"Brain cells fire in patterns" - the 5 words from steven pinker point out that in our brains, the neuron is king. Neurons are not large, powerful, or individually all that capable. When neurons form networks with adaptive connections, however, they begin to accomplish extraordinary things like adaptive thought, learning, and emotion - things that if one were introduced to the concept of a neuron without ever knowing about their role in the brain, one would never suspect them capable of achieving.
The technological proliferation of smartphones, computers, and data-connected devices over the last decade has altered the basic capability of millions of members of our society in a way that may make it possible for individual humans to connect with one another at a level never before achieved - technology is becoming the neurotransmitter between the synapses of our lives. With the network that has been built, every technology-enabled person is now a single link in a broad chain of people, ideas, and information that can flash around the globe in an instant.
Compared to a single neuron, every human is capable of astonishingly more in comparison. Yet now it is apparent that we have not yet taken advantage of the emergent capabilities of our species. To remedy this, every company from IBM to Oracle to Amazon is putting data online and making it more readily accessible. Facebook, Twitter, and review sites like Angie's list are doing the same with people. As siri replaces Google replaces maps and books replaces word of mouth we collectively slash the time it takes to obtain critical information. Do you think it's possible that humans will be like the pieces of a large brain some day? Do you think that day has already come? What changes would such an a phenomenon have on our lives?
This video is an interesting case of the network of human knowledge on the internet creating globally emergent changes.