InfoSphere Research Assoc.


MEET: The Embedded Infosphere

The word “Infosphere” has been called a “neologism”, but it is hardly brand new. It reportedly entered the information discourse in 1971 in a Time Magazine book review, referring to the “layer of electronic and typographical smog” that encircles us.  Alvin Toffler picked the word up in his book, “The Third Wave”, in 1980, for the added new strata of communication media in the social system.   In 2009, Steven Vedro, in “Digital Dharma: A User’s Guide to Expanding Consciousness in the Infosphere”, saw in it a metaphor for the development of telecommunications networks with the emergence of a human planetary consciousness.   He analogized it to the noosphere of collective human thought of Pierre Teihard de Chardin, and to Marshall McLuhan’s global nervous system.   The term has also been adopted by philosopher and ethicist Luciano Floridi to denote the whole informational environment. It has also been used in science fiction, in the animated sitcom Futurama, and commercially by IBM for its information management software products.

As is shown, the word, “Infosphere” has an established body of usage, relating to electronic communication and networking as a whole, typically with futuristic and/or metaphysical overtones.  Accordingly, it is useful to both clarify and distinguish our particular use by referring specifically to the “Embedded Infosphere”.  This is an always-on, ubiquitous, integrated, intelligent system of embedded technologies comprised of the Internet of Things, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence/Intelligent Systems and the Connected Cloud, which act together as a single unified entity.  These are reinforced and enriched by technologies such as Blockchain technology and Quantum Computing.   This entire domain, and the applications it supports, falls outside traditional models of business, policy and regulation for the Internet and the Broadband Ecosystem.  It creates a future few enterprises, government or regimes are prepared to address. It embodies the “futuristic and/or metaphysical” overtones of the concept.  InfoSphere Research Assoc. has been created to help stakeholders understand and address these emerging and foreseeable challenges.

MEET: Richard D. Taylor, J.D., Ed.D., Principal, Lead Advisor

Richard Taylor has been, in succession, an entrepreneur, a business executive, a senior corporate attorney and a professor of Telecommunications Studies and Law at a major public university. His full C.V. can be found on LinkedIn at   See also:

He is currently co-Director emeritus of the Penn State Institute for Information Policy and is co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Information Policy. Prior to joining Penn State, he was V.P. and Corporate Counsel for Warner Cable Communications Inc. He holds a doctorate in Mass Communications from Columbia University and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.

He has directed research projects and published regularly on the impacts of investment in information technology particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. His projects have been funded by Verizon, IBM, Google, AT&T, Microsoft, T-Mobile, the Social Science Research Council and The Ford Foundation, among others. Over the last decade, he has worked extensively in China on the issue of “Informatization”.

His recent interest has been directed by what he refers to as the “Embedded Infosphere”, and by questions of global governance of cyberspace, and by the metrics of information flows in the achievement of the U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goals.

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