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The Network: World of the Infonaut

by Anders Sandberg

Symbol: a network diagram

Network Diagram

The global communications network is the largest cohesive social unit

Economy based on the exchange and production of information

Fluid organisation, both generalism and specialism rewarded

Community becomes fluid and voluntary

Urban centers become important mainly as obvious meeting places, geography loses its importance due to fast global transports.

Declining number of people involved in manufacture of physical products, instead services and information become important.

People organise into networks of shared interests and views (Special Interest Groups, activist movements, adhocracies, fanclubs, task forces).

Meritocracy and amicocracy: you gain access to high status networks by your skills, knowledge or contacts.

Politics becomes polycentric, with old power centers partially losing powers to new centers, often with new power dimensions.

United culture dissolves into a sea of possibilities. Creativity is unleashed but coherence is lacking.

Values are influenced by the constant media flow, they move like Brownian motion.

Highest accomplishments in computer science and media.

Products, services and contacts become customised, service and quick delivery is paramount. Gaining attention is everything.

Examples: Parts of the West in the late 90's and 21st century, the scientific community.

Psyche:

Cosmos is a great network of information, where the interactions are more important than the objects.

Everything might be known, but everything might not be worth knowing.

The self is something that can be deconstructed and reconstructed.

Identity can be changed or multiple.

The aeon of the child: no need to grow up, curiosity and playfulness are rewarded. Instant gratification demanded.

Postmodern and transmodern philosophy, but multiple philosophies can coexist in different parts of the network.

Information, complexity and evolution becomes the paradigm for science, economics and the humanities.

Time is divergent: there are multiple possible futures.

Mythic images deal with exploration, creation, accessing. The Hacker-trickester, the programmer-creator, the software Guru, the dumb but powerful Spirit in the Machine which may deny access, The Conspiracy, the Global Brain evoked by the Net.

Psychological stagnation in the Network can produce a sense of confusion, information overload and rootlessness. Identity and concepts just dissolve into parts.

Psychological liberation in the Network can produce the understanding that we can both be individuals and parts of the Network, which can encompass the other archetypes locally. We can become the creators of our own realities, ourselves and our own abilities.

Space:

Space becomes random: separations may shift from time to time, context to context. Physical space less important than social space, logical space and mental space.

Complex spatial divisions, fluid and irrgular. Geographic Information Systems, cellular phone base stations, network architectures, hypertext layout.

Architecture and town planning becomes based on the infrastructure, forming a network.

The most dominant architecural feature is the antenna tower.




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content © Anders Sandberg
page uploaded 28 June 2000, last modified 26 October 2009