M. O. Ene
In the beginning, there were computers. The Internet linked up the computers. The World Wide Web linked files in these computers. And a new world was born. The Cyberspace. With an estimated 1 billion Web pages (up from 1.3 million in 1995) the borderless Internet community has become a vast world of surfing enthusiasts and cybercommerce entrepreneurs. Today, the Cyberspace has become a big market for everything from the traditional retailing to billion-dollar business deals and, more important, a world of its own -- the true Global Village. The time has come to study the emerging trends in all its ramifications.
On October 24, 1995, the FNC unanimously passed a resolution defining the term “Internet.” This definition was developed in consultation with the leadership of the Internet and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Communities.
"The Federal Networking Council (FNC) agrees that the following language reflects our definition of the term "Internet".
refers to the global information system that --
(i) is logically linked together by a globally unique address space based on the Internet Protocol (IP) or its subsequent extensions/follow-ons;
(ii) is able to support communications using the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) suite or its subsequent extensions/follow-ons, and/or other IP-compatible protocols; and
(iii) provides, uses or makes accessible, either publicly or privately, high level services layered on the communications and related infrastructure described herein."
The Internet has pushed the frontiers of human imagination to the limit and beyond. It is a disrespectful and even disruptive technology platform. It has an economically enabling environment that levels the field for commercial and communication competition. The Internet tradition is extremely disrespectful of what is erstwhile considered normal. It tears down all known national and artificial barriers: ethnic, geographic, military, political, religious, social, etc. Its potentials scare powerful people, especially in fly-by-night democracies and in repugnant regimes. Internet packs a “soft-power” that is individualistic, highly decentralized, hard to control, and therefore dangerous in the wrong hands.
World Wide Web (www): The Web enables millions of computers users scouting the Internet to access files stored in a central Internet computer called servers. However, recent advances have produced programs that enable users to search for and transfer files from one desktop computer to another, bypassing the intermediate servers.
Cyberspace: Also known as “Cyberia” in some circles, the Cyberspace represents the totality of the digital world constructed by computer networks, made up of Web pages and Internet activities involving electronic, mechanical, and biological systems. A term coined by author William Gibson in his novel "Neuromancer," presently and primarily it refers especially to the Internet.
Cyberology is therefore proposed to be the science, study, or theory of the cyberspace and the Internet. A scientific study with an ample amount of everyday electronics and commonplace cybernetics, it should not be narrowed down to cybercommerce, online sociology, and the psychology of the Internet. It should be about the examination of emerging cyberconcepts -- critiquing of old ideas and analyzing new ones -- the roles of man and machine in cybercommunity, the socioeconomic and cultural impacts of the increasing use of the Internet on society, the evolution of policies and practices, the social, attitudinal, economic, and political trends in cybercommunities, comparative studies, communication conundrums, etc. Of course, anyone who is occupied with any aspect(s) of this science is a Cyberologist.
Cyberology should study everyday events, thoughts, and actions that result from the powerful and complex interplay between enormous forces of change and human characteristics; the evolution of human interaction on the Internet either as individuals or groups; the forces and persons that impact the evolution of Internet at particular points in its history; and the impact of the Internet on the private and public lives of human beings and on the understanding of the universe.
With the appendage of the prefix “cyber” to every known lexical item, cyber-newspeak sometimes perplexes the uninitiated. However, we have to start somewhere in analyzing some silent changes creeping in on the way cyber-communities interact. To do so effectively, cyberologists will need to come up with some specific terms and concepts to facilitate the studies of cyberspace and the sharing of information. It is still not en vogue to concatenate “cyber” and the many words that apply to this new frontier. But it is only a matter of time. There is absolutely no reason why the hyphen should not be discarded. Therefore, in addition to the "e" and "net" prefix, we should expect the following terms to become common: cyberage, cyberattacks, cybercinema, cybercommunity, cyberconcepts, cybercrime, cyberpsychology, cyberpunk, cybertalk, cyberwarfare, etc.
The estimated number of Web pages is over a billion. The Web is expanding at an astronomical rate, and many developing countries are yet to embrace the three-decade-old phenomenon. Today, Tuesday, July 4th, 2000, the term Cyberology emerges, an event that will surely feature when next we update the history of the Internet. It is expected to embrace and encompass existing cyberdisciplines such as history of the Internet (Cyberhistory), Cyberbooks, Cyberpublications, Cyberologists, Psychologyu of the Internet (Cyberpsychology), Cybergeography, Computer Modulated Communications (Cybercommunications), Cyberterms (also called "netlingo"), Cyberspeak, Cyberlaw, Cybersociology, and even Cybersex.
Are you a cyberologist? Do you want to be one? Join us to examine key cross-disciplinary issues in the evolution of the Internet.
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