Information Superhighway or Highway One?

Welsch, Wolfgang (2002) Information Superhighway or Highway One? UNSPECIFIED.

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I intend to combine thoughts on the US information superhighway with deliberations about another type of highway, the Californian Highway Number One. The information superhighway is a project of the 90s: a US-wide digital communication system combining computer, TV and phonelines in order to provide interactive access to all sorts of information. The Highway Number One is California's most beautiful highway, built in the 50s and running from North California to Mexico, mostly along the Pacific coast with wonderful scenic views.

Connecting the prospect of the information superhighway with a look back to the Interstate highway system is not unusual. Ralph Smith, who as early as in 1971 - in his book The Wired Nation - was the first to conceive of an "electronic highway system", described it as "a new interstate highway system". And today Vice-President Al Gore, the country's leading advocate of the information superhighway, suggests: "One helpful way is to think of the national information infrastructure as a network of highways - much like the Interstates begun in the '50s."

The analogy usually serves to promote the new system. As the older of the two, the interstate highway system, has proved such a success - realized as it was in the face of many mental and emotional obstacles - the parallel might help to overcome obstacles to the new system.

But I neither want to justify the new system by looking at the old one, nor will I suggest that we should simply move on to the new system for reasons of contemporariness. My aim is rather to compare the types of experience linked to these two systems and to suggest that we should combine them, should cruise along both kinds of highway.

Item Type: Other
Uncontrolled Keywords: Information, Rheingold, Internet
Subjects: Philosophie > Philosophische Disziplinen > Medienphilosophie, Theorie der Virtualität, Cyberphilosophie
Depositing User: Users 2 not found.
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2020 12:24
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2020 12:24

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