World Wide Mind: The Coming Integration of Humanity, Machines, and the Internet

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Simon and Schuster, Feb 15, 2011 - Science - 256 pages
3 Reviews
What if digital communication felt as real as being touched?

This question led Michael Chorost to explore profound new ideas triggered by lab research around the world, and the result is the book you now hold. Marvelous and momentous, World Wide Mind takes mind-to-mind communication out of the realm of science fiction and reveals how we are on the verge of a radical new understanding of human interaction.

Chorost himself has computers in his head that enable him to hear: two cochlear implants. Drawing on that experience, he proposes that our Paleolithic bodies and our Pentium chips could be physically merged, and he explores the technologies that could do it. He visits engineers building wearable computers that allow people to be online every waking moment, and scientists working on implanted chips that would let paralysis victims communicate. Entirely new neural interfaces are being developed that let computers read and alter neural activity in unprecedented detail.

But we all know how addictive the Internet is. Chorost explains the addiction: he details the biochemistry of what makes you hunger to touch your iPhone and check your email. He proposes how we could design a mind-to-mind technology that would let us reconnect with our bodies and enhance our relationships. With such technologies, we could achieve a collective consciousness—a World Wide Mind. And it would be humankind’s next evolutionary step.

With daring and sensitivity, Chorost writes about how he learned how to enhance his own relationships by attending workshops teaching the power of touch. He learned how to bring technology and communication together to find true love, and his story shows how we can master technology to make ourselves more human rather than less.

World Wide Mind offers a new understanding of how we communicate, what we need to connect fully with one another, and how our addiction to email and texting can be countered with technologies that put us—literally—in each other’s minds.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - fpagan - LibraryThing

What the author envisions is not the Net forming a mind in itself (as in R J Sawyer's WWW trilogy of novels) but all users' mentalities forming a supermind via the Net's constant mediation. He mixes ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

The author’s cochlear implants inspired him to think about how these enhancements can be connected to the internet and then how the combined social interactions would lead to a new order of self-awareness. Trends are extrapolated for the instruments and their applications. This might also be of interest for user experience or requirements as a subset of network science. 


PROLOGUE A Dead BlackBerry
The PushPull Dynamic of Evolution
What Does It Mean to Read a Mind?
The Physics of the Mind
The Most Intimate Interface
Your Brain Is More Complex Than a Galaxy
The Most Disconnected Man in the World
Breaking the Internet Addiction
The Most Connected Man in the World
The Future of Individuality
How Could the World Wide Mind Become SelfAware?
Childhoods Beginning

The Counterclockwise Mouse

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About the author (2011)

Michael Chorost has a B.A. from Brown University and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. He lives in San Francisco, where he writes, teaches, and consults.

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