Astral projecting into…. Cyberspace???

Internet HighwayImage Source: Google

Communication on a  global scale was once deemed impossible. With volumes of water between continents this made the traditional messenger on a horse redundant and continents existed silently. However, of-course those travelling by ship brought news with them though the information would be months old and therefore, outdated or perhaps the information would have significantly been altered since their leaving.

Therefore, in 1851 when the first undersea cable was laid under the English channel the world was expanded. This was a significant technological advancement and amazed individuals due to the fact messages they wrote where able to be transmitted across water and received with the original still remaining in the origin location. However, this was a expensive messaging system to use though suddenly the world was connected in what can be compared to a nervous system in a living object.

‘A network of nerves of iron wire, strung with lightning, will ramify from the brain, New York, to the distant limbs and members’ – The New York Tribune

This technology expanded across the globe creating the need for the standardization of time zones and also allowing for items such as  weather forecasts to be reported. If we compare this to society today we can see how rapidly we have evolved since 1851.  It has been one hundred and sixty two years since the first undersea cable was laid and today in Australia most homes and institutions now have / provide access to wireless internet. Though this technology evolved from a system originally used for messaging across the globe the internet today is used for more than merely sharing information and predicting the weather.

Lessig 2006* provides an excellent example of how individuals today use the internet and to what I compare to  astral project into cyberspace to become someone they cannot be in the ‘real world‘.
I first projected myself into the ‘cyberspace community‘ when my friend introduced me to World Of Warcraft (aka WOW). World of Warcraft  allows you to create a character from their facial features to which race you want to be and you can even customise your clothes now due to transmogrification which allows you to use other pieces of armour which you find more appealing without losing any stats from your original armour.
Though World of Warcraft made me a thief, or as I was called in the game a ninja. I would steal gear from dungeon runs and I would also steal from my guild bank due to the fact that I was not phased to be kicked from dungeons  or  from my guild. As Lessig states ‘real space‘ is very different from cyber space. As borrowing or stealing goods in ‘real space‘ would  make me a wanted criminal. Further this with the fact that World of Warcraft individuals hack other accounts and steal their goods and gold. This by definition is clearly a crime but due to it being in a cyberworld there has been no law committed. This has been publicly displayed through the popular show The Big Bang Theory.

Therefore, it has been a very short history of wire to wireless message transfers I can only imagine what will happen in the next one hundred years.

References:

*Lessig, L. (2006). Four puzzles from cyber space. In L. Lessig Code version 2.0

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8 thoughts on “Astral projecting into…. Cyberspace???

  1. Within WoW, it is heavily moderated correct? So although real space law does not apply, the moderators impose their form of morality and usually aim to prevent hacks amongst other things. Therefore, there is some form of law imposed on players. What I find interesting is that not all games follow this rule of protecting player investment. EVE online has little input from moderators allowing it’s players to create wealth through hacks, ponzi schemes and heists. Although the game’s currency has real-world worth, it’s moderators do not interfere. Within their game space, there is no law.

    1. It is really only moderated if you are reported. For example I constantly see bots running around used to help level and my friend was hacked and had to contact Blizzard for them to track it down to be return to him. So they only interfere when contacted

  2. This is a really good post, I like the use of WoW and how hacking an account on it isnt really deemed a crime. It is a shame too because hacking a WoW account should be a crime as a person is likely to spend hundreds of dollars on their account, doenst that mean their money is stolen with a hack? anyway I love the Big Bang Theory link at the bottom to tie all of that up 🙂

  3. As a former WOW addict, I strongly identify with the point you’re making. However, I never could bring myself to steal from my guild or fellow players. I’m not casting any moral judgements here, but it’s interesting how people are less likely to abide by moral principles online than in reality. Is it because we don’t feel as bad stealing from someone we will never meet on the other side of the planet? Or is it the opposite; that we don’t steal in reality because there is a more threatening ‘gate keeper’?
    Food for thought, in any case.

  4. Amy you criminal! 😛 Great post and great analysis of cyberspace. I thought comparing the legal system online to ours in real life was really original and a great point to make. Cyberspace is limitless. I loved your personal story as well, it just made this post that much more interesting to read compared to some drier posts I’ve seen. Also, illustrating your point with the Big Bang Theory clip was too funny.

  5. Great post, I particularly like your example of WoW as a Cyberspace (or a cyberculture), for I feel that games like these are almost the most immersive examples of cyberspace. I find that especially in games such as above where you are given freedom in your actions, and are not restricted to your own linear narrative (as per most books and many games) really allow for you to become truly sweat up by the experience and lose a sense of reality.

  6. I’ve never played WoW, but maybe that’s a good thing. I wouldn’t want to spend time in a world where a man would steal another man’s battle ostrich…

    It is really interesting to see how far we’ve come in such a short stretch of time (and to consider where we will end up). I think there’s an extent to which institutions like law enforcement are struggling to keep up with the rapid changes that the modern world is undergoing.

  7. Fantastic use of incorporating World of Warcraft in there. I have friends who have either been witness to an account being hacked, or had their accounts hacked themselves, and they definitely had similar reactions, though perhaps not as extreme as Sheldon!

    It’s also interesting how you raised the idea of being a criminal in cyber-space, and that while it is stealing, there aren’t the same rules and laws, so there is no punishment. Well written.

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