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Word Count: 10,155
Internet A Medium or a Message The State of the Net An Interim Report about the Future of the Internet Who are the participants who constitute the Internet Users - connected to the net and interacting with it The communications lines and the communications equipment The intermediaries eg the suppliers of on-line information or access providers Hardware manufacturers Software authors and manufacturers browsers site development tools specific applications smart agents search engines and others The Hitchhikers search engines smart agents Artificial Intelligence - AI - tools and more Content producers and providers Suppliers of financial wherewithal currently - corporate and institutional cash to be replaced in the future by advertising money The fate of each of these components - separately and in solidarity - will determine the fate of the Internet The Internet has hitherto been considered the territory of computer wizards Thus any attempt at predicting its future applied the Olympic formula Faster Higher Stronger to its hardware and software determinants Media experts sociologists psychologists advertising and marketing executives were left out of the collective effort to determine the future face of the Internet The Internet cannot be currently defined as a medium It does not function as one - rather it is a very disordered library mostly incorporating the writings of non-distinguished megalomaniacs It is the ultimate Narcissistic experience Yet ever since the invention of television there hasnt been anything as begging to become a medium as the Internet is Three analogies spring to mind when contemplating the Internet in its current state A chaotic library A neural network or the equivalent of a telephony network in the making A new continent These metaphors prove to be very useful even business-wise They permit us to define the commercial opportunities embedded in the Internet Yet they fail to assist us in predicting its future which lies in its transformation into a medium How
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