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Internet: A Medium or a Message?

Uploaded by palma on Oct 09, 2000

Sam Vaknin's Psychology, Philosophy, Economics and Foreign Affairs Web Sites

The State of the Net: An Interim Report about the Future of the Internet

Who are the participants who constitute the Internet?
  • Users - connected to the net and interacting with it
  • The communications lines and the communications equipment
  • The intermediaries (e.g. the suppliers of on-line information or access providers).
  • Hardware manufacturers
  • Software authors and manufacturers (browsers, site development tools, specific applications, smart agents, search engines and others).
  • The "Hitchhikers" (search engines, smart agents, Artificial Intelligence - AI - tools and more)
  • Content producers and providers
  • Suppliers of financial wherewithal (currently - corporate and institutional cash to be replaced, in the future, by advertising money)
  • The fate of each of these components - separately and in solidarity - will determine the fate of the Internet.
  • The Internet has hitherto been considered the territory of computer wizards. Thus, any attempt at predicting its future applied the Olympic formula : "Faster, Higher, Stronger" to its hardware and software determinants.

    Media experts, sociologists, psychologists, advertising and marketing executives were left out of the collective effort to determine the future face of the Internet.

    The Internet cannot be currently defined as a medium. It does not function as one - rather it is a very disordered library, mostly incorporating the writings of non-distinguished megalomaniacs. It is the ultimate Narcissistic experience.

    Yet, ever since the invention of television there hasn't been anything as begging to become a medium as the Internet is.

    Three analogies spring to mind when contemplating the Internet in its current state:
  • A chaotic library
  • A neural network or the equivalent of a telephony network in the making
  • A new continent

    These metaphors prove to be very useful (even business-wise). They permit us to define the commercial opportunities embedded in the Internet.

    Yet, they fail to assist us in predicting its future which lies in its transformation into a medium.

    How does an invention become a medium? What happens to it when it does become one? What is the thin line separating the basic function of the invention from its flowering in the form of a new medium? In other words: when can we tell that some technological advance gave birth to a new medium?

    This work also deals with the image of the Internet once transformed into a medium.

    The Internet has the most unusual attributes in the history of the media....

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    Uploaded by:   palma

    Date:   10/09/2000

    Category:   Technology

    Length:   46 pages (10,369 words)

    Views:   1767

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