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Teemu’s word mycelium defines the golden swamp


Posted on 21st October 2008 by Judy Breck in Golden Age of Learning, Mobile & Ubiquitous and Networks

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Teemu Arina has a new post on his blog that is prompted by his upcoming talk at Mobile Monday Amsterdam. The title of the post is How Mobile is Changing our Society. As I always do from Teemu, I learned several things from this essay. One of them was this new word: mycelium.

Teemu writes: “An entirely new thing is emerging from this interconnected electronic mycelium.” Webster’s unabridged dictionary defines mycelium as:

: the mass of interwoven hyphae that forms especially the vegetative portion of the thallus of a fungus and that in the larger forms (as the mushrooms) forms cobwebby filaments penetrating the substrate but in many smaller fungi (as most parasitic forms) is invisible to the naked eye but ramifies through the substrate or tissues of the host usually producing its spore fruits on the surface; also : a similar mass of filaments formed by a higher bacterium

This chaotic jumble reflects well what it is like for us to look now at the proliferating cables, satellites, wires, and glass we are told somehow platform the internet. The virtual connectivity that emerges from it all is, however, transformational.

Teemu has given us another name for what is mushrooming invisibly around our planet: the interconnected electronic mycelium. George Gilder called it the telecosm. Calling it the cloud is sliding into our vocabulary from the smaller mycelium that comes to hover over a server farm. I like to call it the golden swamp. The simplest name is network.

By whatever name it goes, that new place will dominate human communication far into the future. I am now redirecting this blog from writing about the concept we call “education” because that concept is mired in the analog past. What is known by humankind is now mirrored from the mycelium. The meaning of learning has become to engage knowledge there.