The idea of a 'collective intelligence' does not seem so remote if we consider it in terms of merging technology. This is now an increasing field of inquiry - serious inquiry - from talk of the 'virtual commons' to a shared 'nervous system' of knowledge. If we consider the state of blogging today - a phenomenon that has increased considerably in the last year or so. And each new technology is being taken up at increasingly exponential rates. Blogging, especially with RSS feed syndication (hopefully coming to this site in the not-too-far-distant future) allows information/knowledge to be tracked and to follow threads as if in a 'cosmopedia' (termed borrowed from Levy - see list below). Grassroots networking has also greatly benefited from techno-networking and is now one of the major social forces. See also the concept of 'smartmobs' (Rheingold) that allows a coordination of social action in near-instantaneous time. Although there is disparity in terms of global access/connectivity, with less-developed regions foregoing the industrial revolution and jumping to the Information Age (sometimes jumping straight to wireless infrastructure) I see this gap being narrowed.
Conscious Evolution then is intimately connected to the issue of how we are connected, and this indicates a merging relationship with our technologies of communication. Although what is being said here is not new, the consequences of a globally-linked species are still, I feel, under-realised. It will be immense and will catalyse the emergence of a wholly new global social structure.
Some texts worth considering:
-Bloom, H. (2000) Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century
-Chardin, T. d. (1974) The Future of Man.
-Goonatilake, S. (1999) Merged Evolution: Long-Term Implications of Biotechnology and Information Technology.
-Levy, P. (1999) Collective Intelligence: Mankind's Emerging World in Cyberspace
-Rheingold, H. (2003) Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution.
-Rosnay, J. d. (2000) The Symbiotic Man: A New Understanding of the Organization of Life and a Vision of the Future
-Russell, P. (1995) The Global Brain Awakens: Our Next Evolutionary Leap
-Vinge, V. (1993) 'The Technological Singularity' http://www.kurzweilai.net/meme/frame.html?m=1