What if I was to declare that humanity has evolved into a hive-mind? Not in the sense of a collective consciousness, but rather in the sense that through our state of highly lubricated social interactivity, co-dependency, and access to digital information, we have begun to transcend our inherent biological limitations. How about a cloud-mind?
Think about this question: when in human history has any human been able to recall and/or utilize the vast majority of the world’s knowledge at any time at any place? Other than, say, the Neolithic Era, it would be impossible to conceive of such a feat of intellect, whether we’re talking about Nietzsche, Tesla, Einstein, whoever. But any human/chimp with any smartphone can access Wikipedia and do basically just that today. On the other hand, whether such a human/chimp is able to wield the world’s knowledge to any effect greater than settling bar bets is a question that has not (yet) been answered on Wikipedia.
I’ve often heard it said that, relative to the past, our knowledge retention is diminishing. Whether or not that’s so in the actual biological sense, it certainly isn’t true in a practical sense. We have digital storage space in which to save our memories and our thoughts. Even with our atrophying biological attention spans all a-twitter, humans are empowered to multitask and rearrange time in conducting activities much more powerfully and easily when there are digital tracks to retrace and pause buttons to press. These digital storage spaces and platforms need not even be located exclusively within our own control, as a matter of observed fact. Whether or not this is desirable is irrelevant from an evolutionary standpoint. Whether or not one should be afraid of Skynet’s self-awareness is similarly unproductive. The fact is that cultural evolution has driven us to a more efficient point where we can and do outsource our brain-function to the machines.
We’re not losing our minds, we’re just storing them in the cloud. What’s the harm in that?