“The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created–created first in the mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them, changes both the maker and the destination.” – John Schaar, futurist.
I was toying with Schaar’s quote, exchanging the word future with ‘Internet’ (I include the World Wide Web under the Internet heading here.) It is intriguing to play with the idea that the Internet is the future. The quote exposes a dilemma of labeling, i.e. naming and defining something that is in a state of constant evolution and change.
If you consider the Internet in the context of this quote you can see a creation that keeps mushrooming in size, growing at an exponential rate. As it grows it evolves and changes. As we draw close to pinning summaries and definitions to it, it alters yet again. Now perhaps, we can claim the Internet (and its web) have become like the world’s oceans? Maybe, we can even go so far as to say the Internet has become a force of nature in and of itself? It appears to have grown so colossal that it has leapt beyond our ability to micromanage its mass. Just as the future is beyond our control so is today’s Internet.
What is the Internet beyond the machines and programs with their archives of information and endless chat? What has it become as it transcends the boundaries of clever software and smart devices? Every time we comprehend what the internet has turned into it poses new questions. Is it a place? A tool? An idea? A community? It is all these things and more, a giant protean shape-shifter born out of its own questions and answers. It has become a location for perpetual invention, a future that each of us can touch and mold. It is a great Tsunami wave of information. Does that make it an intelligence? A shared mind? Raw power?