What Technology Wants, which I've been listening to for the last few days.

Kelly calls the aggregate of all technology the Technium, and provides some persuasive thought exercises as to why it's valid to think of the Technium as being a seventh order of life, on its own evolutionary path.

He says that sentience is entering into everything the Technium produces, by means of tiny decision-making technologies, chips with about the processing capacity of the brain of an ant.

The World Wide Web, he says, is an organism, and not just metaphorically. It is evolving its own evolvability, accelerating its own acceleration, and exhibiting many key characteristics of evolving life.

The human brain has about a hundred times as many links as the Web has today, but, Kelly points out, "brains are not doubling in size every few years. The machine is."

And we're writing its software.

When we post and then tag pictures on Flickr, we are teaching the machine to give names to images. The thickening links between caption and picture form a neural net that can learn.

The 100 billion times per day that humans click on one web page or another is a way of teaching the Web what we think is important. Each time we forge a link between words, we teach it an idea.

We think we are merely wasting time when we surf mindlessly or blog an item, but each time we click a link, we strengthen a node somewhere in the supercomputer's mind, thereby programming the machine by using it.

So surf away, babies! It's What Technology Wants.

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