In the beginning of chapter eight in Thomas Rid’s Cyber War Will Not Take Place, I enjoyed the author’s reference to William Gibson’s novel, Neuromancer. The term cyberspace was effectively coined in Gibson’s novel, as well as creating the building blocks for the recent release of the video game Cyberpunk 2077; in this, the player adventures in the future city of Night City (the same fictional city mentioned in Neuromancer), and frequently ‘jacks-in’ to cyberspace to interact and hack Internet-connected devices. The image I provided is a screenshot of Cyberpunk 2077, showing the moment right before the player physically attaches an internet cable into his arm. I find it interesting how terms thought to be primarily science-fiction have evolved to everyday use among leading organizations. In Cyberpunk 2077, the use of robotics, synthetic upgrades, cyberlimbs, hacking, and VR/AR all pose significant questions regarding the future of cyber warfare, whether fictional at the time or not (Fandom. n.d.).
As discussed in the reading, the term cyberspace certainly has a definition that changes depending on who is using it. Having served in the United States Air Force, I can attest to Rid’s viewpoint on the rather ridiculous meaning behind the Air Force’s mission to “fly, fight and win…in air, space and cyberspace (Rid, 2013). While the word cyberspace merely addresses the entire Internet and interconnected devices and networks, I find that accurately defining something that is evolving at such a fast rate is rather tricky. Today, cyberspace’s definition has changed just in recent years, in that now, cyberspace can literally mean the connection between your often-absurd internet-connected devices at home, for example, a Wi-Fi-enabled coffee maker or refrigerator.
IT’s use of analogies, as Thomas Rid discusses, has always been complicated and extensive; the number of terms, abbreviations, and ‘buzz words’ we have to remember is shocking, as well as their often poorly-designed structures and meanings. For example, even the proper term for security relating to I.T. is something that does not necessarily have a single choice; depending on the age or career of the individual in question, they may define I.T.’s security as infosec or cybersecurity, among many others. Going back to my original point, while discussing a video game surely does not belong in an academic forum, I find several of the game’s references to be eye-opening regarding this week’s reading and the future of cyberwar and cyberspace. While some of the game’s hacks, abilities, story, and general technology-level may be indeed science fiction, as Rid points out, these rather-illustrious claims about our civilization in the next fifty-six years may indeed prove true; this goes to show how even with our society’s perceived high level of technical-superiority, we are merely grasping at straws trying to effectively identify the very same advances we produce.
Rid, Thomas. 2013. Cyber War Will Not Take Place. (pp. 139-218). Oxford University Press, Inc., USA.
Fandom. (n.d.). Cyberpunk 2077. Retrieved January 13, 2021, from https://cyberpunk.fandom.com/wiki/Cyberpunk_2077.