The Emergence of Cyberspace

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The Internet and Cyberspace has always been a fascinating topic to man, as it has clearly gone through a rather fast-paced innovation from the time it was pioneered. According to Ottis and Lorents (2009), it was William Gibson who coined the term ‘cyberspace’ in a fictional setting, nevertheless he described it as a “consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts… A graphic representation of data abstracted from banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity.”

This definition of Cyberspace is similar to what we have today, with the keyword here being ‘complexity’. Cyberspace is a complex thing to understand or even define, and presently it is pretty much understood as a ‘consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators’, by which I am, of course referring to Webpages in the World Wide Web (www) which I find to be its counterpart. Other than just this, I believe Cyberspace also consists of technology, information and other forms of knowledge, hence the reason it is so vast and difficult to define; because it takes on such a vast meaning.

From the article by Dyson et. al (1994), what I can grasp is that due to the evolution,or innovation, of Cyberspace, we have experienced vast changes in the nature of ownership and property, nature of marketplace, nature of freedom, essence of community and the role of the government. Lets look at these few main evolutions from the context of the 90s, as the article was written in 1994.

This is very true as ownership and property has evolved from writing out documents of ownership to typing it out and from just writing your name on your work to having watermarks of copyright. As for marketplace, a good example would be that the “market for “mail” has been made competitive by the development of fax machines and overnight delivery” (Dyson et. al 1994), hence the postal service market has been overshadowed and is not as important as it used to be. The nature of freedom has evolved in a sense that, back in the day it was easy to control information flow, as letters can be intercepted, however there is too much information flow through the Internet that it is too hard to keep track anymore, resulting in more freedom of speech, also making it easier for many more people to read others’ opinions. The essence of community has changed because now virtual communities exist, something people could only imagine in the past and not think it possible to happen. Lastly, the role of the government involves many things, but the most pressing need, however, is to “revamp the policies and programs that are slowing the creation of cyberspace” (Dyson et. al 1994). This is because there are endless/limitless possibilities when it comes to Cyberspace.

One of the many ways humans theorize the looks of Cyberspace; possibly what is meant by children being taught mathematical concepts, possibly of this sort

One of the many illustrations which theorizes the looks Cyberspace

Image URL: http://www.computescotland.com/cyberspace-war-moves-up-alongside-conventional-battlefields-2397.php

What I have explained in the previous paragraph were the things that were already known of and a few predictions about Cyberspace made back in 1994, just imagine what else lies out there that we have yet to discover, since there have already been so many new things mankind has discovered since 1994. It is already 2012, a new millenia, and so much has been achieved in the past millenium, which shows just about how much we do not know of yet, as of today. Like most achievements or discoveries, when it comes, you realize that you never saw it coming.

References

Dyson, E, Gilder, G, Keyworth, G & Toffler, A 1994, Cyberspace and the American Dream: A Magna Carta for the Knowledge Age, accessed 29/8/2012, http://www.pff.org/issues-pubs/futureinsights/fi1.2magnacarta.html

Ottis, R, & Lorrents, P 2009, Cyberspace: Definition and Implications, accessed 31/8/2012, http://www.ccdcoe.org/articles/2010/Ottis_Lorents_CyberspaceDefinition.pdf

The Internet: How it all began.

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As we have learnt in Mr. Faisal’s lectures thus far, before the Internet there was the morse telegraph, telephone and the radio. However, the first concept similar to the Internet we know of today was theorized by J. C. R. Licklider of MIT in August of 1962, known as ‘Galactic Network’ (Leiner et al. 2012). He was the first head of computer research program at DARPA in October of 1962 and convinced his successors of the importance of this concept.

J. C. Licklider

J. C. Licklider

Image URL: http://www.dipity.com/kanem/History-of-the-Internet/

Although only in 1969, was the ARPANET developed – it was the first network to run on packet switching technology, which connected computers at Stanford and UCLA for the first time on October 29th of 1969. In the same year, UNIX – an operating system who’s design was heavily influenced by Linux and FreeBSD, was developed. Then, in 1970 the ARPANET network was established between Harvard, MIT and BBN, just before E-mail was first developed by Ray Tomlinson a year later. Also in 1971, was the birth of free e-books on the site ‘Project Gutenberg’. In 1972, there was the CYCLADES, which was the French version of ARPANET and though eventually shut down, it pioneered the idea of the host computer being responsible for data transmission. 1973 saw the first trans-Atlantic connection with the University College of London, and 1974 was the beginning of TCP/IP, which links all ARPA-like networks together into an ‘inter-network’. 1977 saw the first PC modem, developed by Dennis Hayes and Dale Heatherington being introduced and in 1978, there was the Bulletin Board System (BBS) and Spam. In 1979, MUD (Multi User Dungeon) and Usenet was formed, which were respectively the first multiplayer game and an internet-based discussion system (Chapman 2009).

