Real and virtual worlds – Better together: The internet, supposedly a new realm, is most useful when coupled to the real world

In the early days of the internet, the idea that it represented an entirely new and separate realm, distinct from the real world, was seized upon by both advocates and critics of the new technology. Advocates liked the idea that the virtual world was a placeless datasphere, liberated from constraints and restrictions of the real world, and an opportunity for a fresh start. This view was expressed most clearly in the “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” issued by John Perry Barlow, an internet activist, in February 1996. “Governments of the industrial world, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from cyberspace, the new home of mind,” he thundered. “Cyberspace does not lie within your borders. Our world is different. We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth.”

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