Sunday, March 18, 2007

How deep do we want to clone ourselves?

For individual web users, the evolution of World Wide Web is a history of incremental self-cloning (mentally, of course).

The traditional WWW (or we may call it Web 1.0) allows web users to create homepages to describe themselves. These homepages can show who they are and what they care about. Human readers may understand them. But there is no directly mutual communication between readers and homepages. So basically, Web 1.0 allows users to mentally clone themselves as babies.

Web 2.0 allows users to create personal accounts on various web sites. By subscribing to a web site, such as this one "," we can not only post information describing ourselves, but also enjoy community-specific services provided by individual community organizers (such as various blogging facilities here on ""). Moreover, these Web-2.0 accounts can actively perform various services for their owners by web feeds and widgets. From the individual point of view, it means that these accounts contain deeper implementation of humans' capabilities. This is why we can say that Web 2.0 allows users to mentally clone themselves as pre-school kids, a higher level of self-cloning mentally.

Tracing this orbit, future web evolution is going to more and more deepen this self-cloning of human web users. Users can materialize their mind, capabilities, and interpersonal relationships at deeper and deeper levels on the web. And these materializations can be behaved more and more close to their real-world copies, who are the original web users. So from one side, these online personal homepages or accounts are the virtual children of the web users. On the other side, they are actually are the mental clones of users themselves.

Now the question is: how deep do we want to clone ourselves? Do we really want to fully clone our thoughts? Will this trend lead to thinking machines? Will the nighmare of terminators become true some day? We don't know the answers yet. But the web is moving towards the answers of these questions.

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