When I was a child, my hero was Albert Einstein (as well as Flash Gordon and Superman) as I have mentioned in earlier posts. Albert had four things that I identified with; 1) lots of crazy curly hair, 2) a Jewish mother, 3) could not tie his shoes laces (so my mother said) and 4) he did thought experiments like me although his would turn out to have far greater significant. At that time I did not know we both had a love of music. I may have known that he had but it would not be for sometime before I learned about my own passion for music.
I learned to do thought experiments when I was in a covalence home for a year at the age seven. I had extreme asthma and I think they figured the best way to treat me was to get me away from my mother. The “home” was by the way located where the Ronald McDonald House is just next to the Stanford Shopping Center for those of you the live in Silicon Valley. We would get great guest speakers like Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. Buffalo Bob Smith of the Howdy Doody show was my favorite. But I spent most of my time in my head and most of that time doing exercise (I did not know you were suppose to exercise with your body). I would change the colors of walls and furniture. I would rotate the room or even turn it upside down. I would try to imagine time as an object since I had lots of time to work with.
A year later when I was back at home that I discovered Albert. I found a science program on the radio. That program was my greatest teacher. Why do I mentioned this now? I guess I am still at it. I think constantly about the universe and existence and the role that human beings have in creating it. I think of the future and the past (I know I am suppose to be in the present and keep trying to do that). For most of my life, I have been convinced that the future influence the past. That it calls out to the past and can even effect events but in a subtle and limited way. I believe that there many paths towards the future but as we get further out in time these path are more limited. The best way to think of this is that there are many ways for water to run down a mountain but at the end the water will reach bottom and if at the bottom is a stream, the water will b e carried away by it. Paul Davies write about this in a sense in his book Cosmic Jackpot.
So back to thought experiments: I am wondering if the internet is evolving in much the same way as the brain has evolved with millions and eventually billions of nodes (neurons) connected to thousands and thousands of other nodes in a way in which there cannot be a single point of failure. And if the internet becomes cosmic intelligence than are we the makers of our maker? I know this is a bit weird but I am sitting looking out at a beautiful beach in Uruguay and as always reflecting on the magic of being.
Of course, such an idea (a self-evolving network becoming sentient) appeared many a times in Sci-Fi, but I think Orson Scott Card depicted it very nicely and without the ritual ‘…becoming sentient and killing the human race’ in his book, Speaker for the Dead. Recommended reading, no doubt.