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April 2nd, 2000



Along the lines of Ryan’s pings about the "e" and "i" prefixes, and the ".com" suffix, I’d like to propose that another prefix be thrown into the trash bin: "cyber".

It used to be that cyber evoked images of a futuristic society for me, one in which machines and humans worked together in poor lighting, clouds of smoke, and had flying cars zipping around. Information lines were as common as clotheslines (used to be). Humans with electronic implants – implants that change the way they look, the way they feel. Cyborgs. Sure, it wasn’t necessarily a good vision, but it was an interesting and fictional one.

Today, though, cyber has been eaten alive by the media and public at large. It’s been downgraded from a beautiful fantasy to an ugly, mundane reality. Cybersquatting. Cyberstalking. Cyberchatting. Cybereverything. Illinois is looking to pass a Cyberstalking law; I had no idea that cyborgs in this state were at risk!

It probably wouldn’t hurt to use a term such as "online stalking" for the instance. But it wouldn’t sound cool, and it wouldn’t fit in well with the mass media’s skewed view of what the Internet is. -pm

Posted in Technology

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