On Cyberspace

*CPU design is like building a microscopic city on a pinhead. Teams of engineers engaged in countless tasks taking many thousands of person-hours are behind these instruments which are, first of all, instruments of vast unfathomable hyper-fast computation.Networked computers are multi-path communications devices. The construction of the Internet is a collaborative process that takes place over the very networks involved in its creation. It’s not coincidental that it shares the infrastructure underpinnings of telephony.The act of putting information on the Internet is a form of publishing wholly unavailable in the past. Because of the way the protocols are structured, it is a form of pure collaboration in which the addition of input extends the very structure of the space. We reconstruct the Internet every time we use it. The pathways of even the most trivial of our online interactions are virtually instantaneous and global.As the Net is a new collaborative communication space each time we enter it, we are also simultaneously restructuring paradigms of human intercourse. Some noteworthy and unpredictable aspects of how we are transformed by the medium as we use it are becoming evident.In the real world, as combinations of subjective and social realities, our identities are somewhat fluid – yet constrained by parameters of environment and cultural context. In cyberspace, our identities are unhinged from their real-world counterparts to a palpable degree.On the Net one can become a new person. The thoroughly fluid aspects of identity in cyberspace are immediately apparent to even new users. The exhilaration inherent in opportunities to role-play or metaphorically upgrade one’s self image seems a universal attraction.Reinvention of the self is a deeply human desire, as evidenced by the universal occurrance of the dream state. On the Internet, to free up the ties of culture, heritage, geography, age, and even gender is as easy as changing your name.The freeing up of the human spirit that accompanies a feeling of free identity offers a sense of unlimited potentiality and creative possibility. Sitting down at the keyboard and projecting oneself into the Internet is an empowering action in itself.Based on collaborative and distributed technology, the basic killer apps of the Internet – e-mail, newsgroups, message boards, web pages, chat, file-sharing, personal content and social networking sites – create connections between people and allow global projects to proceed on a 24/7 basis. They exponentially multiply productivity and forge highly skilled teams who can work together in real time from any point of origin.There’s no end to this. It’s happening now, even as you receive my thoughts in this collaborative interface where my words appear. You hyperlinked to this page and you’ll hyperlink yourself out of it.This page is an electronic reconstruction of the processes that occur during its existence. More than that, your apprehension of it indicates it is actually a physiological-electronic construction. Atoms in your brain are being activated by transmissions over global-scale distances. In a real way, we’re doing this together.That’s the project and that’s the product – making it up as we go. Where will we take it next? For the first time in history the vessel is as evanescent, manifold, multi-sensory, and instantaneous as our species. We’re creating the future bit by human/electronic bit. Press a key in cyberspace and open a new portal into our collective evolution…*Image: http://www.utdallas.edu/~jps033000/photo_html/cs.html

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