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comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  118 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Cyberpunk isn’t just sci-fi — it’s Silicon Valley’s design theory

    You might never have heard of Molly Millions, the street-samurai heroine of William Gibson’s Neuromancer, but in a way, you’re living in her era.

If you have not, you are a savage and an infidel and deserve the future that's handed to you. But c'mon. Bit of a reach here. take it away, author:

    In cyberpunk, the Cold War never ended; it just got higher tech.

THANK YOU. Bruce Sterling pointed out that Neuromancer was seminal because it was the first sci fi novel since Hiroshima that wasn't either space opera or post-apocalyptic. It had been 40 years since someone had looked at the present, extrapolated out to the future, and hypothesized changes that didn't require either wiping the slate clean or advancing so far that any technology was indistinguishable from magic.

worthy of note: cybyerpunk presupposes implants, not VR goggles. Everybody does what they do by having hardware attached to their wetware. it's virtually impossible to find a cyberpunk novel that doesn't involve some form of biological-technological melding and it's the lack of survivable cybernetics that really distinguishes our present from cyberpunk's future. Note that cyberpunk is also invariably pessimistic and that this implant technology is invariably presented as a necessary but dehumanizing force.

Apple's design aesthetic isn't cyberpunk, it's Bauhaus via Dieter Rams. Alexa and Siri and all the computers talking to you is Star Trek, not cyberpunk. And while the heroes of cyberpunk generally break the law in order to take down large corporations, they do it for equality and equalization. The fundamental problem is there's no money in it so every Silicon Valley visionary you've ever seen turned to advertising.

    Even today, the best explanation of cyberpunk lies in what the android Replicant, Roy Batty, mourns to Deckard at the end of Blade Runner. “I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.”

What the fuck are you talking about.




bfv  ·  118 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    . And while the heroes of cyberpunk generally break the law in order to take down large corporations, they do it for equality and equalization. The fundamental problem is there's no money in it so every Silicon Valley visionary you've ever seen turned to advertising.

I'd argue the free software movement, the subset of the crypto community that did things like PGP and Tor, and the more political pirates are counterexamples. With the exception of piracy they either don't involve breaking the law or the law changed to accommodate them, probably because everything subversive they do only ends up benefiting other techies and there's much more money to be made screwing everyone else.

kleinbl00  ·  118 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'd humor that argument. I'd point out, though, that Tor was born at the Naval Research Laboratory and incubated via DARPA so regardless of whether or not it was sheep-dipped into looking civilian or merely unleashed unto the world, it ain't very hax0ry. The counterargument would be that whole RSA/PGP kerfuffle.

I think we can agree that there's an ethos in cyberpunk that likely influenced a few folx. I think we can also agree that capping it off this essay with some bizarre bit from Blade Runner (which is noir as fuck, not cyberpunk) does not enforce its point.

tigrisandeuphrates  ·  118 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Damn, you're right. How did I miss all those points? I better stop reading very late at night, or better start paying serious attention to what I read. Haha. :D

kleinbl00  ·  118 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Hey, I shared it anyway. It's thought provoking and gives me a chance to snark. ;)