The Year is 2054. Nothing you know about your own time is still correct. Humanity discovered the next big step in computerization, the Cyberspace. Likewise, the next step in human evolution was the augmentation of the human body and genome, which eradicated all diseases and prolonged human life but only if you were among the few who could afford it. The Cyberspace became the number one marketplace of the entire world, with trillions of transactions per second taking place every day. Nothing happens in Cyberspace without the knowledge of corporations and likewise, every kind of electronic communication is completely monitored at all times. Cities in the traditional sense have long since been replaced by towering megacities, housing millions in dense population areas.
But the many advantages we made in the last decades came at a prize, those who were rich became even richer, but likewise the poor became poorer than ever. The ivory towers grow higher and higher while the streets around them are overflowing with human trash.
The world has gone to shit.
There are no national governments any more, no control mechanisms or international committees to keep an eye on globalization. Instead, the mega corporations, foremost Aeron Logistics International, have taken it to themselves to enforce their vision of a super capitalized democracy, supported by the military prowess of private security forces. The flourishing downtowns of the worlds Megacities are sealed off from the true face of civilization, though.
Beyond the walls of the clean, safe streets of corporation territory begin the slums, filled to the brim with the homeless, the poor, the junkies. Violence spread out and crime rates skyrocketed as the regions beyond these walls hardly ever are patrolled by private security corporations. Anything became acquirable, as long as you had the right connections and the money. Designer drugs flooded the market; cheap mass-produced weapons from Asia changed gang conflicts into small private wars. To escape this hell, there were only two possibilities you could choose; either suicide or flee into the cyberspace. Once you were in the Slums, it was impossible to get back into the Megacities.
Logged into cyberspace, you could experience completely new thrills, so much more compelling than the real world. Many people simply forgot to log out and rest as they starved without noticing it. Cyberspace itself was a sharp contrast to the real world. The gritty, dark streets, littered with trash changed place with clean, glowing skyscrapers formed from streams of data and you could model your own appearance to meet your dreams. Psychological and physical restrictions of the body were nonexistent; whatever you wanted to accomplish, you could. Incidentally, this is also the place where the resistance begun to spread. Hackers, in earlier times nothing but a small nuisance, changed into the Net Runners as they mastered the new ways of electronic warfare, breaking into the cyberspace to wreak havoc. They could even murder you without leaving a trace. And they are the biggest hope for freedom we have. The revolution will be synthesized.