"I DON'T EVEN HAVE A MODEM"
Author William Gibson on non-functioning American democracy, the importance
of giving computers to the poor, and the elitist appeal of the Internet
On November 23, 1994 William Gibson came to
Stockholm, Sweden, to promote his new book "Virtual Light".
I interviewed him for "Rapport", Sweden's
largest TV-news program. We talked for about half an hour, but only a
small percent of the interview made it to the TV audience.
William Gibson deserves better than that, so I hereby realese
a transcript of the entire interview on the Web. Enjoy!
What is cyberspace?
Cyberspace is a metaphor that allows us to grasp this place where since about the
time of the second world war we've increasingly done so many of the things that we think
of as civilization. Cyberspace is where we do our banking, it's actually where the bank
keeps your money these days because it's all direct electronic transfer. It's where the
stock market actually takes place, it doesn't occur so much any more on the floor of the
exchange but in the electronic communication between the worlds stock-exchanges.
So I think that since so much of what we do is happening digitally and electronically, it's
useful to have an expression that allows that all to be part of the territory. I think
it makes it easier for us to visualize what we're doing with this stuff.
Is there any situation when people actually enter cyberspace?
Well, you know, I think in a very real sense cyberspace is the place where a long
distance telephone call
takes place. Actually it's the place where any telephone call
takes place and we take that very much for granted. Otherwise I would say that when
people use the Internet, that's when they're most obviously navigating in cyberspace.
When you use the Internet you enter a realm in which geography no longer exist.
Is that a good thing?
I think it's a fascinating thing and in any case it's not going to go away.
I think that technologies are morally neutral until we apply them. It's only when we use
them for good or for evil that they become good or evil.
Feedback is welcome! Mail me at
This is an example of what websites looked like in 1995. The interview
is also available in a more
Interview copyright © 1995 Sveriges Television AB