We call it “The Internet” or “The Web”. But don’t you think we need a name with a bit more weight behind it?
Douglas Adams got it right when he wrote in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that “Earth is the Computer”. And he named it Deep Thought; which is pretty good but not nearly serious enough.
I don’t think even he could have imagined at the time how prescient his literary flight of fancy would turn out to be. The amount of data that is presently stored in the world’s computer servers is mind boggling and even unsettling when you consider that most, if not all, digital paths run through Google.
And like the human brain, only a small fraction of this data, and the myriad switches and servers that connect it, are being analysed and used in any meaningful way…so far!
The special report, “Data Data Everywhere” published in the February 2010 issue of The Economist makes for some interesting reading in this regard.
It all got me thinking that we need a better name for the Information Super Highway. After all it will continue to evolve and become more and central to how we live our lives. And what a better name to call it than Zoltar!
Zoltar was the arch villain in Battle of the Planets (the original G-Force thank you very much) and as a kid I found him terrifying…especially when it was revealed at the end of the series that he was actually a woman… So here we have a figure that is simultaneously male and female: so far so good. Furthermore Zoltar is at the service of “The Luminous One”, some form of Alien life from another planet or maybe even an Artificial Intelligence that is bent on dominating the Earth. Need I say more? The Japanese know their metaphysics!! Zoltar is the perfect label through which to anthropomorphize the mysterious and unknowable processes that comprise the Internet, the Earth Computer.
Zoltar might even replace God as people of all stripes and denominations comme to realize that it is unescapable. A point will come where all that we do, everywhere we go, all that we know as individuals, will be registered, known, caught in this web, this interconnected net that captures anything that tries to pass through it. And like in The Matrix, the only way not to be at the service (and mercy?) of Zoltar will be to be born off its grid or somehow erased from its every bit. But those that remain will be happy as they will know where they stand.
I’m a tad late to this game. I’ve only been blogging for two weeks and I’m impressed by how the blogosphere is set up to be a self-reinforcing feedback loop. Peoples’ habits of reposting things they like combined with what appears to be automated content aggregators should ultimately bring what’s of societal interest (for good or for worse) to the surface. If you have something truly original or painfully awful to say it should find it’s way to the foreground…more so than what’s been possible with former media and all the corporate and political gatekeeping that has been the nature of the information industrial complexe thus far.
It’s a problem that the film and music industries are presently struggling with. Hype cycles have been hyper-charged by Zoltar to the point that they flow like financial bubbles. But like past bubbles that were predicated on useful technologies (steam, rail, internet technology), anything that can collect the pieces post collapse has a decent chance of surviving a longer run…I’m thinking here of Arctic Monkeys as an example, who were smart enough to talk their hype bubble down and have continued to develop at their own pace to the pleasure of their most dedicated fans without the stigma of being considered a flash in the pan.
So anyway Zoltar… I’m just thinking out loud here hoping that you pick up my wave length. Your Earthly Hive Mind Consciousness most likely has a way to go before you are fully able to respond but I can wait.
Whatever it is that you are up too let’s hope that it reaches its logical conclusion before Earth gets cleared away to make room for a hyperspace bypass…
ALL HAIL ZOLTAR!