Cyberspace: A word from the pen of William Gibson, science fiction writer, circa 1984. An unhappy word, perhaps, if it remains tied to the desparate, dystopic vision of the near future found in the pages of Neuromancer (1984) and Count Zero (1987)-visions of corporate hegemony and urban decay, of neural implants, of a life in paranoia and pain-but a word, in fact, that gives a name to a new stage, a new and irresistible development in the elaboration of human culture and business under the sign of technology.
-- Michael Benedikt,"Introduction" to Cyberspace: First Steps. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991.
This view of cyberspace illustrates two major points: that the increase of interactions over computers will lead to a world devoid of current societal ideals and that such development is inevitable as new technology enchants the masses.
William Gibson's fiction plays out this view of the future through engaging science-fiction. He shows that technology has a greater hold over people than government. His world is run by wealthy corporations. The protagonists of his books deftly manipulate technology, but underneath his world view of cyberspace is awfully gritty. Follow this path to go explore more on Gibson.
An anime story called The Bubble Gum Crisis also uses a dystopian cyber-world. This bizzare set of Japanese films explores the line between machine and man. The machines, who appear human and female, have emtions and show everything from passion to anger to vulnerability, while the humans are often stoic, cold corporation owners.
The alarm over the dystopian view was sounded by Jean Baudrillard in the early '80s, well before the internet was established as a global presence. Baudrillard's book Simulation and Simulacra has a rather alarmist tone about the perils of becoming too dependent on technology. This off site link to /www.dc.peachnet.edu/~mnunes/jbnet.html [may no longer exist -- GPL] helps explain Baudrillard's ideas about simulation.Despite his extreme views, Baudrillard figures prominently in the critical theory of cyberspace. Go see what Dr. Landow, creator of this web site and my professor, says about Baudrillard or go to a list of Baudrillard Resources.