In 8th grade typing class, where I learned nothing (srsly, I type like I have ninja turtle hands) we had a favorite way to pester the teacher. A new website had just come to our attention and we loved bringing it up on our computers. The only real deterrent the teacher had was telling us that she could watch what we were doing on our computers from hers. That only made things worse.
This was one of the first internet memes, and has a somewhat interesting story. Read about it here.
This brought me to an interesting thought: why isn’t there an internet museum? Well, a .43 second Google search revealed over 1,200,000 results, with one being good. It’s here.
The online internet museum is great. Just like a real museum, you learn enough to go, “huh, I didn’t know that,” but don’t really leave any smarter. It did make me wonder about something else, though.
Eventually, human consciousness will be overtaken by artificial intelligence. This isn’t science-fiction; acting unit Keanu Reeves is already capable of displaying over 4 human-like emotions. When this happens, I like to think that robo-anthropologists (robothropologists?) will explore the early internet the way we explore early civilizations. What will they think? What will they find?
Surely, some websites will no longer be accessible, leaving holes in the available knowledge. We encounter the same problem, though. When this happens, we hypothesize in order to see a complete culture. Our future robot-overlords may need to do the same thing with images like this. What will they process when they find this image everywhere, but seemingly no beginning? Will they make the same error we do and assume that it must be some sort of meaningful icon, and not just internet-fap-assery? Maybe, they won’t have the need to fill in these knowledge gaps, and just understand that it was, and then wasn’t.
I wonder about what our internet culture will make us look like. Don’t worry, this isn’t a, “back in my day, we…” rant. No, I greatly enjoy our democratized humor, where cat photos and funny grammar reign supreme. I mean genuinely, what are the important internet artifacts? What would you hope that Skynet finds as it combs through the digital wasteland of a post-human earth?