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Michael Lundt February 10, 2012 HUM 310 Technology and the World of Burning Chrome We take most

technology for granted these days; technology has always been an extension of ones self that was designed to give humans less work. Technology has derived from some of our basic utensils like pencils, chairs, dishes, and clothes. Technology now has evolved to the point where every person in the world can be connected through online databases. It has been this way ever since the internet boom and William Gibson has predicted this in his 1982 story of Burning Chrome. I found it fit how Gibson could come to foresee the birth of the internet. Gibson has not only foreseen the internet but also hackers and the impoverished aspect of society today. He has almost mirrored the world of Burning Chrome to our society today. The internet really became commercialized in the 1990s when the amount of people logging on doubled every year. In the beginning though, the 1960s there was research for way in which information could be transferred from one individual to another, which lead to the creation of a network. By the 1970s connection from one network to another started the internetworking system. By 1982 there was the actual concept of a worldwide network, so we can begin to understand why it was that Gibson would start to write about the future of this technology. Although it is easy to see the benefits of this technology, Gibson looked at the other side of it. Knowing that you would be able to share information from all over the world he also saw that one would be able to take information from anywhere in the world.

Knowing that people would be using computers to hack into other peoples databases, would be a bit of a stretch in 1982, but now it is happening daily. Our government along with many others, including China, Japan, and the European Union, believe that there is too much freedom in the internet. Too much information is getting out that may not want to be seen. We might have understood that our government is looking for a kill switch when reading into the SOPA/PIPA bills. Now with the international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) that president Obama has signed in October of last year, we have seen a mass increase in hackers and hacker groups. ACTA will offer an international governed internet, that will take away any privacy for the users and may bring a suppression of information and the only way to get around the suppression would be through hacking. In Burning Chrome the society seems to be filled with hackers. Automatic Jack and Bobby are two talented hackers from the story who happen to use their skills for hacking systems for profit. I do see great similarity in the story and our society, the only difference though is the intention. Just like in Burning Chrome our society is infatuated in new technology, we are in the technological age. The story has talked about the housing for these two hackers, mentioning how it is dirty and cluttered with computer parts and old magazines. I could go off and start talking about the pollution our society is creating, but one could just read any newspaper or look into the international carbon tax that is trying to be passed by a global government. Our society though, is just like what I perceived Burning Chromes society to be, broke. Automatic Jack and Bobby have admitted to being broke, working with their new Russian software in order to rob Chrome of all the money she owns. Tough times call for tough measures. In our society half of the population is some sort of government assistance. People find themselves doing

things they wouldnt normally due in order to survive. It wouldnt be that far off to see people manipulating technology to get what it is that they need. William Gibson has foreseen the world we have to today and expressed it in his story Burning Chrome. Through my interpretation I have found a vast amount of similarities in our world today. The similarities can be seen through our internet, the hackers, and our impoverished nation. I believe our society has gone in the wrong direction; technology is in the wrong hands, you know things are bad when we create a weapon that can destroy humanity as we know it. What happened to using technology as an extension of ones self, to make life easier? The majority of the world population wants peace, yet brutes that run countries fight each other for special interests. This isnt anything new; one of the greatest speeches I have ever heard was from Charlie Chaplin in the movie The Great Dictator. In this world there is room for everyone and the earth is rich and can provide for everyone; the way of life can be free and beautiful; but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned mens souls has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in: machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little: More than machinery we need humanity; more than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.