by Carl W. Hunt, Ph.D., Directed Technologies, Inc., and Richard Raines, Ph.D., U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology, 6 December 2010
Technology has provided humanity more connectivity than most people dreamed possible even 25 years ago. In countries like America, technological progress often outpaces our understanding of what this progress does to us and what it offers to us as the future unfolds. Fortunately, science can often help give us a better context as to how new technology ultimately affects us.
Gaining contextual understanding of people living, learning and working in cyberspace is the core objective of Science Enhanced Network Domains and Secure Social Spaces (SENDS). The SENDS Pilot Project tasks described in last month’s blog give us an enabling framework for that understanding to emerge through the study of what we are calling a Science of Cyberspace. We think of this new science as “open-source science,” loosely derived from a Scientific American article a couple of years ago, by Mitch Waldrop on the topic of what he called “Science 2.0.”
As it is open source science, we are looking for maximum participation in all walks of life, particularly from the people who actually use cyberspace today and in the future. One of the most exciting prospective user groups is today’s students. SENDS has partnered with a variety of organizations in its informal SENDS Consortium, and one of our very innovative educational groups is the Science Center of Pinellas County, FL.
We recently published a blog on the SENDS and the Science of Cyberspace blog that highlights the work the Science Center of Pinellas County is doing – there is truly good learning going on there, with idea generation at the very heart of the program! We are working to more closely synergize the Center’s work and the fabric of the SENDS tasks such as SENDSim, our cyberspace laboratory.
If technologies are ideas in action as Kevin Kelly speculates in What Technology Wants, then the understanding of how the connectivity of cyberspace works can help us recognize how more ideas get connected. This will likely create more technology and change than we currently understand, but grounding students like our friends at the Science Center of Pinellas County will give us our best chance of orienting to these new changes. They deserve every chance we can give them.
Dr. Carl Hunt is the Senior Research Director for Information Operations for Arlington, VA-based Directed Technologies, Inc., and is the Project Manager for SENDS. Dr. Raines is the Director of the USAF Institute of Technology’s Center for Cyberspace Research. Both are retired US military officers with extensive experience in network-based operations and defense.