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There's a ghost in my Internet

By Jules Quartly | China Daily | Updated: 2013-03-19 11:14

There were three items of interest forwarded to my inbox last week. They are factual but sound like science fiction because in them, the Web emerges to become the "ghost in the machine", a kind of amorphous link between bodies, minds and even machines.

First off, are your conversations increasingly interrupted by the need to go online and check information: What was the name of that guy? What year was it? Really? And how often do you turn to a search engine rather than expend the mental energy on recalling those facts or fictions? Increasingly, according to the latest study.

There's a ghost in my Internet

We are adapting to the Internet by adopting it as a cloud computer, an external hard drive for our own brains. It's a similar line of reasoning that hits speed dial on the phone rather than recall a long series of digits. And possibly why names learned long ago stick better than recently learned ones - though this truly does sound more symptomatic of advancing senile dementia.

According to the latest info on the subject, we are remembering where to search for things online, rather than storing the information itself, because we think this is a waste of gray matter space. The study led by associate professor at Columbia University Betsy Sparrow also appeared to show we try to mentally bury information if we know it can be easily searched.

Meanwhile, an "organic computer" made of brains is on the horizon. At labs in Duke University, North Carolina and another in Brazil, rats' brains were connected across the Web, enabling them to collaborate on tasks. The research, led by Miguel Nicolelis, showed it was feasible to communicate directly, brain-to-brain, across the bridge of the Web.


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