The Communication Model of Virtual Universe

Multipolarity, ICT, Cyberculture, Education and Media Manipulation

Research Paper (postgraduate), 2013

42 Pages, Grade: College and University



0. Contextualization

1. The Cyber Era

2. The Collective Intelligence

3. Knowledge Society

4. Concept of do Cyberculture

5. A Post-Modern Culture

6. Educative Communication

7. The Culture of Connection

8. Anonymous and Wikileaks: Hackers or a New Cyberculture?

9. Acknowledgments

10. References

0. Contextualization

The virtual environments can be considered as one of the factors driving the transformation of mass media, associating new forms in network communication and making the information more accessible to any person that has access to the worldwide network of computers, promoting the production and dissemination of information in science and technology for teaching and research in all areas of knowledge and different sectors of society. According to Castells (2009), it is fundamental to think of communication as a necessary element of sociability, understanding the act of communicating from its symbolic nature and inherently cultural. Lévy (2010) adds to that, asserting that the Collective Intelligence is a determining factor in competitiveness, creativity and human development in a knowledge based economy, or in an information economy in the “Network Society”.

Communications technologies allow for the annihilation of distance and for globalization - the potential for rapid, synchronous and asynchronous communication also changes the relationship to time (Castells, 2000a). This is because communication technologies, such as the Internet, allow for decentralization of operations and focusing of control, increasing the effectiveness of networks relative to hierarchical structures (Castells, 2000b). To Dennis Macquail (2010, p.4), “the term mass communication was coined along with that of mass media , early in the twentieth century to describe what was then a new social phenomenon and a key feature of the emerging modern world that was being built on the foundations of industrialism and popular democracy”. Today, the mass media (newspapers, magazines, cinema, television, radio) developed rapidly to reach formats of virtual media on the network society, providing new supports of communication.

Thereby, emerges the concept of Glocalization as one of the main aspects of media convergence (mass media to net media). “Glocalization is essentially a hybrid of globalization and localization. Glocalization is likely to empower local communities through strategic linking of global resources to address local issues for positive social change and to balance changing cultural interests and community needs” (Mendis, 2007, p.2). However, it was the ability to connect these technologies together, giving rise to such networks, which expanded and integrated the individual and groups into a wider setting and new standards of globalization. As regards education, it is considered that this new configuration allows communication to expand the territory of the local school to deterritorialized areas of knowledge, enabling viewing school as a true learning community (Silva, 2002).

These new interfaces brought facility of access to communication by the increase of storage capacity of news and by the processing speed of information in real time, promoting their educational applications inside and outside classrooms, with the possibility of sharing and storing contents in audio, video, image or text. When it comes to net media that develops “sociocultural activities” for informal and non formal education, they almost always include formal programs when oriented directly to the school’s curriculum. The relatively recent development of the digital era has spawned interest in what has come to be called “virtual reality” and in delineating what this means for learning and creation of virtual learning environments (Weiss, 2006). Therefore, communication gains a major role in knowledge building, turning the educational act into something more dynamic and appealing. In this sense, arise a new model of virtual communication based on “Mother of all models” of Shannon and Weaver (1949):

Figure 1. The Communication Model of Virtual Universe

[illustration not visible in this excerpt]

1. The Cyber Era

The term “Cybernetics” stems from the Greek “kubernetes” (steersman, that who steers, who controls, who governs), which was designed by the philosopher Plato[1]. Historically, the conceptual prelude acknowledged by the international scientific community is credited to Norbert Wiener in his “Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and Machine”, published in 1948. However, Wiener (1984) recognizes that the word had already been used by the French physicist André-Marie Ampère (Cybernétique, 1834), in a Science Political context. Laclau and Luhmann (2006, p.52) are categorical in asserting that Wiener’s connotation was different from Ampère’s one, because he defines cybernetics as “the scientific study of control and communication in the animal and the machine”. Chiavenato (2004) states that as well as an applied science, it was limited to the creation of machines of self-regulating behaviour with similar aspects to human or animal behaviour (such as a robot, a computer - which was called “electronic brain” - , and a radar, based on bats behaviour; a plane autopilot, etc). Subsequently, according to the same researcher, cybernetics applications were extended to other scientific areas, such as Engineering, Biology, Medicine, Psychology, Mathematics, Sociology and Computer Science.

At this time, Cyber Era sprang up, thus becoming the parent of cyberspace, cyberschool, cyberdemocracy, cyberpunk, cyberpolitics, cyberlaw, cybercommunication, cybersociety…, which are, in Norman Lee Johnson’s perception, prodigal elements of symbiotic intelligence, and which are also so much discussed in the literary works of Douglas Hofstadter , Peter Russell, Jean Baudrillard, Gottfried Mayer-Kress, Howard Bloom, Steven Johnson, Pierre Lévy, as Collective Intelligence (synonym for cyberculture). Nevertheless, robots, computers and their electronic components preceded modern cybernetics, and they were responsible for the evolution from mass society (industrialized and mediatised) to the network society (communitarian and globalized).

