Lora's Tour

Cyberspace: Through its myriad, unblinking video eyes, distant places and faces, real or unreal, actual or long gone, can be summoned to presence. From vast databases that constitute the culture's deposited wealth, every document is available, every recording is playable, and every picture is viewable. Around every participant, this: a laboratory, an instrumented bridge; taking no space, a home presiding over a world . . . and a dog under the table.

Cyberspace: First Steps. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991.

This present cyberspace as a virtual space of all information, all the time. In a way it grants freedom because anyone can access any knowledge at anytime. On the other hand, this points out that there is no way of differentiating the real from the simulated. In fact, as theorist Jean Baudrillard points out, information might simply be a simulacrum -- a copy with no original.

Neal Stephenson, author of Snow Crash, describes a metaverse which is his definition of what cyberspace will be like. His book illustrates both ideas. There is a program called a "librarian," which looks just like a librarian and can access nearly instantly all the information in the Library of Congress which is stores not only all past information but also a constant stream of new info. Stephenson also shows simulation because people entering his metaverse can design their own avatars, representations of themselves, that may not actually look anything like themselves.

Cyberspace Web Hypertext