In the last 30 years, the internet has become the main interface for publishing, accessing, and sharing information. Access to the internet can provide an instant connection between any two conscious human minds almost anywhere on the planet. Smartphones and social media are enhancing and accelerating the internet’s ability to connect people and centralize our individual thoughts, beliefs, and unified state of being.
The internet has become humankind’s collective mind and a digital representation of the collective consciousness. The internet helps to unify all of our individual thoughts, ideas, morals, and beliefs. Access to the internet has allowed these pieces of information to develop rapidly into a new modern form of the collective consciousness of humanity
Unfortunately, there are also cons. With paid online advertising, falsehoods, fake news, bad ideas, and corrupt agendas, can be used to manipulate massive amounts of people who are unaware. Internet is subjected to manipulation using digital technology, such as social media algorithms and automated scripts, for commercial, social or political purposes. Such tactics may be employed with the explicit intent to manipulate public opinion, polarise citizens, silence political dissidents, harm corporate or political adversaries, and improve personal or brand reputation. Hackers, hired professionals and private citizens have all been reported to engage in internet manipulation using software – typically Internet bots such as social bots, vote bots and click bots.
In a 2017 report, Facebook publicly stated that its site has been exploited by governments for the manipulation of public opinion in other countries – including during the presidential elections in the US and France. It identified three main components involved in an information operations campaign: targeted data collection, content creation and false amplification and includes stealing and exposing information that’s not public; spreading stories, false or real, to third parties through fake accounts; and fake accounts being coordinated to manipulate political discussion, such as amplifying some voices while repressing others.
Cognitive hacking refers to a cyberattack that aims to change users’ perceptions and corresponding behaviors. Internet manipulation is sometimes also used to describe selective Internet censorship or violations of net neutrality
In recent years, researchers such as neuroscientist Christof Koch have said that if there are enough connections between elements – like synapses in the brain – then consciousness may naturally start to form. The average human brain has 86 billion neurons, with some 100 trillion connections between them – does this mean that if something else has the same number of connections, it will also become conscious? Some believe so.
Like our brains, the internet is a massively connected entity, made up of computers, mobile devices and the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) – smart, networked objects including household appliances, wearable gadgets, vehicles and even entire factories. According to one estimate, the number of internet-connected devices will reach 125 billion worldwide by 2030. So the connectivity of the internet seems to be fast approaching that of our brain.
Just like a brain generates a conscious being inside it, could the internet do the same thing, synthesizing the disparate but combined knowledge of the digital age and emerging as a discrete consciousness all its own? This though supposes that human consciousness is an emergent property: it is something that emerges in a physical system when it reaches a certain level of complexity.” However, despite the advances of neuroscience, we’re no closer to understanding how the physical brain generates consciousness than we ever were.
Dr. Giulio Tononi, a neuroscientist and psychiatrist, similarly equates consciousness with integrated information. In his view, information is abundant in the universe because it’s present everywhere there’s physical causation (something every square inch of the universe is filled with to some degree).
Therefore (to put it in slightly oversimplified terms) he thinks consciousness is as pervasive as information and that almost every physical process contains a piece. In his example even a photodiode, a semiconductor junction device that converts light into an electrical current, has consciousness — exactly one bit of it.