Contemporary culture offer contradictory views of the internet and new media technologies, painting them in extremes of optimistic enthusiasm and pessimistic foreboding. While some view them as a repository of hopes for democracy, freedom and self-realisation, others consider these developments as sources of alienation, dehumanisation and danger. This book explores such representations, and situates them within the traditions of utopian and dystopian thought that have shaped the Western cultural imaginary. Ranging from ancient poetry to post-humanism, and classical sociology to science fiction, it uncovers the roots of our cultural responses to the internet, which are centred upon a profoundly ambivalent reaction to technological modernity. Majid Yar argues that it is only by better understanding our society's reactions to technological innovation that we can develop a balanced and considered response to the changes and challenges that the internet brings in its wake.