The metaphor of future networks (e.g., SDN/NFV, 5G) becoming the "Nervous System" of Digital Society and Economy has been mentioned several time in this blog.
I remember I made a welcome presentation at EuCNC-2014 showing this picture, elaborating this vision for the first time (at least to my knowledge). In the talk, my take was that technology advances (SDN, NFV, Cloud Computing, AI) are creating the conditions to deploy - in the Digital Society and Economy - a sheer number of pervasive "control-loops" (or if you prefer autonomic control-loops a la MAPE-K) mimicking the role of a "nervous system" in a living being.
...and in this paper on December, 2014:
...and more recently in this piece:
Today I've stumbled upon this press:
...so we are witnessing progresses in exploiting this vision !
We could even extend this biogical metaphor considering that the traditional view of central nervous system is not valid for some living being, e.g., jellyfish: in fact, they have a ring nervous system, located along the margin of the bell !
It this a lesson learnt from Nature about the value of decentralization in case of asymmetry ?