We are inherently social creatures and lead interactive lives with others in the context of a social fabric.
The birth of BCI technology will make human beings move towards group thinking, and the most powerful application will be cloudminds.
A cloudmind would be, as the term suggests, a mind in the Internet cloud.
This would be sort of thinking capability that is virtual, located in Internet databanks without having a specific body or other physical corporeality.
The notion of a cloudmind is perhaps not so much a new idea as a new label that connotes a greater range of functioning.
Prototypical cloudminds already exist in the sense of automated cloud-based systems that coordinate the processing activity of multiple agents.
One such prototype is Mechanical Turk, an algorithmic system for organizing individuals to perform online tasks that require human intelligence.
A second cloudmind prototype is the notion of humans as a community computing network. The idea is that humans, in their everyday use of data, perform a curation, creation, and transfer function with the data. Humans actively transform, mold, steward, and produce data in new forms by interacting with it. Data is active and living, dynamically engaged by humans as a community computer, each person a node operating on data and re-contributing the results back into the network.
A third kind of cloudmind prototype is “big data,” the extremely large data sets that are analyzed computationally to reveal patterns (such as Amazon and Netflix recommendation engines). This “algorithmic reality” is an increasingly predominant feature of the modern world. Big data takes on entity-level status in the notion of the cloudmind, where big data is envisioned as a whole, quietly crunching in the background. The dual nature of technology (having both “good” and “evil” uses) can be seen in big data. On one hand, big data might be seen as contributing to our lives in helpful ways including by reducing the cognitive load required to deal with administrivia. On the other hand, a worry is that big data may not be just guessing our preferences but starting to manufacture them for us.