For a long time, I have been a fan of the science fiction genre called cyberpunk.
The cyberpunk world is one where humans are all connected by technology like the internet and the boundaries between the virtual world and the real world are indistinct.
There is an anime show called Ghost in the Shell that talks about a future where people and machines are merged, and where most people are cybernetic. Unlike the Borg, it is a complex but somewhat happy future. The main character is a woman who was paralyzed as a child, but now has a complete android body and a wonderful career. Even so, they have strange problems, like the ability of others to erase a person’s memories, or everyone’s memories with the right virus.
I find that we are coming closer to that world. I often find that if there is not a wikipedia or IMDB entry on something, I doubt that it exists, even if I have seen it before. Is removing links to websites on google tantamount to removing part of our memory, or at least our access to it?
Cyberpunk is now!
The more I look around me, the more I realize that we are living in that cyberpunk world. Revolutions that we follow on twitter. Governments deciding that all email should be searched. Smart phones which track your location and reports it to the company that sells you your favorite snacks. The net is vast and infinite. Full of locked doors and hidden passage ways. It is used to spy and to inform. To spill secrets and to hide them. It’s hard to survive in the world now without internet access.
But what I feel I am missing is the place that will inform me of the currents of the populist internet culture. The place outside of the corporate hegemony where the h@ckers meet. That “chat” room where ideas and forbidden knowledge is exchanged. Where is it? 4chan? hyperboria? Or is it someplace that we have yet to create?
Wherever it is, I will meet you there.