Infosphere

Infosphere

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Infosphere is a neologism composed of information
Information
Information in its most restricted technical sense is a message or collection of messages that consists of an ordered sequence of symbols, or it is the meaning that can be interpreted from such a message or collection of messages. Information can be recorded or transmitted. It can be recorded as...

 and sphere
Sphere
A sphere is a perfectly round geometrical object in three-dimensional space, such as the shape of a round ball. Like a circle in two dimensions, a perfect sphere is completely symmetrical around its center, with all points on the surface lying the same distance r from the center point...

.

The first documented use of the word "InfoSphere" was a 1971 Time Magazine book review by R.Z. Sheppard in which he writes "In much the way that fish cannot conceptualize water or birds the air, man barely understands his infosphere, that encircling layer of electronic and typographical smog composed of cliches from journalism, entertainment, advertising and government."

In 1980 it was used by Alvin Toffler
Alvin Toffler
Alvin Toffler is an American writer and futurist, known for his works discussing the digital revolution, communication revolution, corporate revolution and technological singularity....

 in his book The Third Wave
The Third Wave (book)
The Third Wave is a book published in 1980 by Alvin Toffler. It is the sequel to Future Shock, published in 1970, and the second in what was originally just a trilogy that was continued with Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century in 1990...

 in which he writes "What is inescapabily clear, whatever we choose to believe, is that we are altering our infosphere fundamentally...we are adding a whole new strata of communication to the social system. The emerging Third Wave infosphere makes that of the Second Wave era - dominated by its mass media, the post office, and the telephone - seem hopelessly primitive by contrast".

The Toffler definition proved prophetic as the use of "Infosphere" in the 1990s expanded beyond media to speculate about the common evolution
Evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

 of the Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

, society
Society
A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations...

 and culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

.

In his book "Digital Dharma," Steven Vedro writes, "Emerging from what French philosopher-priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ was a French philosopher and Jesuit priest who trained as a paleontologist and geologist and took part in the discovery of both Piltdown Man and Peking Man. Teilhard conceived the idea of the Omega Point and developed Vladimir Vernadsky's concept of Noosphere...

 called the shared noosphere
Noosphere
Noosphere , according to the thought of Vladimir Vernadsky and Teilhard de Chardin, denotes the "sphere of human thought". The word is derived from the Greek νοῦς + σφαῖρα , in lexical analogy to "atmosphere" and "biosphere". Introduced by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin 1922 in his Cosmogenesis"...

 of collective human thought, invention and spiritual seeking, the Infosphere is sometimes used to conceptualize a field that engulfs our physical, mental and etheric bodies; it affects our dreaming and our cultural life. Our evolving nervous system has been extended, as media sage Marshall McLuhan
Marshall McLuhan
Herbert Marshall McLuhan, CC was a Canadian educator, philosopher, and scholar—a professor of English literature, a literary critic, a rhetorician, and a communication theorist...

 predicted in the early 1960s, into a global embrace."

The term was used by Dan Simmons
Dan Simmons
Dan Simmons is an American author most widely known for his Hugo Award-winning science fiction series, known as the Hyperion Cantos, and for his Locus-winning Ilium/Olympos cycle....

 in the science-fiction saga Hyperion
Hyperion Cantos
The Hyperion Cantos is a series of science fiction novels by Dan Simmons. Set in the far future, and focusing more on plot and story development than technical detail, it falls into the soft science fiction category...

 (published 1989) to indicate what the Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

 could become in the future: a place parallel, virtual, formed of billions of networks, with "artificial life" on various scales, from what is equivalent to an insect (small programs) to what is equivalent to a god (artificial intelligences), whose motivations are diverse, seeking to both help mankind and harm it.

The term has also been used by Luciano Floridi
Luciano Floridi
Luciano Floridi currently holds the Research Chair in philosophy of information and the UNESCO Chair in Information and Computer Ethics, both at the University of Hertfordshire, Department of Philosophy...

, on the basis of biosphere
Biosphere
The biosphere is the global sum of all ecosystems. It can also be called the zone of life on Earth, a closed and self-regulating system...

, to denote the whole informational environment constituted by all informational entities (thus including informational agents as well), their properties, interactions, processes and mutual relations. It is an environment comparable to, but different from cyberspace
Cyberspace
Cyberspace is the electronic medium of computer networks, in which online communication takes place.The term "cyberspace" was first used by the cyberpunk science fiction author William Gibson, though the concept was described somewhat earlier, for example in the Vernor Vinge short story "True...

 (which is only one of its sub-regions, as it were), since it also includes off-line and analogue spaces of information. According to Floridi, it is possible to equate the Infosphere to the totality of Being
Being
Being , is an English word used for conceptualizing subjective and objective aspects of reality, including those fundamental to the self —related to and somewhat interchangeable with terms like "existence" and "living".In its objective usage —as in "a being," or "[a] human being" —it...

. This equation leads him to an informational ontology.

Other uses


In the animated sitcom Futurama
Futurama
Futurama is an American animated science fiction sitcom created by Matt Groening and developed by Groening and David X. Cohen for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series follows the adventures of a late 20th-century New York City pizza delivery boy, Philip J...

, the Infosphere is a huge sphere floating in space, in which a species of giant, talking, floating brains attempts to store all of the information known in the universe. Because of this it was also chosen as the name of a Futurama wiki, The Infosphere.

The IBM
IBM
International Business Machines Corporation or IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, and it offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas...

 Software Group created the InfoSphere brand in 2008 for its Information Management
Information management
Information management is the collection and management of information from one or more sources and the distribution of that information to one or more audiences. This sometimes involves those who have a stake in, or a right to that information...

 software products.

See also

  • Infonaut
  • Noosphere
    Noosphere
    Noosphere , according to the thought of Vladimir Vernadsky and Teilhard de Chardin, denotes the "sphere of human thought". The word is derived from the Greek νοῦς + σφαῖρα , in lexical analogy to "atmosphere" and "biosphere". Introduced by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin 1922 in his Cosmogenesis"...

  • Semiosphere
    Semiosphere
    Semiosphere is the sphere of semiosis in which sign processes operate in the set of all interconnected Umwelten. The concept was first coined by Juri Lotman in 1982 and is now applied to many fields, including cultural semiotics generally, biosemiotics, zoosemiotics, geosemiotics, etc...

  • Simulated reality
    Simulated reality
    Simulated reality is the proposition that reality could be simulated—perhaps by computer simulation—to a degree indistinguishable from "true" reality. It could contain conscious minds which may or may not be fully aware that they are living inside a simulation....

  • Virtual novel

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