Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I had the great pleasure to spend the last two days at the Communications Alliance conference Broadband and Beyond. Many great things discussed though I still think we don't get enough the need to promote the benefits of true fast broadband, and not to just dress it up in whoosy "e-" words.

One interesting presentation focussed on the use of adaptive agents and highlighted that such agents could be useful but could fuel "cyberbalkanisation. This is the concept of the World Wide Web fragmenting into islands and people talking within sub-groups.

The presentrer's idea was that certain adaptive agents would trap users into net subsets. However this is not the only possible source of cyberbalkanisation. The Economist magazine discussed other scenarios last year.

This term is apparently used as far back as the mid 1980s though Cass Sunstein was credited by the speaker as the inventor though his work supposedly is really only in his book which first appeared in 2000.

Sunstein is of course a favourite of mine as the co-author with Richard Thaler of Nudge.

Researching the usage reminded me that the term was actually used in a piece of "futurism" conducted by the old Australian Communications Authority. There was at the time an objection from someone of a slavic decent who objected to the racial connotations of the term.

The final report is still available from the ACMA website. I should have a read seven years later and see how it went.

Novae Meridianae Demetae Dexter delenda est

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