Extrageographic and other ideas

Extrageographic.org was set up at the turn of the century. The web was a different place then. Here’s a few influential ideas, about the web, from that time.

In the early days of the web, before modern “social media” the idea that the web would be everyday, part of daily life, with its own culture was considered by many to be ludicrous. But author William Gibson could see it coming.

From William Gibson’s Neuromancer:
“Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts… A graphic representation of data abstracted from banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding…”

Gibson talking to Jack Sargeant in Rapid Eye magazine, 1990s:
“Information is extra-geographical, it doesn’t have anything to do with where it is.”

Another of Gibson quotes, circa 1993: “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.”

And there’s Lee Felsenstein, the 1970s Homebrew Computer Club and Community Memory.

Felsenstein: The Commons Of Information – the Agora, Industrialization and Privatization.

“The village square is a commons – it belongs to no one but is used by all. The agora is a commons of information – a way of interacting. It is not property…

…a group named Resource One, Inc. had formed in San Francisco to secure a timesharing computer for roughly this purpose… We called it “Community Memory”.

“What happened was that an agora appeared, with an unknowable number of different needs, desires, suggestions, proposals, offers, statements, poems and declarations croppping up.

We, who had expected only a few categories of classified-ad items, were amazed at the discovery. It became clear that the crucial element was the fact that people could walk up to the terminals and use them hands-on, with no one else interposing their judgment. The computer system was not interposing itself between the individuals who used it, either.”

Felsenstein was inspired by Ivan Illich’s Tools for Conviviality; “that technology attains its highest purpose only when it becomes understandable, approachable, repairable and usable by ordinary people”.

2014-06-01T19:19:59+00:00Features, History|0 Comments

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