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Terraforming Cyberspace
July 2001 (vol. 34 no. 7)
pp. 48-56

Cyberspace currently offers a lonely, dangerous, and relatively impoverished environment for software agents, which do not easily sustain rich, long-term, peer-to- peer relationships. No social safety net helps agents when they get stuck or prevents them from setting the network on fire when they go awry. Agents remain cut off from most of the world in which humans operate, and severe practical restrictions limit when and where they can go. The first passerby who finds the power switch can unceremoniously terminate an agent's existence.

The authors advocate not only making agents smarter and stronger but also making the environment in which they operate more capable of sustaining various forms of agent life and civilization.

As a new kind of environment for human beings, cyberspace is now woefully primitive. Most of our electronically built space is a rat's nest of bewildering pathways of indeterminate destination, much like medieval Rome. Those who are designing and building cyberspace might benefit from the example of the humanist Popes of the Renaissance, who used the citt? ideale concepts to produce connectivity and impart legibility to their city's layout.

Citation:
Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, Niranjan Suri, Alberto J. Cañas, Robert Davis, Kenneth Ford, Robert Hoffman, Renia Jeffers, Thomas Reichherzer, "Terraforming Cyberspace," Computer, vol. 34, no. 7, pp. 48-56, July 2001, doi:10.1109/2.933503
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