Community in the Digital Age (08 Sep 2004)
In "Cyberville", Stacy Horn's analysis of the chat salon ECHO, she remarks that people can "have different personalities in text" than their real life personalities, and may be different again over the telephone. Personality is not a property of the abstract mind, but of the mind-body as experienced through all its motor-intentional modes. If we can understand those modes, we have at least a glimmer of hope of building a cyberspace that is an acceptable alternative for the physical world. It is not a question of real versus virtual but of understanding how we live rather than simulating the where.
Human-computer interaction is a great challenge for telepistemology. In the real world, we rely on others for most of our knowledge. If we can believe and trust the people we meet online, we can continue to learn and prosper as online beings. Without intimacy and trust, our existence in cyberspace will remain an impoverished substitute.
The call of Borgmann is important as he writes, "The claim that cyberspace liberates people from the accidents of gender, race, class, and bodily presence is often made by advocates of electronically distributed education. But to conceal a problem is not to solve it. We have to learn to respect and encourage people as they actually exist. ? The fuzzed identities of cyberspace, moreover, lend themselves to their own kind of mischief."
Article URL: http://www.acm.org/ubiquity/book_reviews/v5i28_tripathi-barney.html
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