4.0053 Cyberspace -- Conference Report (92)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Tue, 15 May 90 17:46:57 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 0053. Tuesday, 15 May 1990.

Date: Mon, 14 May 90 20:35:50 PDT
Subject: Cyberspace Conference

Humanists might want to know about a recent conference held at the
University of Texas at Austin, May 4-5, 1990. The First Conference on
Cyberspace was convened through email by Professor Michael Benedikt of
the School of Architecture at UT. The School of Architecture worked
with Computer Science to sponsor the event.

"Cyberspace" was the term the novelist William Gibson used for
computer-simulated virtual reality. Cyberspace is a total sensory
environment constituted by information. The information comes in
holograms and other multi-dimensional structures. To enter the
holographic data environment, the user dons headset and data-gloves
which transmit retinal images and textures.

Attending the conference were representatives of American Express, IBM,
EDS, etc. Several companies envision cyberspace as the office
environment of the future. These "virtual workplaces" will advantages,
as they see it, over real-time geographical workplaces, including less
dependence on a physical transportation infrastructure. Other planners
conceived cyberspace in more poetic and imaginative terms.

Two things struck me about the conference. One was the intrinsically
interdisciplinary nature of the discussion. Another was the spontaneous
combustion of metaphysical problems raised by the plans for cyberspace.

The conference papers will be published in a book called <Cyberspace>
early in Fall 1990 by MIT Press.

** ** ** ** **

The papers were as follows:

Session One: Why Cyberspace?

1. Joel Anderson, NCR Comten, "Ancient Landmarks in Cyberspace"

2. Natalie Stenger, MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies, "The Mind is
a Leaking Rainbow: How Cyberspace Fills New Levels of Reality"

3. Steve Pruitt, Texas Instruments and Tom Barrett, Electronic Data

Session Two: Visions of the System

1. Chip Morningstar and Randall Farmer, American Information Exchange
Corp. (formerly of Lucasfilm Ltd.), "The Lessons of Habitat"

2. Michael Benedikt, School of Architecture, The University of Texas at
Austin, "Cyberspace: Some Proposals"

3. Tim McFadden, Altos Computer Systems, Inc., "The Structure of
Cyberspace and the Ballistic Actors Model"

Session Three: Logical and Ontological Problems

1. Marcos Novak, The Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning
at the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of
Texas at Austin, "Liquid Architecture in Cyberspace"

2. Joseph V. Henderson, Interactive Media Lab, Dartmouth College,
"Cyberspace Representation of Vietnam War Trauma"

3. Michael Heim, Department of Philosophy, California State University
at Long Beach, "The Erotic Ontology of Cyberspace"

4. Michael Lewis, Department of Information Science, University of
Pittsburgh, "Cyberspace and the Two Gibsons"

Session Four: Representing and Manipulating Data in Space

1. Meredith Bricken, Human Interface Technology Lab, The University of
Washington, "No Interface to Design..."

2. Randall Walser, Autodesk, Inc., "Elements of a Cyberspace Role
Playing System"

3. Carl Tollander, Autodesk, Inc., "Collaborative Engines for
Multi-Participant Cyberspaces"

4. Wendy Kellogg, John Carroll, and John T. Richards, IBM Watson
Research Center, "Making Reality a Cyberspace"

** ** ** ** **

Hope Humanists will get in on the planning stages of this habitat of the
near future.

Mike Heim
Cal State Long Beach