William Gibson and The Internet

Introduction


The words "Internet" and "world wide web" are becoming everyday use these
days, it has exploded into the mass market of information and advertising. There
are bad points about the "net" as well as good points, this relatively new
medium is growing at such a rate that the media have to take it seriously.
This new form of communication was mainly populated by small groups of
communities, but now that it is getting much easier to access the web these
groups are growing.
The word Cyberpunk is nothing new in the world of the "net" and to science
fiction readers , and it is this term which names most of the online
communities . Within the Cyberpunk cultures there are sub cultures such as
hackers, phreaks ,ravers etc.. all have a connection with new technologies. The
term Cyberpunk was originated in Science Fiction Literature, writers such as
William Gibson tell stories of future worlds, cultures and the Internet.
it is William Gibson and the cyberpunks who have carried out some of the
most important mappings of our present moment and its future trends during the
past decade. The present, in these mappings, is thus viewed from the persceptive
of a future that is visible from within the experiences and trends of the
current moment, from this perpscetive, cyberpunk can be read as a sort of social
theory.

Chapter 1

Internet history

The Internet is a network of computer networks, the most important of
which was called ARPANET(Advanced Research Projects Agency NETwork), a wide area
experimental network connecting hosts and terminal servers together. Rules were
set up to supervise the allocation of addresses and to create voluntary
standards for the network. The ARPANET was built between October and December
1969 by a US company called Bolt, Beranak and Newman (BBN), which is still big
in the Internet world. It had won a contract from the US Government\'s Department
of Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency , or ARPA, to build a network that
would survive a nuclear attack. Only four government mainframe computers were
originally linked up, Unfortunately, ARPANET was also dependent on the
involvement of hundreds of US computer scientists. Because the ARPANET was a
military project, it was managed in true military style - the project manager
appointed by ARPA gave the orders and they were carried out. It was therefore
easy to tell who "ran" the network. By 1972 it had grown to 37 mainframe
computers. At the same time, the way in which the network was being used was
changing. As well as using the system to exchange important, but boring,
military information, ARPANET users started sending e-mail - to each other by
means of private mail boxes.
By 1983 ARPANET had grown to such an extent that it was felt that the
military research component should be moved to a separate network, called MILNET.
In 1987 the system was opened up to any educational facility, academic
researcher or international research organisation who wanted to use it. As local
area networks became more pervasive, many hosts became gateways to local
networks. A network layer, to allow the inter operation of these networks was
developed and called IPA (Internet Protocol). Over time other groups created
long haul IP based networks (NASA, NSF, states...). These nets too, inter-
operate because of IP. The collection of all of these inter operating networks
is the Internet.
Up until 1990 the Internet was only a complicated and uninteresting text
format of communication and most of the people using the net were either
Computer programmers, students, Hackers, Societies, Governments officials and a
few artists interested the digital media.
Everything changed in 92 when a British programmer came up with "Mosaic",
a text and graphic based window (web browser) into the net, this programme was
simple to use. The basic structure was in simple page form, Just click on a
button, word or picture and you could cross half the world in seconds, it was
also simple to construct a page. Over the last couple of years, anyone who had
a computer and Internet account has created their own "Web page".
The growth of the Internet, those machines connected to the NSFNET
backbone has been extraordinary. In 1989, the number of networks attached to the
NSFNET/Internet increased from 346 to 997, data traffic increased five-fold. The
latest estimate, is that 200,000 to 400,000 main computers are directly
connected to NSFNET, with perhaps a total of eleven million individuals able to
exchange information freely. The Internet is still growing and companies are
developing new tools and programmes to speed up the communications