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The act of entering cyberspace was, along with the entering of outer space, one of the most profound experiences of the twentieth century. In 1969, humans landed first ‘on’ the moon (July), and then ‘in’ cyberspace (September) with the connection of the first two nodes of the internet. Today the mountains of the Moon remain neglected and unexplored, but cyberspace has evolved into a deeply familiar habitat whose geography has been shaped by those who built and used it. This talk explores the evolution of the landscape of cyberspace from its creation as an unpopulated wilderness through its exploration, colonisation, cultivation, settlement and growth, and offers some predictions for the future of this most exotic place.
Sue Thomas is Professor of New Media at the Institute of Creative Technologies in the Faculty of Art, Design and Humanities. She has written several books including the novel 'Correspondence', short-listed for the 1992 Arthur C Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction Novel, and most recently the 2004 non-fiction cyberspace travelogue 'Hello World: travels in virtuality'. She has written about computers and the internet since the 1980s and is now working on 'Nature and Cyberspace: Stories, Memes and Metaphors', a study of the relationships between cyberspace and the natural world, forthcoming with Bloomsbury Academic. She co-directs the influential Transliteracy Research Group and the DMU Transdisciplinary Group, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.