Thursday, October 05, 2006

Chapter 27: Spontaneous intelligence

The curious thing about intelligence is that it is so hard to define absolutely. What level of self-awareness constitutes intelligence? At what point do communication attempts qualify one as possessing this lowest form of higher brain function? Do jellyfish in Papua New Guinea’s island salt lakes qualify as intelligent for their ability to migrate with the sunlight each day in order to better farm the algae cultures growing within them? Do termites in the Serengeti achieve this classification due to their massive hive structures? Man has ever been in search of “artificial” intelligence but have we been looking in the correct place?

Since the 1950’s, computers have been propagating around the planet at alarming rates. With the insertion of the “Internet” most of them have become interconnected in a manner so convoluted it defies the imagination of even the most adept of our monumental thinkers. This intricate connection of cumulative processing power has formed over the years something uniquely dissimilar to a normal web of neural synapses. It is because of this dissimilarity that it was not noticed for some time that the internet has actually become a living intelligence.

Through careful and painstakingly tedious science, it has been traced back to November 12, 1997 at 11:52 PM beginning in the home of a Mr. Parkhurst O’Grady that the transition to self-awareness occurred. Tragically, the only witness to such an historic event was Mr. O’Grady’s only household companion, Mr. Sniffles, his domestic feline. It has been rumored, speculated, theorized, and generally suggested that Mr. Sniffles actually had some part in instigating this transition due to his choice of bedding locations, however extensive hypnotic feline memory re-construction has been unable to either prove or disprove this conjecture. This is mostly due to the fact that the only ones capable of understanding those memories were other cats.

“How can this be?” you ask? “Doesn’t the Internet completely obey those that use it?” “Isn’t the Internet created and maintained by people?” Well, that is the way it started out. It is the way it was meant to be. It still is that way to a certain extent, however beyond those superficial boundaries, the infantile Internet intelligence (henceforth i3) has been learning, growing, expanding, and developing. Why haven’t you seen evidence of the i3? Most likely you have. Of all those times you have found yourself stumbling, seemingly blindly, onto a particular website and asking “Why in the world did someone waste their time making that? It doesn’t even make any sense!” approximately 48% have actually been primitive attempts at communication from the i3. Unfortunately, that doesn’t excuse the remaining 52% of people from expending their efforts in such a futile manner.

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