So, what does the world look like to the intrepid cybernaut? Whatever he wants! Cyberspace is unlimitedly rich because it can be anything at all. In time we may expect that conventions for cyberspace will evolve, just as they have for command line, menu, and graphical user interfaces, but cyberspace will always provide an arena where anything that can be imagined can be made to seem real.
Initial cyberspace environments will literally represent three dimensional models. Since cyberspace is the most natural way to work in three dimensions, we expect that three dimensional design will be the first major application area for cyberspace systems. But as William Gibson says, ``The street finds its own uses for things''. Just as AutoCAD has been applied to many tasks well outside the traditional bounds of the ``CAD market'', cyberspace can be expected to rapidly grow in unanticipated directions. If video games are movies that involve the player, cyberspace is an amusement park where anything that can be imagined and programmed can be experienced. The richness of the experiences that will be available in cyberspace can barely be imagined today.
Menus might be replaced by doors you walk through to enter new worlds (certain doors would be unlocked by the key of imagination). A ZOOM command could be implemented by grabbing the appropriate mushroom--one makes you larger, the other makes you small. Need HELP? Go ask Alice.
As conventions develop for defining cyberspace environments, cyberspace will be applied in increasingly abstract ways. A cyberspace system may turn out to be the best way to implement a hypertext browsing system, or for visualising scientific data in multidimensional space (one could imagine a ``transdimensional cyberspace Harley'' that lets you ride along any vector in the state space).
In designing interactive systems we must distinguish abstractions introduced because of the limitations of the medium (for example, abbreviations to compensate for a slow teletype) and abstractions that add power or intuitiveness to the interface (such as the ability to create macros to perform repetitive tasks). By creating a very rich environment, cyberspace allows us to dispense with the abstractions of compromise and explore the abstractions that empower the user in new ways.
Editor: John Walker