390-342 BC

AN INCOMPLETE &

 INCOMPREHENSIVE

history of

"CYBER"

Dark          Ages

Non-

Cybery

κυβερvνητική τέχνη

           "steersmanship"

CYBERNETICS

Cyber is derived from the Greek κυβερ, which means “to steer, to discipline or to govern”.*

 

One of the most prominent uses of ‘cyber’ in Greek literature is in Plato’s First Alcibiades. Where the metaphor of κυβερνήτης (steersman/pilot) is essentially used to summarize “the entirety of Greek philosophy, integrating Mythos, Logos and Nomos”.**

 

It relates to “thought-aided, purpose-directed, history-illuminated, feedback-dependent, and future-affirming or feedforward-sensitive governance”.**

 

*      jerry Everard, Virtual States: The Internet and the Boundaries of the Nation-State (New York: Routledge, 2000). p. 15.

**    Barnabas Johnson, "The Cybernetics of Society: The Governance of Self and Civilization," jurlandia.org/cybsocsum.htm (accessed October 30, 2013).

 

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Cybernétique

"steersmanship"

 ART of GOVERNING

Coined by André-Marie Ampère in 1843 in his book Essai sur La Philosophie des Sciences.

 

Ampère suggest that the term “[…] dans une acception restreinte“ relates to “l'art de gouverner un vaisseau”.*   But, he states that even the Greek interpreted it more broadly, “reçut de l'usage, chez les Grecs même, la signification, tout autrement étendue, de l'art de gouverner en général“.*

 

In other words, Ampère understands the term to relate to the art of governing

 

* André=marie Ampère, Essai Sur La Philosophie Des Sciences Ou Exposition Analytique d’Une Classification Naturelle De Toutes Les Connaissances Humaines (Paris: Bachelier, 1843).

1843

André-Marie

Ampère

"modern" computers

CYBERNETICS

Norbert wiener

 

"control and communication whether in the machine or in the animal".*

 

Cyber as a prefix gained wide attention due to Norbert Wiener’s 1948 book Cybernetics.

 

He uses cybernetics to describe “the entire field of control and communication theory, whether in the machine or in the animal”.*

 

Wiener is said to derive the term from Greek language, though it could also be the Anglicization of the French term ‘cybernétique’.

 

*      Norbert Wiener, The Cybernetics of Society: The Governance of Self and Civilization (Cambridge: M.I.T. Press, 1948).

1948

Internet's foundations: ARPANET

first

packet-switching

network

CYBER enters

fiction

1960s

1972 Computer security becoming an issue

 

"Hacker" used in mainstream media 1983

 WARGAMES and THE 414s

 

The events leading to a nation wide wake-up call took place in November 1979.*  A person “had mistakenly put military exercise tapes into the computer system” of the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD),**   which initiated an inadvertent injection of test scenario data “into the missile warning computers which generated false alerts”.***

 

 That test scenario data simulated an all-out nuclear strike on United States mainland.  The United States National Security Council was under the assumption that the Soviet Union had launched 220 missiles; a number that was later adjusted to 2.200 missiles.**  Close to the moment of requesting the President to decide on ordering a retaliatory strike, when “the Strategic Air Command was [already] launching its planes” a phone call was informed the National Security Council of NORAD’s error.**

 

The erroneous NORAD notification did not function as wake-up call however, though it did serve as the basis for the movie WarGames in 1983. The movie subsequently triggered “high school students from Milwaukee, inspired by WarGames and calling themselves the 414s” to prove that they could gain access to military networks.*  The 414s got nation-wide media attention,   which resulted in the first use of ‘hacker’ in mainstream media and a year later  in specific legislation in order to secure federal information systems.

 

*       Michael Warner, "Cybersecurity: A Pre-History," Intelligence and National Security 27, no. 5 (2012), 781-799. p. 787.

**    Robert M. Gates, The Ultimate Insiders Story of Five Presidents and how they Won the Cold War (New York: Touchstone, 1996). p. 114.

*** United States General Accounting Office, NORAD's Missile Warning System: What Went Wrong? (Washington: United States General Accounting Office, 1981). p. 13.

 

 

1984 information security becoming a political issue

 

CYBERSPACE

WILLIAM GIBSON

 

William Gibson coined the term cyberspace in his sci-fi story ‘Burning Chrome’.* He further defined cyberspace in his sci-fi book Neuromancer in 1984.

 

He described cyberspace, in the context of his novel, as a “consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts. A graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding”.**  The term “cyberspace serves as the mold from which a legion of neologisms are cast: cyberpunk,  cyberculture,  cyberlife, cybernauts, cyberselves, cybersex, cybersociety, cybertime – cybereverything”.***

 

 He later stated: “All I knew about the word cyberspace when I coined it, was that it seemed like an effective buzzword. It seemed evocative and essentially meaningless. It was suggestive of something, but had no real semantic meaning, even for me, as I saw it emerge on the page.”****

 

*         William Gibson, "Burning Chrome," Omni, July, 1982, 72. p. 72.

**       William Gibson, Neuromancer (New York: Berkley Publishing Group, 1984). PART two

 ***    Lance Strate, "The Varieties of Cyberspace: Problems in Definition and Delimitation," Western  Journal  of Communication (Includes Communication Reports) 63, no. 3 (1999), 382-412. p. 382.

****  William Gibson: No Maps for these Territories, directed by Mark Neale (New York: Docurama Films, 2000)

1991 GULF war dubbed

information warfare