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The Distance Between Us


Mike Curtis


As the Internet morphs into cyberspace, the relationships forged online can become as significant as those arising by more traditional means. Cyberspace is the environment created from global connected technology; a virtual world where people can meet, engage in discussions, conduct business, play and create an almost complete analogue of the physical world. Many are questioning the concept of the Nation State as the primary political entity and some online communities are beginning to take on the trappings of statehood, holding elections and raising taxes but without any clear understanding of what defines their society. The selection of appropriate communities to join, and other individuals with whom to communicate, becomes more difficult. The amount of choice when it comes to joining online communities can be bewildering; relying on word of mouth can severely limit choice, and the only help comes from commercial organisations using algorithms and Artificial Intelligences whose workings are unknown and whose recommendations are based on maximising profit for the company rather than the ultimate benefit of the user. This article proposes mechanisms that are open, can be used by individuals and communities and, where recommendation systems are used to help, their workings are transparent.

Mike Curtis MA PGCE C.Eng MBCS CITP is a retired IT consultant and sometime Computer Science lecturer with a lifelong interest in the way technological change affects social and political structures. He can be contacted at <>


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