There are a few frontiers left to explore: space; the world's oceans; Earth's inner space; microscopic and nano inner spaces; and cyberspace.
Exploration in these areas is led by many federal agencies such as NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation and the departments of Commerce, Defense and Homeland Security.
Each of these frontiers relies on the advanced tools of cyber technology to facilitate exploration. In this article, we will explore cyberspace and discuss the changes that brought us to the use of Web 2.0 in the federal government.
Cyber technology cannot be considered in isolation of business needs and missions. It has evolved as a strategic investment to support business needs and missions and has been consistently constrained by computing power; bandwidth; storage; geography and geospace; and security and privacy concerns.
Advances in technology have had a dramatic effect on society causing shifts in cultural models, social structures, economics and living conditions. Humankind has evolved from feudalism to the agrarian age, to the industrial age, to the information age — and now — to the present age of collaboration.
Up until the industrial age, we relied on animals and our brains and brawn to accomplish tasks and make decisions. Through the industrial age we relied on electro-mechanical devices, human analysis and human cognition to make decisions and execute tasks.
During the information age, we relied on computer computation and analysis to execute tasks, and still relied on human cognition to make decisions. During this time, we moved from punch cards and "dumb" terminals, to user interfaces, to ubiquitous interfaces.
We are now poised for ubiquitous computing. Why? Because the cost of memory, bandwidth and storage has rapidly decreased as the capacity of computing power, bandwidth and storage has exponentially increased. Hence, we are now at a point when access to cyber resources is readily available to most of the population.
Grid computing and artificial intelligence (AI) can provide collaborative computing, machine-based analysis, rule-based decisions and execute tasks. Humans are able to tap into both cyber resources and remotely located individuals to accomplish business functions and social activities.
Many baby boomers pioneered cultural change during the information age when they convinced their traditionalist managers to embrace desktop computing over paper processes to improve business processes and productivity.
Today, Millennials are pioneering cultural change to convince their baby boomer managers to use collaborative Web 2.0 tools, instead of e-mail, time-dependent media broadcasts and structured work hours, to gain process and quality-of-life improvements.
The progression is familiar to many of you. We moved from:
• VM (virtual machines) on mainframes to VMware (virtual software) on servers;
• Systems Network Architecture (SNA) proprietary priority services to Internet Protocol (IP) standards-based priority services;
• 3270 terminals (display devices used to communicate with mainframes) to diskless workstations with terminal services — a thin client display window used to view data stored on servers. Advantages of thin client diskless workstations over fat client local disk workstations can include lower production and operational costs, lower power consumption, quieter operation and lowered security risks;
• Generalized Markup Language (GML) script to Extensible Markup Language (XML);
• Bulletin boards and listservs to wikis;
• Automated data processing (ADP), to information systems (IS), to information resources management (IRM), to information technology (IT), to information management (IM), to cloud computing — a style of computing in which real-time scalable res