11.2 Via the stratosphere to Singularity & Web 4.0.


    We are connected to everything, everywhere. Of course, many countries have an infrastructure, but what about when traveling or living in remote areas? In the desert, use BRCK, a smart, rugged device, that can connect to the internet in any way possible, hopping from one network to another or creating a hotspot for multiple devices, all while plugged in or running on battery power. Or, even more remote? Hook up to the Google balloons…up in the stratosphere (20 kilometers up), and a series of connected balloons become your hotspots. This is called Project Loon, and, according to Google, “Project Loon is a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space, designed to connect people in rural and remote areas, help fill coverage gaps, and bring people back online after disasters.”

    Besides connections, we need more speed. Moore’s Law is a rule of thumb in the history of computer hardware whereby the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years. It’s just that the end of this advancement is coming into view, even according to Moore, because of physical limitations that are placed on technologies. At a certain stage, a transistor can’t be “smaller than small.” This constraint is enhanced by Wirth’s Law: software is getting slower more rapidly than hardware is getting faster. This development could slow down the rise to the new mobile order.

    On the road to Web 4.0, we will increasingly monitor data flows, and be continuously connected to the Web and with each other. A set of intelligent tools and agents will filter and customize our information to our needs continuously. This requires different computer systems.

    In his Law of Accelerating Returns, Kurzweil sees technology in a broader context. He believes that many other issues are more important than the computer chip or software development. His starting point is an extraordinary combination of technology, economy, biology, physics, and sociology, which causes an exponential acceleration of innovation.

    Kurzweil named this the “Technological Singularity.” There will be a time when ingenious combinations of technologies will slow the aging process in people, so that the sharp rises in healthcare costs will be completely solved. One day, there we will have technology that can read someone’s emotions from a distance. If we can follow the principles of the Singularity, we can shift into top gear, and human and artificial intelligence will amalgamate into the so-called Global Brain. Some have predicted this will happen in 2040. So, Web 4.0 may be this Global Brain.

    The scientist Peter Russell mentioned the Global Brain in 1983. He explored the idea that the Earth is an integrated, self-regulating living organism, and asks what function humanity might serve for this planetary being. It suggests that we stand on the threshold of a major leap in evolution as significant as the emergence of life itself.
    Vernor Vinge calls this global brain the Digital Gaia. But Vinge warns us too: "in the 20th century, there was the specter of nuclear warfare. In the 21st, nuclear terror is very real, but there is also distributed terror and the consequent government drive to use embedded networks for ubiquitous law enforcement". And Vinge had no knowledge, in 2000 when he wrote this article, of the NSA actions of our time.

    The Dutch academic Gerard Jagers op Akkerhuis advocates an “Operator theory,” He argues that this Singularity is to be the next logical step in human evolution. On the website www.hypercycle.nl, you can explore where and when artificial intelligence will overtake human intelligence.

    We can only hope that the benefits and necessities of all these developments will be measured in relation to the wellbeing of the whole of humanity.

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