Wednesday, 25 November 2009

The Commercialization of the Internet

Vincent C. (1995), in his article- 'A Cultural Transition: The Commercialization of the Internet': "A cultural transition has clearly taken place on the Internet. Even in the past several months, there has been a staggering increase in the number of commercial sites on the Net. In the past several years, Internet usage has expanded from almost exclusively academic and military interests to encompass a much broader scope. The Net is fast becoming a more visible factor in our society. Magazines such as Newsweek contain weekly "cyberspace" sections, while popular television shows like the Simpsons boast their own web sites. The effects on the medium have so far been mixed. The Internet is still developing as a means of communication, and the original network was not designed with the interests of corporate retailers in mind. Some have chosen to exploit the weaknesses of systems such as Usenet in the name of business. Others have made genuinely useful services available in exchange for prominent advertising. The driving force behind these cultural transitions has been the World-Wide Web, introducing a much more graphical, esthetically pleasing means of conveying information to the average user. Future developments such as the adaptation of HTML 3.0 will undoubtedly add momentum to the change. The advent of secure electronic money and URL content labeling will also have a sizable effect on the business climate of the Net."

According to Barry L et al, commercialization of the Internet has advanced. "The Internet has now become almost a "commodity" service, and much of the latest attention has been on the use of this global information infrastructure for support of other commercial services. Products are available to facilitate the provisioning of that information and many of the latest developments in technology have been aimed at providing increasingly sophisticated information services on top of the basic Internet data communications."

Barry Leiner et al (2003): 'A Brief History of the Internet'. Available at (Accessed on 25 November 2009)

Vincent Christopher (1995): "A Cultural Transition: The Commercialization of the Internet." Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Available at (accessed on 24 November 2009)

Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC): 'US Online Advertising Revenues, First half 1999-First half 2009 (millions).' IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report: 2009 Second quarter and First Six Months Results, October 5, 2009. Available at (Accessed on 25 November 2009)


Last year, a note was posted on my facebook page calling for writers and poets to send in inspiring works of poetry for a book called 'Poetry for Charity.' The idea was that the best poems would be selected for a book and it would be sold globally-proceeds would go to different charities for children. It seemed like a great opportunity for me to take those hidden poems in my journal and make a child happy. There weren't any terms for payment but people didn't seem to care, I for one didn't even think about the monetary value- the idea was fascinating enough. I submitted a poem: "Game of Hearts" to an email and weeks later the book was out. It was amazing to see the writers all the way from Afghanistan, France, Kenya, the UK and the US, Australia, etc some of whom were accomlshed and recognised poets. I was proud to be a contributor and that was enough payment because I probably would never have had the particular idea myself. "Poetry for charity is a new project which aims to bring together several writers from various regions of the world using the facebook social networking website, with a common aim of donating their poems and spoken word pieces to be added to a collection. All the revenue raised from the sale of the book would be donated to 3 different charities for every edition of the collection. The first “Poetry for charity, Volume one” features the work of 34 writers from different continents and backgrounds and volume 2 has 68 writers contributing to the collection.Through poetry for charity we have been able to encourage a new breed of writers, and support worthy causes." (2009): Lulu marketplace. Available at (accessed on 23 November, 2009)

Monday, 9 November 2009

Citizen Journalism

, CEO of Pelago made a very interesting case for Citizen Journalism in his web post. He said:

"The first was the trend toward perfect information, or simply access to exactly the right information at the right time in the right form. This is an incredibly exciting trend, because it represents a shift of power to the individual, who will become literally enlightened in virtually every context. This trend was and is visible everywhere on the Web. With the advent of the Web, massive amounts of content suddenly became “finger-tippy.” Not only is more content becoming available, but the manner in which it is organized is evolving."

In Nigeria, Citizen Journalism is directly changing democracy and indirectly improving the lives of people. So many things in the society has been taken for granted or ignored because of the poor media coverage and the easily influenced legal system- but since media houses opened their pages and air space to citizens to make input using mobile phones, video cameras, tape recorders and other multimedia gadget to capture life in their area, so many societal ills and vices that were swept under the carpet has been unearthed and the culprit brought to book. These included police brutality, ritual killings, poor health care and amenities, etc that were supposedly on paper eradicated. The citizens have been equipped with some power to bring back in some way a level of "fear of the law." Government officials and people with power have become a little more cautious than before because anybody walking by may have a hidden camera in her/his sun shade or something more high tech to expose their "hidden acts."

pictures from:

Pervasive Journalsim?

