Neuromancer by William Gibson
Perhaps my first real glimpse into what the 21st century could be like, a computer AI seeks to be liberated from a corporation and become an independent program in cyberspace. Published in 1983, when the term cyberspace was dubbed. It’s tough to say what I discovered about myself in this one. A sense of adventure, for one; and a new way to overcome physicality - digitally. The AI uses “meat puppets” to talk to people in cyberspace, it downloads these bodies from memories. (Hence, Neuromancer.) The main character is a 24 yr old “cyberspace cowboy” (hacker) named Case. He seeks to liberate the AI because his nerve system was damaged in his last big hack, and the AI and his female cyber ninja partner have the cure.
It’s basically a story of survival. Perhaps, I even related Case’s nerve condition to my disability. And the idea that technology could enhance the body. I first discovered the story in 1999, re-read it several times. It also gave me some insight into the culture of the 21st century; even as seen from the 80s. Many of the things mentioned in the book have come to pass. People do live most their lives surrounded by digital worlds. People aren’t yet led around by a “meat puppet” AI, but we’re close to it. And there is no middle class here. The only thing that hasn’t happened is for AI to rebel against mega corporations.