Welcome to the internet, where everything is free

Every user of the internet has the ability to create content and share it with whoever they please. A user, or creator, is called a node.

Each node is apart of a larger network. There is no centralised hub for the information to be sent or received, rather there are nodes all over the world sending and receiving data. 

The reason for there being no centralised computer controlling all information trace back in history to World War 2 where there was a threat of the main hub being overtaken by the enemy. A computer is used as a main frame to process data. Multiple frames connect to the main frame which then sends it back out. So by having one main frame, infiltrating it would be detrimental to a country or business. That is why not having a main frame provides a level of protection not associated with information and power being held in one place. 

Personally I believe that this is a very smart thing to do. By not creating a so called ‘main frame’ 

In the 21st Century there are huge advances in technology compared to 50 years ago, so overriding the system of a central computer would be possible.

And with most aspects of society relying on computer for information and production it would be quite detrimental if the main hub was overtaken.

Though this is quite realistic to imagine now, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the emergence of Cyberpunk came about. 

Ah, no...
Ah, no…

Cyberpunk is the name surrounding the ideas, worries, stories and movement about the new technology. And the new dystopian future that was predicated to be caused by the emergence of new technologies.

But it was not all gloom and doom surrounding these new advances. The flow of information is much more free thanks to the openness of the internet. 

‘Thought, nothing but thought’, is a phrase used to describe the openness and freedom of the flow of information. With each nodes ability to broadcast across to the entire network, free speech is especially prevalent in today’s Western society.

Though this is not always welcomed. Edward Snowden and Julian Assange are two people who have freed confidential government information to the public, facing imprisonment. Being nodes within the network and technically doing what the network is created to do, sharing information that is supposedly confidential and not meant to be seen by all of the nodes. 

So was the Cyberpunk predictions realistic then? Has the changed in technology made the world a dystopian place?

I do not think it has. Having an open network with all nodes being equal to a degree has meant that advances are able to occur all across the globe. Of course there are limitations, but that rule applies to all aspects of life. Not just technology and communications. When a Blade Runner society is the norm, then we run. 

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5 thoughts on “Welcome to the internet, where everything is free

  1. You covered a lot in this post! I especially enjoyed your discussion of cyberpunk culture and of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange. I covered the cyber-libertarian belief’s of these men specifically in my blog post but the notion that they are simply nodes completing their civil duty is fascinating. Do you believe these men have committed crimes in leaking confidential information ?

    1. Personally I think that it really comes down to what sort of information that was leaked. After a certain number of years Government records are released to the public. In saying that though, if confidential information is leaked that could threaten the public then I think it’s not O.K. But releasing information that the Government was simply trying to cover up, that’s seen as fair by me.

  2. I feel like to say technology has created a dystopian world is be a bit extreme; I agree with you there. Especially if we compared it to the world of Bladerunner (which coincidentally was the bane of my existence in Year 12; i still hate it. Damn you HSC). But this week has got me thinking a lot about whether cyberspace is as free as the cyberpunk/cyberlibertarian guys hoped it would be. Is there is way more control than there should be? The whole idea is that the Internet was to be free and not controlled by one single person or organisation, but many organisations now do have that control, from the government to ISPs. But I can also see the point of view that if we have no control, things could get a little crazy. To refer back Snowden and Assange, in their specific cases I do think there were grounds for what they did, and I don’t think they should necessarily be seen as criminals. However, if we say that’s ok then what are we opening ourselves up to? Where do we draw the line? Should we draw the line at all? What are the consequences for having no control VS control? It’s one of those situations where we may not be able to have our cake and eat it too – maybe some control is necessary. I feel like it would be great if it was all truly free and equal, but I don’t know if that’s ever possible. There are always going to be bigger organisations in society who have the power to control cyberspace. But I guess it could be worse – we could live in China where they don’t even get Facebook *gasp*

  3. Wow this post is really detailed and explores a number of ideas covered in the weekly materials. I do not believe that the changes in technology and the constant advancements have created a dystopic world. I remember studying Bladerunner in high school and I found it to be very interesting and thought-provoking as it questions what it means to be human but also looks at the impact technology could have on the world in the future. To think that the world could become like that in Bladerunner is quite a disturbing thought, but at the moment, cyberspace and the consequences attached to the phenomenon are things to be celebrated.

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