Something about Pervasive Journalism brought to mind the issue of Artificial Life and the concept of robosapiens which was mention in the last post. Amazingly, apart from the contemporary scholars like Stellarc, who also belonged to the school of thought which believed that man has always been coupled with technology making them prosthetic bodies ( 10 November 2009), Marshall McLuhan in his 1964 book "Understanding Media: the extensions of man" also made reference to technology being an extension of humans just as clothes were an extension of the skin and the wheel was an extension of the feet.
With this, Pervasive Journalism could be said to be a way where man comes in contact with his inseparable half, technology. According to Kramer et al "This pervasive recording of events demonstrates the emergence of a quality of ubiquitous and pervasive journalistic practice. On the one hand we are beginning to observe a new quality of journalism
emerge. On the other hand we witness how this could lead towards a culture where people observe each other constantly and therefore build a newer “panoptic” quality of surveillance society."

*Picture taken from News and Technology lecture presentation by Gavin Stewart for the course Media and Cyberculture- 10 November, 2009.

*McLuhan M (1964): Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man.



Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Some informationalist perspective of cyberculture

When I first started reading about Artificial Intelligence, AI, the thoughts that kept playing around in my mind were thoughts of movies like the cyborg in Minority Report and the robots with feelings and thoughts in IRobots. I also thought about the little boy that wasn’t really human in the Spielberg's movie “Artificial Intelligence” and it made the whole concept fascinating because of how Sci Fi movies have painted the picture, it couldn't possibly be real. However, the concept of AI became a bit scary especially after seeing what Stellarc formerly known as Stelios Arcadiou had done with the Internet and the human body.
According to his website -, Stellarc, who among other things is the chairperson in the Performance Art Department, School of Arts, Brunel University West London, UK , developed the “FRACTAL FLESH, as part of Telepolis through a touch-screen interfaced Muscle Stimulation System, enabling remote access, actuation and choreography of the body. Performances such as PING BODY and PARASITE probed notions of telematic scaling and the engineering of external, extended and virtual nervous systems for the body using the Internet. Current projects include the EXTRA EAR- a surgically constructed ear as an additional facial feature that coupled with a modem and a wearable computer will act as an Internet antenna, able to hear RealAudio sounds”. He also claimed that the human body is both a zombie and a cyborg that has always relied on one form of technology or the other to exist.
Most recently, the IDriver made headlines when the Appirion firm made up of researchers in the artificial intelligence team at the Free University of Berlin launched this new technology which has the ability to convert the iPhone into a controller pad just like a video game pad, capable of directing a two ton minivan. To add to that, I have read about Japan’s first teacher robot that can show about 7 different human emotions ( and even robots that cook rice. I couldn’t help the thoughts that humans might be evolving again, this time from homo sapiens to robosapiens. It was both disturbing and yet consoling to know that I was not the only one to have come up with that thought. one of the people to buy into this ideology is Michio Kaku, American theoretical physicist who shares some of my uneasy opinions concerning AI and the future of man.
According to the professor, in about 50 to 100 years from now the computer silicon chip that has been responsible for the laudable achievements in computing today would come to an end and would be replaced with the birth of quantum computers. These proposed kind of computers has the abilities to break complicated codes and even operate with the speed of the human thought. Kaku said it might not be long before robots would relegate humans to the background or even keep them in zoos and they would be in charge. “Robots with human-level intelligence may finally become a reality, and in the ultimate stage of mastery, we’ll even be able to merge our minds with machine intelligence,” he said. Thus he has proposed that a chip called ASIMOV should be implanted in robots from now so that when they begin to propose a threat like wanting to overtake humans, the chip would disengage and shut them down.
Now that is a freak show even Spilberg didn’t see this coming.


iDriver - iPhone remote controlled car: Available at (Accessed November, 2009)

Michio Kaku on Artificial Intelligence: Available at
(Accessed November 2009)