I hate that word. The “cyber” label, for me, immediately cheapens a thing. Cyber Monday. Cyberspace, cybersecurity, cyberterrorism. All pretentious prefixes that have come to substitute for the word “internet.”
Where’d this word come from anyway? From Wikipedia:
The term ‘cybernetics’ was coined in Norbert Wiener’s book Cybernetics or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine (MIT Press, 1948).Wiener used the term in reference to the control of complex systems in the animal world and in mechanical networks, in particular self-regulating control systems. By 1960, doctors were performing research into surgically or mechanically augmenting humans or animals to operate machinery in space, leading to the coining of the term “cyborg,” for “cybernetic organism.”
By the 1970s, the Control Data Corporation (CDC) sold the “Cyber” range of supercomputers, establishing the word cyber- as synonymous with computing. Robert Trappl credits William Gibson and his novel Neuromancer with triggering a “cyber- prefix flood” in the 1980s. McFedries observes that a backlash against the use of e- and cyber- can be traced to the late 1990s, quoting Hale and Scanlon requesting writers in 1999 to “resist the urge to use this vowel-as-cliché” when it comes to e- and calling cyber- “terminally overused.”
And there you have it. “Terminally overused.” I’ll add “outdated” to it as well, akin to using the terms “surf the ‘Net” and “e-commerce.” You could avoid those, if you loved me. Or you could continue to use them, as you were country when country wasn’t cool.
Regardless, I’m being sucked into the vortex (ah, another outdated epithet) of Cyber Monday, as I shall hit the stores from my parlor this morning. I’m almost done with my shopping — how about you? My secret goal every year is to at least finish the buying part before December hits. Once again, I think I’m going to make it.
Did you Black Friday shop this year? Any stories to share?