In this chapter Robin Wood speculates that the increasing complexity of human connection and the ongoing revolution in technical/economic development are creating the possibility of a more intelligent, harmonious, and nurturing world.
In the mid-1980s, “mind map” guru Peter Russell predicted a phase transition on Earth when the number of nodes in the global communications system reached 10 to the power of 10, or 10,000,000,000. The idea was that the increasing density of communications nodes and activity might lead to a “global brain” on Earth. Back then, Russell’s ideas seemed an exciting dream—the prospect of the denizens of planet Earth living in intelligent harmony together. Today, of course, we have the Internet, with a billion users predicted by 2004–5. It seems that we now have a situation quite different from Russell’s vision, but not necessarily much better—the World Wide Web has become the worldwide wait, a medium glutted with much poor-quality content, with as much downside as upside, including privacy invasion, hacking, and junk mail.
Perhaps, as with any mass medium before it, we find the Web expressing popular culture as well as human ignorance, just as often as we discover intelligence and wisdom. Mass connectivity may not guarantee