Cyberspace Definitions

William Gibson

Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts...A graphical representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the non-space of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding...

Marcos Novak

What is cyberspace? Here is one composite definition:

Cyberspace is a completely spatialized visualization of all information in global information processing systems, along pathways provided by present and future communications networks, enabling full copresence and interaction of multiple users, allowing input and output from and to the full human sensorium, permitting simulations of real and virtual realities, remote data collection and control through telepresence, and total integration and intercommunication with a full range of intelligent products and environments in real space.'

Cyberspace involves a reversal of the current mode of interaction with computerized information. At present such information is external to us. The idea of cyberspace subverts that relation; we are now within information. In order to do so we ourselves must be reduced to bits, represented in the system, and in the process become information anew.

Cyberspace offers the opportunity of maximizing the benefits of separating data, information, and form, a separation made possible by digital technology. By reducing selves, objects, and processes to the same underlying ground-zero representation as binary streams, cyberspace permits us to uncover previously invisible relations simply by modifying the normal mapping from data to representation.

To the composite definition above I add the following: Cyberspace is a habitat for the imagination. Our interaction with computers so far has primarily been one of clear, linear thinking. Poetic thinking is of an entirely different order. To locate the difference in terms related to computers: poetic thinking is to linear thinking as random access memory is to sequential access memory. Everything that can be stored one way can be stored the other; but in the case of sequential storage the time required for retrieval makes all but the most predictable strategies for extracting information prohibitively expensive. Cyberspace is a habitat of the imagination, a habitat for the imagination. Cyberspace is the place where conscious dreaming meets subconscious dreaming, a landscape of rational magic, of mystical reason, the locus and triumph of poetry over poverty, of "it-can-be-so" I over "it-should-be-so."