Gibson And The Future

Gibson introduced the concept of cyberspace in 1984 which presents some similarities to, and in some respects, is in contrast with the cyberspace 28 years from then. In the book Neuromancer, cyberspace has been explained as “A consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts…  A graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity.  Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data.  Like city lights,receding…” Page 47.


In many respects the cyberspace experienced today is not unlike that of Gibson’s fantasy world. In comparison with the ‘simstim’ people use cyberspace to vicariously experience the lives of other individuals through television and video games fantasy worlds. Cyberspace complexities are uniquely accessible by those with the technical knowledge to change it. The complexities of changing and accessing different areas of cyberspace are unknowably complex to many average people much like Gibson’s fantasy. Gibson’s fantasy is analogous to the reality we experience and the differences between the two are superfluous.


In today’s world, the existence of something like wintermute is unknown to the common man. Although, I do believe there could be ‘military experiments’ which hold the matrix as complex as the one presented in the book. I believe that gradual technological advances can get us somewhere close to that level. The recent movie ‘Total Recall’ signifies that such ideas are still growing since they came into existence through Gibson’s writing.


Gibson, to an extent, can rightly claim to be a prophesier. Writing a book about the concept of ‘Youtube’, 2 years before it came into existence is visionary. I think he was being modest when he said that mobile phones are not a part of Neuromancer thus he doesn’t predict the future.

  1. I think this is an interesting opinion. Perhaps the inaccessibility of the technological knowledge needed to access the answers to cyberspace and its complexities is what makes this novel so complex in itself. Even the professional hackers like Case and the Dixie Flatline are unable to control everything. Wintermute as well does not have total empowerment. Gibson definitely had a vivid imagination in order to create such a world where even the characters who live in it and abide by it are constantly unsure of how to handle their lives and what consequences will come of their actions. Perhaps Gibson was commentating on how humankind is lost in the world that they have created by increasing the complexity of technology.

    1. Amanda, that world you’re describing just sounds like life in general. Not all that unfamiliar, in other words.

      But I think you’re onto something with the idea that Gibson’s language is sending signals about the difficulty of working with information.

  2. I totally agree with you Taimour about technological advances that could lead to the creation of something like WIntermute. The technology that we use today did not even exist fifty years ago. In a short period of time, we have gone from having home phone lines to smartphones and tablets. Each year, there is a steady competition between distinct phone and technology companies to create new gadgets for their consumers. Because of this competition, I think that companies will soon create a software like Wintermute.

  3. Taimour, I’m unsure if we can say that “Gibson’s fantasy is analogous to the reality we experience and the differences between the two are superfluous” if we don’t yet have simstim. But then again, it’s worth noting that sci-fi is always about the moment in which it is written, rather than about the future. If that’s true, what is Gibson trying to tell us about technology? Your post doesn’t give us a “what” or a “how” so much as summarizes a few points in the novel.

  4. I agree with your comment “I think he was being modest when he said that mobile phones are not a part of Neuromancer thus he doesn’t predict the future.” I think that the simstim is very much like a mobile phone. No, you can’t call people but it is a way of connecting with someone without actually being with that person.

  5. I completely agree with your comment about the simstim and people living vicariously through the media. I think that Gibson was very telling of how technology can affect our lives and what could ultimately happen if we let technology have the utmost power.

  6. Taimour, I agree with your comment about Gibson’s fantasy world being analogous to the reality we experience. I do agree that in both worlds, technology allows for humans to interact more closely whether it’s through simstim or iChat. However, I don’t believe that technology is the only connection between the two worlds. It is a possibility that Gibson’s novel gives us insight into the future of global corporations and their power. In the novel, the Tessier-Ashpool Corporation basically controls the majority of cyberspace. In our world, we have Bank of America and Exxon Mobil, two of many major corporations that we as a society depend on. I think Gibson’s message regarding the future is that society is becoming so dependent on global corporations that one day they will gain enough power to dictate over society.

  7. I like how you draw a parallel between the technology in Gibson’s imagination and in our society nowadays. It is possible that, as technology improves in a faster pace, someday space like matrix and program like Wintermute will get invented and become widespread. Since the purpose of technology is to provide us convenience and efficiency, it is very likely that someday we will rely too heavily on technology and get too overwhelmed. Gibson might be sending a message to envision the future and to warn us to be cautious about how we are operating our resources.

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