The Cyberspace Handbook

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In his book, The Trouble with Computers (1995), Thomas Landauer amassed a considerable amount of information relating specifically to the use of IT and productivity. 5 per cent, diminishing as the cost per IT/white-collar worker doubled between 1979 and 1992. This paradox, according to Landauer, is not due to the fact that computers do not provide real and tangible benefits—for example, in the field of telecommunications. Rather, it is due to the fact that companies have not been clear about the uses to which they put computers and do not distinguish between information which is essential and productive and that which is sought out for inefficient aims.

At this early stage, government and university institutions such as Stanford, ARPA and MIT provided probably the most important hothouses for incubating new ideas, with significant contributions from commercial organisations such as IBM and the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). During the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, important theoretical innovations such as the transistor, Ethernet and the graphical computer interface were developed into commercial products that slowly transformed the post-war environment of the information society.

5 An example of the Mandelbrot set: zooming in on this complex image reveals self-similarity. 6 Sierpenski’s Triangle demonstrates how even simple objects when iterated become increasingly difficult to quantify. complexity arising from even the simplest expressions have provided a theoretical model for describing cyberspace itself. Space and place One of the important functions of cyberspace has been to force a re-evaluation of our conceptions of space: as we have already seen, since the Enlightenment the reification of physical, geometric space via Descartes, Newton and Leibniz has been an important contribution to our sense of the real world as operating in three dimensions.

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