The AV Club Interviews William Gibson

The AV Club interviews cyberpunk pioneer William Gibson about his new novel, Zero History. From the interview–

AVC: You’ve talked elsewhere about the modern dilemma of separating the real from the virtual. How does something like Twitter confuse the issue?

WG: More and more, I think the thing our descendants will find most quaint and old-fashioned about us is the trouble we still take to make that distinction, between the virtual and the “real.” I think that will seem sort of Victorian to them, because I think we’re already losing the need to make the distinction, and I don’t see that as necessarily a bad thing. That doesn’t fill me with the panic it fills some people with. The back-and-forth [of Twitter] is the same back-and-forth we’re having right now in a telephone conversation, and it’s very much like the back-and-forth that Victorian English people had with their three mail deliveries a day. Except that with a medium like Twitter, it’s simultaneously public, in large part. It becomes a communal activity. I don’t see it as a new activity, inherently. I think it’s something we’ve had equivalents of for forever, but the completely post-geographical way in which we’re able to do it is new. And it must be changing it somehow. I actually don’t think we can know what emergent technologies are doing to us while they’re doing it to us. In fact, I don’t think we know yet what broadcast television did to us, although it obviously did lots. I don’t think we’re far enough away from it yet to really get a handle on it. We get these things, I think they start changing us right away, we don’t notice we’re changing. Our perception of the whole thing shifts, and then we’re in the new way of doing things, and we take it for granted.

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