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.
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.
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