Cyberspace is NOT a man made domain

The fallacy I read on a daily basis about cyberspace being a man made domain just peeves me off. What the assertion that cyberspace is the first man made domain is actually doing is mixing up the tools of exploitation and utilization of a domain for the domain itself. Three of the other domains (air, sea, space) all need extensive sets of tools to exploit them. Yet they are considered natural domains. If and that is a big IF cyberspace is a domain then it exists. The information communication technologies (ICT) we use today is not the domain but the tools to exploit the domain. Much like airplanes, ships, space shuttles, and submarines are used to exploit other domains, but do not define the domain.

The inability to discuss the characteristics of a domain are not unusual. We were exploiting space and air long before we understood the physics of those domains. If cyberspace is a real domain than their should be scientific principles that we can use without relying on analogy and metaphor. If cyberspace is a real domain we can lay aside the man made conceptual ruse for a more permanent set of characteristics. The expanding ICT foot print, and the Internet of things (IoT) are emergent artifices of the resultant domain existent proof.

The inability to consider the totality of a domain has in the past created touchstone moments when primary biases of the understanding of a domain failed in the light of a technological breakthrough. The fact that man could not fly failed at Kittyhawk, the fact that man could not exceed Mach 1 failed over a desert in America, and launching things into orbit was a real strategic Sputnik moment. People who define a domain by what they see rather than what it is, and fail to expand to the idea that there may be more, inherently are strategically weak.

Realizing the artifice of any domain is a political act to determine objectives, plans, and budgets for military, diplomacy and economic rules. The concrete standards of the domain are important. The entities or actors who can operate within the domain and understand the totality of the underlying scientific rules will dominate. Those entities or actors who create artifices of budgets and organizational structures where only slices of the totality of the domain are understood will lose, fail, and ultimately be subject to the will of the better informed adversary.

3 comments for “Cyberspace is NOT a man made domain

  1. LongTabSigO
    April 6, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    May I share this (verbatim) on my blog?

  2. LongTabSigO
    April 6, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    As you know from our other chats, I am in complete agreement with you on this assertion. I believe that the academics have damaged a lot of the useful policy discussion by foisting this “cyberspace is a domain” meme (complete with childish foot-stomping).

    I hope Sam’s blog post above annoys and angers the various “100lb heads” out there and useful debate ensues.

  3. April 6, 2014 at 6:44 pm


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