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The Internet is located in Cyberspace . So what is Cyberspace?

Cyberspace is a non-physical space where people interact with one another and with other computer systems via networks.

" Cyberspace is the `place` where a telephone conversation appears to occur. Not inside your actual phone, the plastic device on your desk. Not inside the other person's phone, in some other city. The_place_between the phones. The indefinite place out_there, where the two of you, human beings, actually meet and communicate." - Bruce Sterling

The word " Cyberspace " was coined by the science fiction author William Gibson, when he sought a name to describe his vision of a global computer network, linking all people, machines and sources of information in the world, and through which one could move or "navigate" as through a virtual space.

The word "cyber", apparently referring to the science of cybernetics, was well-chosen for this purpose, as it comes from the Greek verb "Kubernao", which means "to steer" and which is the root of our present word "to govern". It conveys both the idea of navigation through a space of electronic data, and of control which is achieved by manipulating those data.

Gibson's Cyberspace is not a space of passive data, such as a library: its communication channels connect to the real world, and allow us to interact with that world. The reference to cybernetics is important in a third respect: cybernetics defines itself as a science of information and communication, which what Cyberspace is - the joint network of all existing communication channels and information stores connecting people and machines.

The word "space", on the other hand, has several aspects. First, a space has a virtually infinite extension, including so many things that they can never be grasped all at once. This is a good description of the already existing collections of electronic data, on e.g. the Internet.

Second, space connotes the idea of free movement, of being able to visit a variety of states or places.

Third, a space has some kind of a geometry, implying concepts such as distance, direction and dimension.


  • () ValHaring - 20 Jul 2002
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