Mapping the Web Infome - Searching for Snips and Junk Data

The process of harvesting, sequencing and mapping the human genome has been described as that of a group of people in a dark room fumbling around not knowing what is in the room, how the room looks or what they are looking for. Someone bumps into a thing with four sharp corners and starts to look for other things with four sharp corners. Someone else decides to move along what seem to be walls and feel their texture, yet another sits still and waits for the others in the room to pass by, taking notes on their activities or maybe on their scents.

        We have come to think of DNA as code, as a language in which the stories of all life are written. We are in a space defined by that language and we try to understand the space by deciphering its language. The Web is a space created and constituted by language. It's made up of protocols and code. It's not old. We know its languages, we designed them. Yet the whole made up of the parts could now have reached a level of complexity and richness that makes it interesting to relate it to that mysterious room of the human genome. To turn around and look at it from the outside, as a system to unveil, with a language for us to decipher.

        We know that in our DNA there is a substantial amount of code, sometimes referred to as "junk DNA", that does not seem to mean anything. Maybe that DNA is part of something larger, some other organism, an entity evolving over millions of years with a genome that survives all species carrying its code. Maybe we, and other various life forms, are its mitochondria, its amino acids and nucleotides. Or maybe each of us is just another base pair in this all-encompassing biome.

        The Web, the part of the Internet using the HTTP protocol, might not be an organism with a future. There may be other protocols or combinations of protocols yielding more fruitful environments. If so, this is the time to map the Web's chromosomes, to find its polymorphisms (the SNPs - small discrepancies in the code that tell us about its history), detect its "junk data", and maybe in the process, discover and invent the grand infome behind it.
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