The Internet is a Living Thing!

Ok, not really.  But I don’t think Sci-Fi is too off with their new movies that basically plot this exact idea.  I don’t think I fully understand what the internet is. Where is cyber space and where is all this information coming from?  In order to tackle this question I, ironically, used the internet itself and drew a few conclusions that I think will help me better answer how I feel about it.

As I scoured the internet I started making a weird connection: that the internet has eerily similar characteristics to a living thing.  There are 7 characteristics that make something “alive,” and here is why they can all be applied to the internet. As you read, keep in mind I really had to embrace my creative side here.

  • Living things are made of cells.  Looking at a single cell of the internet would be like looking at e-mail. A direct one-one function.  But lets add some more cells, a group e-mail between 50 people.  A hundred people.  Now, this group of cells, might as well be called Twitter.  A webpage of news that everyone can access.  The internet at it’s most basic is a means of communication, and the more cells involved only increases the audience to which you communicate.
  • Living things use energy.  Well, the link here is pretty obvious.  You can’t use the internet without some sort of energy source.
  • Living things respond to their environments.  Since the internet was developed, it’s environment has constantly changing.  Where it once only acted as a medium to a few big corporations, the internet now caters to billions of smaller species who are adding to and consuming the internet all at the same time.  The internet has responded to this informational environmental change by growing.
  • Which brings us to our next characteristic, that Living things grow.  The energy and material inputs have caused the internet to grow at an alarming rate.  This growth is evidenced clearly through the skyrocketing numbers of individual connectivity.
  • Living things reproduce.  The internet’s ability to reproduce information from one medium to another is still surprising people to this day. It take one person posting something to the internet, and within minutes, thousands of copied of that post can be resonated around the world.  We’ve all seen it happen, we know the stories, and scares many of us.
  • Living things adapt to their environments.  As the world changes, the internet will continue to adapt.  It will grow to account for increased use, it may change the medium in which we access it (maybe one day there will no longer be computers, just smart phones and tablets).  However it adapts, the internet 50 years from now may not resemble what it does to today.  Proof of this is comparing the internet now to how it looked 10 years ago. To see what I mean, CHECK THIS OUT and  The Internet a Decade Later.

What I learned by examining the internet from this view, is that the internet is a complex system, similar to what makes us alive.  It will grow, expand and has billions of intricate parts that sum up what it is as a whole.


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