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From the Internet of Things to the Internet of Brains


The Internet of Things (IOT) is all the rage right now. Certainly it’s exciting. But is there something even bigger just as close, if not closer? I think so.

You probably know that the Internet had been running out of IP addresses. So natch that’s been fixed, with the new IPv6 schema. With this new approach we get a lot of IP addresses. I know you want to know how many, so here you are:   340,282,366,920,938,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 unique IP addresses.

That’s 340 trillion, 282 billion, 366 million, 920 thousand, 938 — followed by 24 zeroes. I knew you’d be interested.

So now we’ve got a lot of things we can put addresses on. Certainly enough for the (IOT). Although that’s fashionable at the moment, for me that’s not the really interesting application of all these new addresses.

We’ve now got enough addresses, and then some, so that we can all – that is, each of us individually - have our own IP address! Think of it: I can now be 162.33.5049 instead of Ted Prince. Think what you can do with that!

Not the Internet of Things; instead the Internet of Brains (IOB)

Maybe your personal IP address is physically in a subcutaneous chip. Or your Fitbit band on your wrist. Or your iWatch. So now we truly have a handle on you.

Seriously, if everyone in the world can have their own IP address it opens up new and revolutionary possibilities. I can know where you are, instead of your phone. I can send everything you need to receive to your IP address instead of an email which might have been discontinued, your Twitter handle or your WhatsApp moniker.

But even that’s kind of boring compared with some of the things you can imagine. Maybe if you have some unique knowledge I can reference you through your IP address in citations and references. Or I can link you into multi-person networks in real-time just by IP address. So now we have a true online real-time personal network.

It gets better. I can do this with particular subject matter. Now I get a LinkedIn-style group that is online real-time knowledge sharing. You get where this is going right?

In science fiction we have always had the fantasy that the whole human race can be linked into one massive brain. It’s always looked like, well, science fiction.

But having all these IP addresses coupled with communicating chips like those used for the IOT changes the equation entirely. Suddenly a globally-linked intelligence becomes possible, even relatively easy, at least from a technical point of view.

And it’s not just about sharing intelligence and brains. It’s also about sharing emotions and feelings. So that we get the possibility of sharing feelings on a countrywide or even global basis as well as thoughts and insights.

Of course there is infinity of issues – privacy, the potential for harm not to mention politics and so on. So that poses a bunch of challenges that are now clearly much bigger than the technical ones.

But the IPv6 plan looks to most people like an arcane technical issue that only geeks should have an interest in.

Instead IPv6 might have been the final stepping stone to constructing a global unified intelligence.









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