The origins of the Internet date back to the development of packet switching and research commissioned by the United States Department of Defense in the 1960s to enable time-sharing of computers. The primary precursor network, the ARPANET, initially served as a backbone for interconnection of regional academic and military networks in the 1970s. The funding of the National Science Foundation Network as a new backbone in the 1980s, as well as private funding for other commercial extensions, led to worldwide participation in the development of new networking technologies, and the merger of many networks. The linking of commercial networks and enterprises by the early 1990s marked the beginning of the transition to the modern Internet, and generated a sustained exponential growth as generations of institutional, personal, and mobilecomputers were connected to the network. Although the Internet was widely used by academia in the 1980s, commercialization incorporated its services and technologies into virtually every aspect of modern life.
William Ford Gibson, born (1948-03-17) March 17, 1948 (age 73), in Conway, South Carolina is an American-Canadian writer who has been called the "noir prophet" of the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction. Gibson coined the term cyberspace in 1982, and popularized the concept in his debut novel, Neuromancer (1984). In depicting a visualised worldwide communications network before the ubiquity of the Internet, Gibson is credited with anticipating important aspects, and establishing the conceptual foundations, of the Internet and the Web in particular. Although much of Gibson's reputation has remained rooted in Neuromancer, his work has continued to evolve conceptually and stylistically. After expanding on Neuromancer with two more novels to complete the dystopic Sprawl trilogy, Gibson became central to an entirely new science fiction subgenre—steampunk—with the publication in 1990 of the alternate history novel The Difference Engine, written in collaboration with Bruce Sterling. In the 1990s he composed the Bridge trilogy of novels, which focused on sociological observations of near future urban environments and late stage capitalism. His most recent novels—Pattern Recognition (2003), and Spook Country (2007)—are both set in a contemporary universe and have put Gibson's work onto mainstream bestseller lists for the first time.