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The Internet is constantly evolving. As the speed, flexibility and complexity of connections increase exponentially, the Web is increasingly beginning to resemble a biological analog; the human brain. But what exactly is it that’s makes us, or the Web, smart?
In the brain, neurologists now believe that it is the density and flexibility of the connections between neurons, not simply neurons themselves, which are at the root of intelligence. These connections are called Synapses.
Even if the total number of brain cells, or neurons, begins to diminish in early adulthood, our ability to generate new connections between neurons and between different parts of the brain – what neurologist call “plasticity” - persists throughout life. What's more, the brain seems to be like any other muscle in that plasticity can be increased with exercise.
It is at the synapse, the "gap" between one neuron and another, where neural connections are consummated to create pathways that, when used, are reinforced with additional connections and, when unused, are "pruned" to make way for new, more useful pathways. It is these incredible chemical bridges that define the patterns of communication that, at any given time, define our cognitive capacity.
We believe that this evolving view of neural science provides an increasingly apt metaphor for what we call the "Synaptic Web" in that the connections between objects are more important than the objects themselves. The question is; how are these connections changing to create new experiences? In other words, there is an opportunity to stop looking at the nodes and start looking at the space between them.
The exploding variety, speed and flexibility of electronic connections - those between people, data sets, applications, the real world and the online world, gestures and meaning and content and communication – is at the root of what some have called an evolving “collective intelligence.” Thus, the Synaptic Web is about the evolution of the Internet from document delivery platform, to a platform for communication ("2.0") and now towards something much more profound: a dynamic web of adaptive "organic" and implicit connections whereby real-time information flows give structure and meaning to previously unconnected sets of data. The Internet is a sea of conversations streaming through connections, and these patterns have meaning.
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