A New Life Form

From the pages of The Daily Drivel

The internet tribalizes us.

There were hopes at the beginning that it would educate us, connect us, and make us more harmonious. Instead, it dumbs us down, fragments us, and raises walls between factions—conservative versus liberal, rich against poor, religion versus religion versus non-belief, the educated elite versus the low information masses, black versus white, flat earth versus round. Up versus down!

Nobody has to read or listen to anybody they disagree with, they can talk to only those with the same world view. Compromise becomes a dirty word and flame-wars ensue. What we’d hoped would be a bridge instead becomes a barrier, counterpart of a Trumpian wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

The internet takes us where it wants, developing its own agenda, and nobody knows where or what that is yet. You have to wonder, with such a vast network of nodes and interconnections, daily getting vaster, if it’s not developing a crude consciousness of its own, a consciousness we’re not aware of in the same way that a neuron in our own brains is totally unaware of who we are or what we think.

Or maybe it’s the next primordial sea, cyberspace for a new Cambrian explosion of virtual life forms—cell engulf cell, fish gobble fish, dog eat dog. Maybe it’s the next stage of evolution, the technological one, the one that outstrips and supersedes biological evolution and eventually makes us obsolete.

We thought we’d be able to control the internet, but instead, it controls us. Whatever it is or ultimately becomes, the best we can do, ever, is attempt to imbue in it the best of our own views and values, and hope that it acquires a soul—a collective soul—that somehow looks back on us as beloved ancestors. A soul that somehow embodies good rather than evil … if it doesn’t first, intentionally or otherwise, help us destroy ourselves.

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