The Conceptual Access-Network Thesis: Theorizing the Success of New Internet-Based Products, Services, & Technologies
Carroll, La Shun L.
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The Conceptual Access-Network Thesis proposed suggests that the development or success of any new Internet-based product, service, or technology will ultimately be contingent upon how well it satisfies the criterion of providing access to or creating a network of potential users, products, and services. The significance of this thesis is that, as a criterion, the principle not only explicates how internet technology evolves but can explain what underlies a range of technologies beyond that of the internet, which include chemical forms such as Insulin and highways that are based on the tenets of access or networks despite the inevitable change over time that technologies will experience. While discussing the role of change as both process and product we consider how the future of Internet-based technologies will ultimately result in a distortion of Dr. Stanley Milgram’s intimate stranger phenomenon that can be traced back to 1967 before the internet existed, which demonstrates the cyclical nature of the (r)evolution of technology: the future will consist of various manifestations, combinations, or permutations of previously discovered or established concepts. There has never existed an internet-based service, product or technology offered that failed to satisfy the access-network criterion since the inception of what became known as the internet. The implication of this article is that by providing context for understanding the current developmental stage of the internet-based products and technology we are now prepared to more accurately predict what will exist, the necessary ethical considerations, and how we may act to prevent any unwanted outcomes.