On becoming hive-minded

As someone who witnessed the glow of Internet dawn from its blood-red beginnings, I am continually fascinated by this giant web of information that has expanded to connect (in one way or another) all but a few minds on this planet. I love how it’s changing us.

I love this bizarre feeling I get when I use the internet to answer a question these days- this feeling of becoming hive-minded. Maybe you get it, too.

With every search bar query, I feel this sense that I’m mechanizing, becoming a bit or a transistor within a gigantic saturated layer of radio and fibre optic that sits atop six thousand kilometres of rock and beneath five hundred kilometres of gas. I feel like I’m turning into a tiny, conductive piece in a bizarre liquid chrome tangle that infiltrates every country on the planet.

It’s changed how we ask questions. I barely even need to know what my question is; I can simply start typing the words associated with a curious notion that pops into my brain and I am immediately served with the most likely question that I am considering. In tandem with losing the need to complete my question, I’ve lost the requirement to even know what I want.

My question (and its answer) pops up alongside other questions from ten thousand other minds driven by similar impulses and asking the same questions. The chaotic, social network to which we pose these questions can now prepare half of the recipe for curiosity, simply with pattern-matching and popularity.

But I’m not interested in what’s popular, at least not all of the time. I’m trying to look upward, beyond the layer of gas under which I stand, and downward beneath the rock at my feet. I’m curious about what happens next. I want to know what happens after our network, our Internet, is incorporated into deeper facets of our collective thought processes. Soon, it will go further than just encroaching on curiosity. Soon, it will read us like the obsolete books already gathering carbon dust in its annals.

Whereas many people confess fear when confronted with immersing their consciousness into some larger hive mind, I can only think of it as freeing. Maybe it’s being an over-analzyer that makes me relish the idea of outsourcing my thought processes; maybe it’s my ardent techno-idealism. To agonize over becoming hive-minded is useless- there is no going backwards, only forwards.

Whenever I search on the Internet, I like to scan the list of predicted questions. I’m looking to what others want, because I think that it broadens my understanding of my fellow bits. We are becoming hive-minded, and our need for connection is growing.

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