In the 60’s and 70’s, computing was developed in research universities and labs, which were a privilege for a few ones. Thus, in these research centres, some selective visionary and enthusiast programmers groups were established, such as Robert Noyce, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniack and Bill Gates, the so called Silicon Valley residents[2]. In 1960, Theodor Holm Nelson brings about the computing “eureka moment”[3] through the Project Xanadu (theoretical basis to the World Wide Web and network communication). Inspired by Memex[4], a work by scientist Vannevar Bush, in 1963 Ted established the terms “hypertext” and “hypermedia”, which were published in 1965 in “Complex information processing: A file structure for the complex, the changing and the indeterminate ”. In the hypertext, he clearly paraphrases Memex ground basis in order to make up for human memory limitations through informational trails interrelated by association in words, terms, acronyms and ideas in a non-linear way. In its turn, hypermedia, as an extension of the hypertext concept, is a combination of multiple media elements (text, audio, video and image) sustained by a computational structure and mediated by synchronous and asynchronous digital communication systems. In the following years, the terms “link” and “hyperlink” emerged to refer to an electronic hypertext document or to a specific element within another different document (Teixeira, 2012a).

In 1970, the counterculture movements interpreted hyperlink principles as a way of unite people through communication by preaching non-violence (caused by Vietnam War). At the same time, the international Oil Crisis and the Watergate scandal[5] motivated media technological development and, once again, the global communication for the exchange of information and news between geographically dispersed countries. Coincidentally, Barbosa and Canesso (2004) point out that at this time a civic motion arises aiming at the creation of network communities in North America.

From 1972 to 1974, some movements sprang up in Berkeley and San Francisco (California), such as “Computers for the People” and “Community Memory”[6], respectively. The latter was intended to create a network of shared information, similar to an electronic bulletin board without a central control, where people could enter information (Wiki prototype)[7] or read it in the most convenient way to each of them (Torres, 2011). To do so, they used a terminals network spread throughoutthe Pacific States[8], i.e. Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. This project represented the development of alternative media that could be used by the community to produce information related to their common needs and interests, i.e. an attempt to use computer communication effectiveness to serve the community (ibidem). In addition, as pointed out by Barbosa and Canesso (2004), it became a model for network communities around the world, usually established to make easier the free exchange of information, such as libraries and philanthropic entities, which exchanged information through e-mails, forum debates and texts writing (collective authorship). Cyberculture flourishes in this scenario, being its genesis influenced by the first network communication movements.

2. The Collective Intelligence

The philosopher Lévy (2009) understands that the World Wide Web universe favors a collective intelligence, producing a cyberculture on the information society. “Virtual reality is a phenomenon that captivates people of all ages and all levels of technical expertise. It appears on the Internet and in computer games, and is used, among other places, in high-tech software for doctors, engineers, and scientists. But, is it really something new? And how does it affect us? Examining the social and cultural impact of new digital technologies, Levy tackles the concept of "the virtual", demonstrating how it has always been an enduring component of the human mind. He shows how the body, the text, and the economy, are made virtual. He then reveals how the Internet and web sites are now transforming the virtual into a "collective intelligence" linked to digital communication” (Plenum Trade, 1998 resume about book of Pierre Lévy, 1998 - Becoming Virtual: Reality in the digital age). In fact, the virtual universe not only amplifies the formation of social communication fields as a “media”, but is capable of creating new cultural and social constructions, acquiring its own life in cyberspace. Let´s see the picute belo

Figure 2. The Collective Intelligence of Cyberspace

[illustration not visible in this excerpt]


[1] Etymologically, the term dates back to VI century B.C., when, according to the Greek mythology, Theseus travelled to Crete on a boat steered by two steersmen (Chiavenato, 2004). To glorify this successful trip, Theseus organized a party to the “cybernetics”, the pilots of the sea. Later, Plato (427-347 B.C.) used the word “Kybernytiky” in his dialogues “Alcibiades” and “Gorgias”, meaning “the art of piloting a ship”, in “Clitophon”, meaning “the art of leading men” and in “The Republic”, meaning “the art of ruling, in general” (ibidem). Following Plato’s rhetoric, Ampère gives to this ancient word a socio-political meaning (control, government, leading). For decades, these meanings kept a considerable influence in different areas of knowledge, such as mathematics, physics, electronics, medicine, psychology, chemistry, mechanics and computer science (especially, if related to artificial intelligence).

[2] The Valley is situated in California (USA), which is home to many of the world’s largest technology corporations and manufacturers, since the 50’s.

[3] Famous term used to refer to an important finding or an accomplishment of great relevance. The credits for the origin of the word are attributed to the Greek philosopher Archimedes .

[4] In 1945, Bush published in The Atlantic Monthly magazine the paper “As We May Think”, in which he wrote about a machine (Memex - Memory Extension) that would have the task of helping human memory to store knowledge. He suggested a structure to organize contents in a non-hierarchical way and of non-linear access based on a mechanic device for individual use, to save texts, registers, communications and books, in order to make the search for information easier and more flexible (Gosciola, 2003).

[5] A political scandal that occurred in the United States in the 70’s and which led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation.

[6] It was brought into existence, under Project One , by Efrem Lipkin, Szpakowski Mark and Lee Felsenstein , in San Francisco in 1973.

[7] It allows Internet users to create and edit text on a specific Web page using any Web browser.

[8] North American States which are bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the West.

Excerpt out of 42 pages


The Communication Model of Virtual Universe
Multipolarity, ICT, Cyberculture, Education and Media Manipulation
Federal Rural University of Pernambuco  (Statistics and Informatics Departament)
Computer Science
College and University
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
2188 KB
communication, model, virtual, universe, multipolarity, cyberculture, education, media, manipulation
Quote paper
Marcelo Mendonça Teixeira (Author)Tiago Alessandro Espínola Ferreira (Author), 2013, The Communication Model of Virtual Universe, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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