Thursday, 20 September 2012

Defining Cyberspace

1. How does' the internet' differ from what we conceive of as 'cyberspace'?

The 'internet' is simply the means in which 'cyberspace' can be used. It is the hardware, the physical objects that make up the tools that enable consumers to use and engage in 'cyberspace'. In the same way that a CD player provides music, the internet provides cyberspace.  We think of ‘cyberspace’ as an electronic environment, somewhere we can go to, mentally rather than physically. One dictionary definition of ‘cyberspace’ describes it as a ‘notional environment in which digitized information is communicated over computer networks’.
2. Does cyberspace possess the qualities of a real world space?

In some ways it does, but in others it doesn’t. Take ‘Second Life’ for example. In this 3D Online Virtual World, a person can literally create a second life for themselves. Homes can be built, employment can be given, land can be rented and businesses can be started – all dealing with real-life money and other real people across the globe. However, ‘cyberspace’ is more of an environment that doesn’t physically exist, you can’t touch cyberspace. Real-world space includes places where we can physically go to and physically exist in. It is a very fine line but this is where the differences lie.

3. Does the lack of regulatory control on the internet lead a state of adaptive and productive independence or is it fostering expression of, perhaps latent toxic behaviours and danger?

I think that having no control over the internet means people can choose to apply any persona to themselves that they wish. They don’t have to be the person they are in ‘real-life’, and this may be for many reasons, usually for unorthodox reasons. For example, the story of Gemma Barker who, over the internet, pretended to be three different boys in order to lure girls in and sexually assault them. This wouldn’t have been possible without the internet hiding her true identity, and allowing her to be the other three personas she created. It can cause problems psychologically to the people who choose to do this as they become so engrossed in the opposite personalities they create that they eventually start to believe that they are that person, and recreate them in real life.

4. What do you think the future holds for cyberspace? How might it shape society in the future?

I think there are good points and bad points in terms of cyberspace becoming an even more important and relevant part of our society and culture. Social skills, for example, may become more advanced and easier for people with learning difficulties or physical disabilities that leave them unable to speak. Also for people that find it difficult perhaps emotionally to voice their thoughts, feelings and opinions, through the use of cyberspace, they can successfully and easily do this. However, in terms of real-life socialising, this will deplete as people will lose the ability to speak to someone face-to-face. They will not be able to handle real-life social situations and will prefer to hide behind a computer screen before they can easily talk to someone.

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