Today I ran my virus checker program and discovered there were 20 viruses on my computer, most were probably benigh and quickly disposed of, I mention that to point out the truth of this statement. Individuals and small groups still can wield the power in this computer age. Between Virus, Trojan horses and DOS attacks, there is a great deal of power in this individuals. For the most part they are free to operate without the fear of arrest. Occassionally a few are found and dealt with by the laws of the land, but these are the exception. Consider as well some of the hackers, such as Kevin Metnick, he has a certain celebrity status and is viewed as a hero by some. The fear of virus still prevails. Although it should be pointed out the reason for the plethora of viruses is because the dominant operation system of the world is so buggy and full of holes its more of a hobby rather then malicious intent.
The power of these individuals is great and it keeps the security apparatus well used and well financed.
The coalescence of a computer "culture" is expressed in self-aware computer music, art, virtual communities, and a hacker/street tech subculture. The computer nerd image is passe, and people are not ashamed anymore about the role the computer has in this subculture. The computer is a cool tool, a friend, important human augmentation .
Another truism, computers are truly the new cool tool. The culture of computer is spreading and entering the mainstream, just think of the latest blockbuster movie, how much of it is now Computer Generated? The music of the computer is finding its way, there are those who love electronic, ambient, noize, thrash and all that is good in this style of music. Also, how many pop stars would be revealed as the talentless gorms that they are without the magic of computer enhancements. The computer nerd image is gone, it is cool to be with computers. In fact for many of us, we would be lost without our computers, and they are all over the place now. The image of the computer as this huge beige box on a desk is no more. Our subculture is inspired by computers, we talk with others through our computers and deal with life, giving our opinion of matters through our computers. This is the age of the computer and interconnection, and it's not to be feared.