Wednesday June 28th 2017

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The universe in a planet

You noticed right? Does network social mean social network? No, not at all. That’s because it’s network social and not the other way around. But that’s syntax while we’re talking about something different here, semantics for example. That is not to explain how something which is socially interesting can be quickly shared among a group of people connected together, but instead how a network can be social.  Social means to me being part of the community, being properly understood by the community hence being correctly used by the community. So, from a social perspective: why the hell should I be interested in what my buddy is wearing, drinking, eating, reading, watching, listening, clicking, playing, washing, ironing, fucking etc.?? Possible answers are:

a) that means stay connected
b) that means social networking
c) my friend’s attitudes are not published on the Daily Star
d) it’s not my fault if in the real life nobody cares about me

Maybe other interesting questions would be: what should I do on the network? If I’m alone at home, should I be alone on the net too? I believe the foundation of the word “social” is everything else but “alone”. That’s probably why someone invented on the net a concept like “follower”. If you don’t follow anybody you simply don’t know where to go or in another way, if nobody follows you, you might feel alone, get lost and that is not social at all. So, my best answer to that would be: what I usually do on the network depends on what I know about the network.

Ask yourself what “the Internet” is. Do you think you might be able to answer that question? You might come up with something well focused like: “it is the net of the nets”, or eventually with something matrix-wise like: “Internet is all around us”. Good, but would you be able to know how many IP addresses are active on the Internet? Do you even know what an IP address is… you social networker? Then you should read again my answer above and think about it. What do we really know about “the network”?

Just to give a number: 4,294,967,296 is the maximum number of addressable nodes in the net by far. Excluding some reservation, that is more or less the measure. No, it’s not. Those are only “entry points”, in most cases we can’t be sure about what’s behind them. Also, something new is on the way that will move that number to something like: 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456. That makes that number before so small!

Did you ever ask yourself if there’s any place, any square meter in our planet where a human being has never put his foot on. Possibly not. Times for explorations ended years ago, now we supposedly know everything. Yeah, supposedly.
Let’s start from a question then: What is the difference between the planet Earth and the Internet?
I’ll discard the most obvious answers and I’ll proceed straight to a very philosophical one:
The Internet is something we invented and created. We definitely heard a couple of ways on how the world was created (and possibly by who), but the point is that the world was already there when we arrived. We took our time to have a look around and nowadays we can say we know it. We know every square meter of it (supposedly remember). Now, Internet is something we’ve built with our own hands. It has been developed under our own eyes. How could we say that we don’t know it?
Just look at the pictures below:

The Internet – 2005    vs   Earth planisphere

Well, I’m not supposed to give geography lessons here but, as a matter of fact, it’s worth noticing that the picture on the left end side is not complete and is not even up to date. While on the right end side, as far as I know, since Atlantis disappearing there has not been any update.
We have to point out then, if five or few more years have no effect in the topography of the (pla)net, they sure have it on the net.
To me it looks like comparing a planet with a whole galaxy. It’s funny to think about a planet that contains an entire galaxy isn’t it? It might open loads of scientific theories and fantasies, although we’re not gonna do that.
Now, think about google earth for a minute. Thanks to google earth we virtually know every square meter of our planet and we can even get rid of that “supposedly”. We might not have put our foot on that square meter, but at least we can have a look at it.
So, just to summarize: we live in a planet that contains a galaxy that contains tools that can discover our planet much better that we’ve done so far. An inner part that can have a look at whole outer part. I know it’s just a concept but keeping the astrophisic log: it’s like having a possibility from our planet to have a look at the entire universe from outside. That nearly scares me.
Question now: is there a google…… internet? Yes, absolutely, there is. Are we able to discover “that galaxy” with the same tool that can discover our planet? Well, try it yourself and you will see the only thing you can get from it are web pages. Loads of web pages. You might have a look at the first two or three links if you’re a bit lazy. You might go forward and look all the links of the first page if you want to try hard. You might even try to browse the other pages if an explorer soul fits inside you. Does this “searching” give you a perception of what is on the internet or how big is the internet or what stars, planets, continents, countries is internet made of? Hard to say.
So, we go from here to the original statements. The galaxy (the Internet) it’s too big. We don’t know exactly where to go except for the places where everybody goes. That’s more or less what is happening on the planet (the Earth) though. Does not everybody still watch big brother on tv? So we wonder why facebook is so succesfull?  We have a planet and a galaxy collapsed in the same space, we have the chance to switch between them, but from the social point of view we seem to behave in the same way in both these two dimensions. We’re always running on the surface because it’s easier to understand, although we might loose important pieces underneath.

We know how fast internet has been growing up and how it’s still growing, but how can we have the perception about how big it is and what it contains if we just look at web links? At some stage we realize that it’s easy to discover a planet surface because it’s only phisycal, while internet holds different states and layers, including something we might not even know.
How can we be sure there isn’t anything else behind “the Internet”, something still hidden somwhere, some all alone node or single web-page or a lonely internet server left behind. Totally unexplored areas because we don’t have a big eye that can look from outside and take pictures of them.

I might think absurdly at some stage, what about if the internet has acquired a kind of self conscience in the meanwhile, right after the new economy big bang, and it started to grow up by itself. A digital mother nature showed up (maybe with the help of a bunch of subversive perl scripts) and now it rules and looks after the overall system and then it instructs all the digital being on how to reproduce themselves.  All of a sudden the connected routers and switches and the other digital entities started to generate other entities they all connect themselves to the network and they assign themselves an IP address and they run secret services which we don’t know nothing about.

All right, maybe that sounded a little bit bizarre and sci-fi material for some other b-movie we’ve seen already. Yes, we might consider oursleves so intelligent to understand that bits and bytes do not generate anything and that the Internet it’s just something we invented for a purpose that originally was something different from what we now believe it is; and the purpose it’s not always what drives the scope of a research anyway. We just start searching for something, until as usual we convice ourselves that what we’ve found it is exactly what we were looking for, probably because we can only rely on google’s searches and we just assume that if it can’t find it, nothing else can.
Ok, let’s just shut this net-galactic-conspiracy theory down. Right now we can for sure enjoy the time that takes for the human to digital being transition. After all, the days where machines rule the world have not come yet. So, you just keep on following that buddy, it will make you feel safe… and always connected.

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