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BREAKPOINT

BREAKPOINT:WHY THE WEB WILL IMPLODE, SEARCH WILL BE OBSOLETE, AND EVERYTHING ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TECHNOLOGY IS IN YOUR BRAIN

Our brains are shrinking, and this is a good thing. The quality of brains is not effectively measured by their size. Otherwise, elephants would be running Congress and the shutdown wouldn’t have occurred.  Jeff  Stibel, a successful entrepreneur and current Chairman and CEO of Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp, published his second book titled Breakpoint: Why the Web Will Implode, Search Will Be Obsolete, and Everything Else You Need to Know About Technology is in Your Brain

WHAT DO BRAINS AND COMPUTER HAVE IN COMMON?

 The usual comparison is that the brain and computers are alike but author Jeff Stibel offers a change in perception. He contends that a computer is more similar to an individual brain neuron – fine on its own but the magic happens (as in intelligence) when connections are made and a network forms. With neurons, connections make the brain while the World Wide Web forms through computer links/connections.

The brain deals with this problem by removing weak and unnecessary connections leaving only the strongest and most efficient and thereby paving the way not only for intelligence but wisdom.  Stibel argues that the same must happen to the Web-using an array of information on biological systems, cutting edge technology and future predictions, Stibel writes that the future of the Web is in less, not more, for it to evolve to its true potential.

BREAKPOINT BY JEFF STIBEL
BREAKPOINT

A quite common opinion seems to be that this book is “interesting”, and it is, exceedingly so in fact. It is also entertaining, fascinating, and informative. I’d say it is a fun and pretty quick read for anyone curious about networks and the internet. The book provides great narratives of how brains work compared to the internet, comparing neurons to computers and to ants in a colony. Then throw in other forms of networks, like traffic, and you just learn, learn, learn and have fun!

OVERVIEW OF THE BOOK

Breakpoint by Jeff  Stibel is that rare find that combines erudite analysis with a lucid and engaging narrative. The author, Jeff  Stibel, argues that there are certain natural laws that govern the unfolding of networks, and that understanding these laws can help us understand how the internet (and other internet-related networks) are likely to evolve over time, and also how we should approach these networks in order to get the most out of them (including make money off of them).

When it comes to the evolution of a network, Stibel argues that there are three main stages here: 1) Growth; 2) Breakpoint; and 3) Equilibrium. In the growth phase, the network grows in size, usually at a very quick (often exponential) pace. This is a precarious time for networks, for if they do not grow fast enough and large enough they will simply wither away and die (the vast majority of networks do in fact die at this stage).

The comparison between brains, anthills, and the internet is an interesting one, although it’s not one that was new to me, and his analysis of it all, while fine as far as it goes, isn’t particularly deep. Also not particularly deep are his thoughts about what this pattern means for the future of the internet. Certainly, there’s nothing anywhere near as sensationalistic and doom-laden as the subtitle implies. He’s not predicting the complete collapse of the World Wide Web, or anything like that.

His conclusions, in fact, mostly involve changes to the way we use the web that are already in the process of happening.   Overall, Stibel’s analysis of networks in today’s online society is an excellent commentary on the sheer size. It influence that the Internet has on our lives. Stibel asserts that the Internet is quickly approaching its breakpoint. The organization of this massive network must change if the Internet as we know it is going to survive.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

BREAKPOINT BY JEFF STIBEL
JEFF STIBEL

Jeff Stibelis an entrepreneur, having started numerous technology and marketing companies. At age 32, he became one of the youngest public company CEOs in America. Stibel opened the NASDAQ stock market on June 15, 2007. He is also a brain scientist, a New York Times bestselling author and a weekly columnist for the USA Today. Stibel focused most of his academic career on brain science, the interdisciplinary study of psychologyphilosophyartificial intelligence and neuroscience.

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