Friday, September 19, 2008

From my original Disertation some 15 years ago.


This is a piece of writing that was going to be the introduction to my dissertation a while ago (15 years ago). Sorry was digging through some old files and found this.

Introduction
At first I found this very hard to put ideas down on paper. How can you attempt to even begin to represent an entity, a concept as vast as this in such a limited arena, text? All the time my mind changes direction , becomes distracted by tangents that seem to fit but not in places where they could be useful or not. The problem is the liner form of dissertation that does not directly reflect the subject of the internet the way the internet would reflect itself. Without “hyper-links” and hot buttons to whisk the reader off too ever more divergent sources as the writer wishes this piece of writing must remain clinical and antiseptic in the least. Perhaps at some point I will have the opportunity to translate this document into hypertext as it should be. Babbage, much like Oppenheimer, was only trying to solve a short term problem when he designed the difference engine and his analytical engine in eighteen thirty five. Like most scientist he could not have envisaged the resultant effect on western culture in the late twentieth century.
 “The internet, that great big anorak of world culture!”
Billy Connolly (Billy Connolly’s Tour of Australia BBC1 2-12-96)
Are we become a society of Shelly’s Frankenstein’s? Creating monsters we can no longer control! A culture that has used all means to describe itself, so must turn to the dissection, re-organisation, and re-animation of those icons and ideals that we see best fit ourselves? Some Postmodernists masturbation fantasy. Where Eco reigns as Pope of the new order, in his own terms, where schisms exist on the basis of the near religious level of the catholic Mac user against the Protestant DOS user. Where the Anglo-Saxon bourgeoisie begin to remove the means for production away from the masses again, as the few begin to control the implementation of the new technological age. Gibson becomes god in his own right, iconoclast by ‘netheads’ who only grasp the name but not the content of his work. Where Leary does rely exist on the net long after his physical demise.
We as a generation are lost! Born in the sixties and the seventies we have just missed out. We are unable to recreate the ‘Beat’ generation, the ‘Mersey’ boom, the ‘Swinging’ sixties. As is long discussed with the generation ‘X’, all our possible taboos have been broken, all our frontiers breached. Our music is merely the reiteration of what has gone before, our films merely video remakes of the classics. In a post modernist society creativity is dead and all we have is the text of the past with which to rewrite history and make a pastiche for the future. We have no where to go, nothing to do any more that some other can not say ‘I did that’, ‘I saw that first’.
We are not feasibly able to take to the skies and ‘Go where no person has gone before’. We must create for our selves the place and the direction that we are to be the pioneers of. For us this will be the virtual reality, the internet and all it sporns. The potential that is the internet is the final frontier, the edge that the generation is in search of. If Gibson is to believed! Or is it? Gibson oft quoted as the ‘guru’ of the internet actually writes about a future where everything has become the true development of the commercial, the logical extrapolation of the capitalist ideal.
In a society where interest patterns and concentration spans reduce (the MTV effect), to the point where the adverts are the lasting impression (see Stallone's “Demolition Man”) that we retain as opposed to the film that we view, where Politicians speak in ‘sound bites’ so as not to confuse us with too much information. What else do we crave but a totally disposable environment that is ours to manipulate and create and destroy, just to recreate again at will.
I was surprised to find that, in conversation, a friend of mine did not realise the extensive history that already exists to the internet. She knew nothing of it’s fledgling beginning in the American universities as a military experiment history of the internet in thirty seconds. “The Americans wanted to get their spy info back in tact, the academics saw it as a great opportunity to communicate with each other around the world, then someone realised you could sell stuff on it.”). For me the history of the system that was to become the Internet (and the myth that is the Internet) lie in the end of the sixties as the American government attempted to improve the communications between it’s various out lying information gathering stations and the academic institutes that were dealing with certain government projects at the time. Setting the first four nodes of the fledgling internet system in four hand picked universities. As part of the innate paranoia of the western governments at the time the system was built with certain safe guards in order to stop the intrusion and tampering of the ‘enemy’ with the integrity of the system. To this end the software was developed to re-route the communications if the line became blocked or disconnected. In the early seventies the US government make it's ARPAnet (Advanced Research Project Administration network) public and including England and Norway in the system to make it truly international. The level of electronic ‘traffic’ became too much for the military to handle in the early eighties so the US military set up it’s own net exclusive to the military and the US National Science Foundation take over the administration of ARPAnet, creating it’s own NSFNET in the mid eighties. The ARPAnet is eventually switched off in nineteen ninety. The early nineties saw the introduction of information retrieval software such as Gopher. CERN release code for ‘hypertext’ which leads to the development of the World Wide Web and web browsers such as mosaic and Netscape. The growth of the internet is now becoming immeasurable by nineteen ninety five there were some six million servers and fifty thousand networks connected to the web. The question is now where does it go?

This is where I was hoping to go with it:

DISSERTATION PLAN

The Internet - Hope For The Future ?

The Internet is not the infinite forum, or next step in human evolution that the popular media has built it up to be, but a self perpetuating myth, an intellectual toy for computer professionals and academics alike.

Simon Kennedy

SUPERVISED BY : Sylvie Gambaudo
 
Introduction:

Re-iteration and expansion of theorem.

Definitions:

What is the "Internet", Cyber Space, Virtual Reality, WWW (World Wide Web), HTML (Hyper Text Mark-up Language), URL (Universal Resource Location), {Gopher, Janet, Telnet, FTP}.

History:

US military. Accademic involvement. Private individuals/business on line. US dominance, development of own country search engine (eg try searching for "football" with american bias search engine).

Developments:

Video conferencing. Voice control keyboards. Direct mind control keyboards (sun system spinal colummn reciever transmittter [based on amputee reasearch], and minds trained to think in certain patterns to be read by computer [new scientist]). Pc (personal computer) Vs Nc (network computer), economic implecations to Nc of 2nd hand Pc price drops (imminent). Interactive Java Script HTML. Interactive netstites (remote robot control). Inteligent Agents +ve (see also control!)

Media Hype:

Modern pre-conception. Study in america of effect on underprivilaged families given net access. Compare Hackers, The Net, Johnny Mnemonic, Lawnmower Man (I+II) with previous Sci-Fi/techno films. new trend with company URL's (eg Virgin Radio, Kellogs etc why?).

Attempts at Control:

Clipper vs Cypher Punk. Exon bill against indecency. Wirless Telegraphy Act. Saudi- Mullah sysop constantly checking viewing. Net nanny, safe surfer, ID subscription sites. Inteligent Agents -ve (see also development!).

The Net Will eat Itself:

Copy write implecations of public domain materials. Individual material reproduced in a number of sites (eg Star trek pages, x-file pages etc). Quote “Future dream is a shopping scheme” (Sex Pistols, Anarchy in the UK).
 
Social actualities:

As the modern city/nation state decays the virtual landscape increases. Further splitting of society into those who have info and those without (control of the means for production [Marks]). social profile of users (how? possible set up net site for people register information voluntary census [see Matts politics voting site]) vs stateless sites. Social effects isolationism of home workers (american paranioa traits).

Extrapolation of datum:

copies of surveys to be requested

Myth, the internet, and man:

Barthes Postmodernism.

Conclusions:

Brain Storm:-

History, US military, Media increase, access by individuals, Company interest (Kellogg's internet site), Universities, gopher, janet, telnet, netscape, WWW, HTML, intelligent agents, encryption, network computer vs. personal computer, data base function, library, interactive real-time web sites, copyright implications, publishing on the web, govermentality, exon bill, clipper chip (deceased), cypher punks, virus, hackers, 



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1 Comments:

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23 April, 2010 13:20  

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