The Audience is Listening

But do you know who’s there? Without presencial technology it’s like being in a room with the lights off.

The Internet is frequently referred to as cyberspace. The idea of hyperspace place, or that the Internet is presencial is not foreign to us. However, many of programs and applications fail to convey this sense of space.

Early on companies like Gooey and Firetalk allowed users viewing the same webpage to “see” others visiting at the same time. They could chat amongst themselves or leave notes for other people to read later on (as long as they were using the same program). This was a step forward towards making the Internet a place.

Instant Messengers have added another dimension to the Internet experience. By having a Buddy List, you can know which of your friends or colleagues are online at any given time (provided that you have them on your list). You are sitting at your computer and a message pops up “Fredi has just signed in”. It’s like you friend has just walked into the room-it almost seems rude not to say hello.

Recently, Adobe has literally added a third dimension to the web as well. Adobe’s Atmosphere allows web designers to create three-dimensional websites where you can interact with information or products in an almost “virtual reality” environment. In addition to interacting with products, you can also interact with a host or other visitors. You can easily see the other individuals; it’s as easy as seeing someone else in the room with you. This program helps cross the line between video games and more traditional Internet content i.e. text.

The emergent consequence of these technologies is referred to as presence technology. This technology is of great interest to the companies offering VoIP (Voice over IP) because it allows users to see who is online at any given moment and contact them. (That is a little short-sighted, in my opinion, on the part of these companies. We should be continuously connected to the Internet in the not too near future through one device or another.)

This could be considered a precursor to the long promised virtual reality hyperdimensional world waiting just on the other side of the computer screen. However, virtual reality actively engages the other four senses in addition to sight.

However, in reality these technologies represent only a fraction of the picture when “the entire procession of historical, biological, and cosmological events is reanalyzed in the light of modern mathematical discoveries like the fractal and feedback loops, it points towards this era- the turn of the century- as man’s leap out of history altogether and into the timeless dimension of Cyberia.”[1]

Until next time, Happy cyberian adventures!

Jason Ball

[1] Rushkoff, Douglas. Cyberia: Life in the Trenches of Hyperspace. 1994. HarperCollins Publishers. New York.

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