internet and consciousness

Gerald McNerney mcnerney at
Thu Feb 2 16:27:01 EST 1995

Is the internet ever capable of attaining consciousness?  How can we 
tell if it has?  Should we try to make developments in the internet that 
will make it more likely to become conscious?

There are some superficial similarities between the internet and a 
biological neural net.  In the internet, many sub-units (people with 
PC's) are communicating with each other, like neurons in a biological 
unit.  There are also vast stores of information available to internet.

There are major differences:  In a biological network, all the sub-units 
are operating for the well-being and longevity of the biological unit.  
 In internet, we are all pursuing our own goals, giving little for the 
survival of the internet.  In higher vertebrates, the brain is organized 
into many specialized sub-systems that communicate with each other using 
many methods such as excitatory and inhibitory actions.  The neural 
system in a body is responsible for sensory input: motor control, both 
voluntary and autonomic, hormone secretion, and many other functions 
that have helped it evolve into the conscious organ that it is.  The 
internet seems to be lacking many of these functions.

Any ideas? - gm

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