The single greatest invention of all time (past, present, and future) is the Internet.
It’s greater than the telegram or the telephone.
It’s greater than things which were arguably discovered rather than invented (medicine, wheels, or fire).
It’s greater even than anything in science fiction – including digital brains to which we can upload our minds.
Why? Because it changes humanity.
The difference between humans and animals is our extreme capacity for knowledge. This is primarily enabled by our communication (rather than innovation) abilities. Indeed, without foundational knowledge gained via communication, there is no chance of innovation.
Thus, something which fundamentally changes communication is something which fundamentally changes humanity.
Smoke signals, messengers on horseback, carrier pigeons, telegrams, telephones… all of these were mere optimisations of communication. The internet, meanwhile, makes communication simultaneously realtime, asynchronous, and distributed. To borrow a term from the GPU hardware lexicon, it makes us as a species “embarrassingly parallel”. A truly global, omnipresent distribution of mind is now trivial. To put it another way:
Every single “comments section” is a conversation with the whole species – billions of living humans and umpteen yet to exist.
The brain cloud “singularity” is already here – and you’re part of it – merely speed optimisations separating us from the most outlandish sci-fi. You may think a real singularity would be immortal, and thus a bigger invention. I counter that whether you are “a sum of communicable knowledge” or “a soul”, you’re already immortal. A “real singularity” is just a lossy encoding optimisation of the former.
Here, have a node: