The Internet Revolution re-interpreted
Although the internet revolution appears, at least for the time 29 being, to have ground to a halt, information and communication technology make ever-deeper inroads into our everyday lives. In Cyberspace Odyssey , philosopher Jos de Mul researches the significance and consequences of the radical developments taking place. He shows himself to be well oriented and well informed, while simultaneously approaching the topic with a theoretical profundity that has seldom been reached in this field.
In De Mul’s view, the digital revolution will drastically modify our entire culture and will alter humanity itself. Biological evolution will be supplemented by technological evolution in which art, politics, and even human beings will be given a different face.De Mul eruditely demonstrates how literature and the visual arts have, for some time, been nourishing the roots of this process. In turn, new technological capabilities have raised developments to new levels. The novel has become interactive, and has entered into a symbiosis with the computer game. The visual arts are changing because our sense of reality itself is changing.
It is towards this point that De Mul addresses his most penetrating inquiries. What happens to human identity when the world becomes virtualised? How real are the expectations of a new stage in evolution, in which humanity can generate unprecedented contingencies with the aid of digital techniques? Could we live forever and be liberated from all our bonds?
Calling upon the ideas of such great thinkers such as Heidegger, Baudrillard, Plessner, and McLuhan, De Mul attempts to untangle expectations, to separate the realistic from the fantastic. Although he does anticipate a new dawn in human development, he does not believe that humanity can deify itself by means of the computer. Nonetheless, the nature of religion itself will alter under the influence of the digital media. Polytheism fits the fragmentary character of cyberspace and the Internet better, and will probably displace the single God of the single book.
Based on his wealth of cultural knowledge and expertise, De Mul defines the cybernetic revolution as an all-embracing phenomenon. Perennial philosophical questions are placed in an entirely new light, and hypertechnological developments appear to be difficult to comprehend without reference to the history of reasoning. With this, Cyberspace Odyssey offers a surprising interpretation of what is happening right before our very eyes: from the furtive advent of transhumanism to the criticalemancipatory potential of the computer game SimCity.