Cyberspace and virtual worlds used to be very distinct from the physical world. You had to make an effort to access cyberspace, the rules were different, and the the economies were different.
Now however, you can access cyberspace from public parks, in airports, in your car while driving, or in the air while flying to your destination. And you don’t need a dedicated computer to access cyberspace anymore, your DVR is connected, your cell phone, your watch, soon your fridge, your camera, even your clothes if you want to. The economies are getting pretty intertwined as well – with millions of dollars worth of virtual world artifacts being sold on eBay and other real world markets. Real world politics has spilled over to virtual worlds. Heck – you now even have real IPO’s in virtual worlds, and it looks like the legal system is starting to cross virtual boundaries as well.
To the extend that computers have a “role” in virtual words – which they do – that seems like a pretty strong symbiotic relation between humans and machines – perhaps a stronger one than the one that exists between humans and nature.
According to Alex Soojung-Kim Pang from the Institute for the Future, it also means the end of cyberspace. As a matter of fact he thinks that the idea has gained enough popularity to support a standalone blog – called the end of cyberspace – which sounds like an interesting new voice to watch in the future.