In 1980, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) launched ENQUIRE, which is a hypertext program allowing scientists to keep track of people, software and projects using hypertext (hyperlinks) (Chapman 2009). ENQUIRE was written by Tim Berners-Lee, who “is currently the Director of the World Wide Web Consortium” (Bellis 2012). In 1983, ARPANET computers switch to TCP/IP protocols (developed by Vinton Cerf). The Domain Name System (DNS) was developed in 1984 and 1985 was the birth of virtual communities. In 1988, IRC (Internet Relay Chat) was developed and in 1989 saw the proposal of the World Wide Web, before the first webpage was created in 1991 (Chapman 2009). [Funfact: 1991 was also my birth year! :)]. From this we can see that the Internet is clearly a vast space used for various reasons.

The Internet belongs to everyone and no one. – Sterling, B 1993

I find the quote above to be very true, as many different people contributed to the development of the Internet, so it does not belong to just one person, and everyone in society is able to utilize it because it sllows people to share information with efficiency and ease, which shows the convenience of the Internet. There you have it, a cramped history lesson on the Internet!

References
Leiner, B, Cerf, VG, Clark, DD, Kahn, RE, Kleinrock, L, Lynch, DC, Postel, J, Roberts, LG & Wolff, S 2012, Brief History of the Internet, accessed 18/8/2012, http://www.internetsociety.org/internet/internet-51/history-internet/brief-history-internet/

Bellis, M 2012, the History of the Internet, accessed 18/8/2012, http://inventors.about.com/od/istartinventions/a/internet.htm

Chapman, C 2009, the History of the Internet in a Nutshell, accessed 18/8/2012, http://sixrevisions.com/resources/the-history-of-the-internet-in-a-nutshell/

Sterling, B 1993, A Short History of the Internet, accessed 18/8/2012, https://vista.uow.edu.au/webct/urw/tp0.lc20663/cobaltMainFrame.dowebct

Are Network Societies Really the Root of Power?

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Today, we live in a world full of network societies. “A network society is an ongoing column documenting one artist’s attempt to comprehend how his practice is shaped and affected by global networks organized toward the ends of corporate profits” (Bordowitz 2000). According to the article “Afterword: why networks matter” (Catells 2004), the network society matters most now in determining who is more powerful and this is due to seven main reasons. The first reason is that because the network society expands globally, there are no boundaries. Next, “networked organisations outcompete all other forms of organisation” (Castells 2004) because it helps with forming partnerships which is very important in order to be successful.

Networking

Realm of Networking


Image URL: http://profspevack.com/webstandards/02history_a.html

Thirdly, “networking amongst the political society assists with crisis management for nation states in a supranational world” (Castells 2004). Fourth, society becomes more civilised due to exposure of issues brought up by activists which are debated on as well. Fifth, it transforms the way society socializes. Sixth, global and local social practices communicate in the media space and lastly, power drives the network society, hence power is located in the networks that structure society.

I personally agree with this because it is true that in this age of growing software development in communication technology, networking is increasing in society. This increase in the network society shows dominance over other societies. “A network is a group of people united in a particular way that makes them capable of mutual recognition and exchange, whether of goods or ideas” (Grewal 2003). Therefore, a society filled with networks shows its strength because more and more people are being connected. Castells (2004) also mentions information or knowledge societies and that it is not as important as being a network society in our modern world. I also agree with this because networking provides information and knowledge anyways.

References
Bordowitz, G 2000, Network Society, Art Journal, accessed 10/8/2012, http://www.jstor.org/stable/778114

Castells, M, 2004, Afterword: Why Networks Matter, accessed 10/8/2012, http://www.demos.co.uk/files/File/networklogic17castells.pdf

Grewal, DS 2003, Network Power and Globalization, Journal of Ethics & International Affairs, accessed 10/8/2012, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/doi/10.1111/j.1747-7093.2003.tb00441.x/full