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Are we living in a cyberpunk novel?


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Mackenzie Holiday

If a book about this past year had been written sometime in the 1980's, how well do you think it would have fit the cyberpunk genre? With elements like a global pandemic, private prisons, civil unrest exacerbated by the polarizing effect of social media algorithms, man-made climate change, governments and corporations both continuing to erode privacy in our day-to-day lives, the existence of nutrient complete powdered foods that can theoretically replace normal meals, and this exists! Cyberpunk fiction seems to have predicted the present better than most genres.

 

We're not at the point of augmenting our brains and bodies beyond our natural capabilities, but many elements of our modern world seem like they would fit well in a cyberpunk setting. Are there any other ways you can think of that the present would have been seen as cyberpunk if they were written about in the past? Are there any ways in which our world falls short of a cyberpunk setting that you think would make this past year fit a different genre better? Are there any elements from cyberpunk settings that you think will become a reality in the future or any elements you think will always remain fiction?

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Black Tourmaline

the out-sourced HR dept at my work is literally called "the Matrix"

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Grey-Ace Ventura
7 minutes ago, Mackenzie Holiday said:

augmenting our brains and bodies beyond our natural capabilities

Technically that's already been done if you count prosthetic limbs

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Zagadka

We're getting there. Everything is being outsourced to giant multinational private monopoly corporations that don't answer to any authority and introduce tracking measures in everything, which people happily accept and sign up for because of convenience.

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Phalena

Yes, we are! With less cool fashion though. I'm background character no. 7.415.197.632!

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Zagadka

Oh, and let's not forget the billionaires who everyone worships as visionaries.

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A User

Why couldn't this be a dystopian novel? Our world is falling apart, and even when everything seems fine, under the covers it's absolute sh*t. It isn't the future right now, but if we write it from the perspective of 2016 or even 2018, I think this would be a dystopia too.

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Crack Cake

That rat brain robot scares me so much, lol.

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Sean_Bird
16 minutes ago, Crack Cake said:

That rat brain robot scares me so much, lol.

That video disturbed me so much, lol. It's Pickle Rick all over again.

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Still

No, because people don't use cool names like ”Johnny Silverhand” or ”Molly Millions” in real life, and computers aren't used to break the black ICE of multinational corporations, they're mostly just used for giving all your information to Facebook and Google. Although it's kind of impressive how much William Gibson got right, like the Internet is basically the Matrix from his books, considering he didn't even own a computer when he wrote Neuromancer around 1984.

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Tempah_And_Avocado

 The rat-brain robot is seriously freaking me out, as is this

 I think the world as we know it is more of a combination of cyberpunk and dystopian, the scariest part of the dystopia being, in my opinion, that most people aren't aware of it. And even those that do think about it move on with their lives because, really, what else can you do? 

We also have systems in place that make it difficult to live as anyone who is not white, straight, neurotypical, cisgender(not saying that those people can't have problems, I'm just saying that, even with those problems, they do tend to have a systematic advantage), and everything else that this system I speak of considers to be "normal" or "standard." So many random things(haircuts, clothes, etc.) being assigned to either men or women--I get that the human brain likes to look for patterns, but the extent to which it permeates our world is, to me, freaky. Here in the U.S., we also have states that make it illegal to teach anything positive about folks from the LGBTQ+ community, that is, in public schools. 

Not to mention all of the other things going on right now, and the ways that the systems I've mentioned above are so much worse in many other places. 

And, speaking of the U.S., it's scary to me to see the extent to which people are divided by political parties--it's to the point where it seems, at least to me, that people are judging only by party, and not by candidate. 

Yeesh, sorry for the length on this thing. 

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Purple Red Panda

I already own a black trench coat so I'm pretty well equipped for our new dystopian age.

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`Silver

We do but we don't have the most important feature of dystopian settings, aka the possibility to upload our brains and relinquish our bodies. I'm disappointed.

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Tempah_And_Avocado

Adding this because I don't want anyone who saw my last post to become completely depressed: We can all try to think of a way to help. Look back on history, and learn from it--for example, if you know that the poor people of Rome became numb to their state because of getting their daily bread and gladiator matches, then it may help yo to be more wary of the ways in which modern entertainment(TV, social media, etc.) can consume us(not to mention the privacy thing). 

Unrelated, but I also use Ecosia, which is a browser that respects one's privacy and, every 45 searches, they used money gained from ad-revenue to plant a tree. This doesn't seem like a lot but is, in my view, better than nothing being planted at all. Well, it's more complicated than that, so here's something explaining it, as well as discussing whether or not it's actually legit. I've use the search engine for a while, and find it smooth; I also know that their search engine is built using Bing technology. 

Lol, this entire reply came out seeming like an ad for Ecosia. 

 

 

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Zagadka
31 minutes ago, Still said:

No, because people don't use cool names like ”Johnny Silverhand” or ”Molly Millions” in real life,

A lot of people go heavily on online usernames, so maybe in the near future.

 

31 minutes ago, Still said:

and computers aren't used to break the black ICE of multinational corporations, they're mostly just used for giving all your information to Facebook and Google.

We're in the buildup. We haven't started revolting yet. Again, maybe in the near future.

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weird elf

According to a certain cyberpunk RPG, last week would have seen the first wave of goblinisation ... we shall see what the news didn't report 😎

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Purple Red Panda
6 minutes ago, weird elf said:

ast week would have seen the first wave of goblinisation ... we shall see what the news didn't report 😎

Speaking in terms of the British shopping public (who I am forced to deal with because of my job) I'm not sure I'd notice 😆

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løvely

I'd say so yes

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N8ORiOS_P.A.N.D.A

I don’t think we’ll have cyber prosthetics by 2023 but with Elon’s brain chip we’re on the cusp science wise, besides that part of it I’d say it’s definitely similar.

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Black Tourmaline

....and nobody's mentioning this...

 

Spoiler

 

 

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Black Tourmaline
15 hours ago, `Silver said:

upload our brains and relinquish our bodies

well at least we're all obsessively online 24-7 and not getting any exercise...

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Black Tourmaline
15 hours ago, Crack Cake said:

rat brain robot

i used to play bass for Rat Brain Robot back in '86!

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Bradford

If I were you, I'd prepare to greet your future robot overlords.

 

sinister_laugh.wav

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Epic Tetus

We're not quite at Gibson, but maybe Sterling?

 

Major social institutions haven't quite degraded far enough. We've also entered the boring future, where instead of having brainjacks, we carry around little computers with network access everywhere, and instead of doing super cool computer stuff with them, we just have people yelling at each other on Twitter. Our threats are more prosaic as well. No runaway AI, no virus that hops from the computer into your brain. Just the relentless drumbeat of nationalism calling to everyone who starts to feel overwhelmed as they get exposed to more and more of the world.

 

And the worst failure of all - VR is still basically where it was back when I played Dactyl Nightmare at an expo in the early 90s. More affordable, but the basic concept is the same - strap on some goggles and have a complicated setup to still not have the ability to walk around an environment in a natural way. (I've played Beat Saber, okay, I know it can be fun, but I have been waiting for a goddamn Holodeck for like 30 years)

 

So yeah, more a kind of slow slide into the spiral of corporate self-obsession and pointless commoditization than the tech heavy crime zone style.

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daveb

If we are living in a cyberpunk novel it's not a very good one in my opinion. :P 

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