|From Interactivist – by Mark Poster
As the Internet developed greater and greater capabilities, from the mid-1980s onward, social and cultural critics began to speculate about the possibilities for democratization inherent in the new technology. After all, the Internet is, unlike the telephone system, highly decentralized and, unlike broadcast media, bi-directional; above all, unlike all previous communication technologies, it affords many-to-many links. In addition, the Internet has embedded within it copying and archiving abilities. These capacities pertain to the digital format of Internet communications, rendering copies cheap and exact, storage invisible and long-lasting. It also maximizes the openness of the connection. Anyone online can in principle connect with anyone else. Further it follows no border demarcations: one can communicate as easily from Los Angeles to Bangkok as from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Again, unlike most previous communication technologies, it is very difficult to regulate by the nation state. The postal system, telegraph, radio, and television all had territorial roots or posts that could be controlled by government officials. Not so with the Internet, which requires only a computer, modem, and protocols for a connection, one that once made allows any point to connect with any other due to its web-like structure.
What’s Left: Materialist Responses to the Internet
Next post: Anokchan No Longer Safe For Work