Global SuperOrganism

Yet again Kevin Kelly over at The Technium writes this months best blog posting* with the Evidence of a Global SuperOrganism.

It's too much to summarise here but two key standout thoughts for me were:
How would we know if there was an autonomous conscious superorganism? We would need a Turing Test for a global AI. But the Turing Test is flawed for this search because it is meant to detect human-like intelligence, and if a consciousness emerged at the scale of a global megacomputer, its intelligence would unlikely to be anything human-like. We might need to turn to SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI), for guidance. By definition, it is a test for non-human intelligence. We would have to turn the search from the stars to our own planet, from an ETI, to an ii – an internet intelligence. I call this proposed systematic program Sii, the Search for Internet Intelligence.

... closely followed by:
in 2002 researchers analyzed some 300 million packets on the internet to classify their origins. They were particularly interested in the very small percentage of packets that passed through malformed. Packets (the message’s envelope) are malformed by either malicious hackers to crash computers or by various bugs in the system. Turns out some 5% of all malformed packets examined by the study had unknown origins – neither malicious origins nor bugs. The researchers shrug these off. The unreadable packets are simply labeled “unknown.” Maybe they were hatched by hackers with goals unknown to the researches, or by bugs not found. But a malformed packet could also be an emergent signal. A self-created packet. Almost by definition, these will not be tracked, or monitored, and when seen shrugged off as “unknown.”

Interesting eh.
Like the previous Technium posts I've mentioned it really does no justice to stay here - go over to The Technium and see what you think.

* in the category "detailed, well thought and probably should be printed in the Sunday papers, 'makes you think' section"


  1. Or they are corrupted packets. They pass over physical pathways, past electrical disturbances. And that 5% number is made up.
    I reckon it's the dolphins playing tricks on the southern cross cable.

  2. :-) Nice ... but who's controlling the dolphns, oh, the mice, of course


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