Cyberpower: The Culture and Politics of Cyberspace and the Internet

By Tim Jordan | Go to book overview
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Chapter 2

Cyberspace and the matrix

Key concepts

Gibsonian cyberspace

William Gibson coined the phrase ‘cyberspace’. Gibson’s fictional conception of cyberspace was of a place that collated all the information in the world and could be entered by disembodied consciousnesses. Disembodiment took place through a computer. Gibsonian cyberspace offers power to those who can manipulate information in cyberspace, either individual hackers relying on expertise or large institutions relying on corporate muscle.


Cyberpunk

Cyberpunk is a genre of science fiction that emerged in the 1980s. It analysed current society and technology by making them appear fictional and strange. Cyberpunk was a movement that contained such authors as William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Pat Cadigan and others. It had its own magazines, tropes and social networks. Cyberpunk became a general cultural term for an outlaw or critical attitude to the effects of information technology on society.


Computer networks

Computers process information and provide tools for doing this, from word processors to databases. Computers can communicate with each other, either to send information or to offer remote access to tools one computer has but another does not. This access is organised via dedicated cables or telephone lines and is governed by rules usually called protocols. Any computer organised to communicate with another is part of a network and any computer may be part of many networks.


Barlovian cyberspace

When cyberspace is understood as the space computer networks create, it can be called Barlovian cyberspace (as opposed to Gibsonian cyberspace, understood as a fictional and visionary conception of cyberspace). This space can be understood as a vastly more complex version of the space people enter when they talk on the phone. The emergence of global

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