The internet is in a virtuous cycle, like in an auto-catalytic (chemical) process. Let me explain. Kevin Kelly spoke about this during TED. Biology or evolution is about hacks, about innovative solutions to problems. Technology resembles biology. They all evolve towards :
- More ubiquity
- More complexity
- More diversity
- More specialization
- More co-evolution/sociability
Evolution is about changing the rules of the game and technology is about changing evolution. It is an infinite game. Technology is about widening possibilities and options (e.g. biotech, nanotech, simulations, Second Life, A-Life, serious gaming etc.) The internet is technology and we can see it upholds those five trends as stated above. The interesting part is that those trends make tool-building necessary, especially increasing complexity and co-evolution/sociability. What do I mean ? Some examples:
Typepad = tool for easier site development
Yahoo Pipes = 'macros for web based Excel' (will send that one to Wired ;-)) ; tool for easier and richer mash-ups of data (with others I believe this to be an important next step)
ShortFuze = tool for machinima generation
soon ??? = (easier) tools for Second Life object building and remixing
Tools democratize. Tools empower. Tools spread the emergent technology+culture to the mainstream
What is the essence of mash-ups and remix culture ? Creativity.
Results ? More integrated datasets -> more complexity -> more reality (even altered reality perhaps ?). More importantly, more insight and more innovation -> (even) more tools -> more innovation (auto-catalytic process).
These are great times indeed :-) As Kevin Kelly notes : "Technology is about exploring the way of exploring (meta) and it speeds up the evolution of evolution."