Evolution of the Internet: A Rhizomatic Application of Darwin

Evolution is the process Charles Darwin described – the story he told – to explain the diversity of the planet. Evolution exists in nature as the interplay between linear natural selection and random events. This randomness necessitates a nonlinear model for exploring evolution as a whole, and as randomness is increasingly recognized as the dominant evolutionary force, “evolutionary schemas may be forced to abandon the old model of the tree and descent” (Deleuze). If we take a rhizome as an evolutionary model instead of a tree, this “connects any point to any other point” (Deleuze) and allows for nonlinear progression. Once the model for evolution is freed from its directed linear path, it can be applied to disciplines outside of biology.

The internet has evolved in much the same way as life on earth. Just as “all life on Earth… started with a single origin of life” (Mayr) and has grown increasingly complex, “the Internet grew from a single experimental network… to a globe-spanning system linking millions of computers” (Abbate). Both processes began with a single entity that turned into populations by increasing its complexity and diversity. While the “spreading out” of organisms on the planet is governed by the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the parallel “spreading out” of information on the Internet is the result of a different kind of entropy.

via Evolution of the Internet:A Rhizomatic Application of Darwin.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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