The human brain is like an archaeological record. Different layers and functional areas have evolved outwards over time. And now a new layer is evolving. I propose we call this new layer of the brain “the metacortex.” (Note: Metacortex also happens to be the company that Neo worked for in the movie, The Matrix)
The metacortex is the Web — our growing global network of information, people, sensors, and computing devices.
The Web is literally a new layer of the human brain that transcends any individual brain. It is a global brain that connects all our brains together. It is intelligent. It is perhaps humanity’s greatest invention. It collectively senses, reacts, interprets, learns, thinks, and acts in ways that we as individuals can barely comprehend or predict, and this activity comprises an emerging global mind.
Paul Buchheit (creator of Gmail and Friendfeed) calls this “the social brain” — with emphasis on the social networks and collective social interactions that are taking place. I think that while the metacortex includes the social Web, it transcends it — it’s collective knowledge and cognition include all of the activity taking place on the Internet.
Does the metacortex mirror the structure and process of the neocortex? What can we learn about the neocortex from the metacortex and vice versa? What are the functional areas or lobes of the metacortex? I look forward to your comments.