Archive for the ‘ Tomorrow ’ Category

Dystopia in the near future

I stumbled across an interesting article recently, A radical pessimist’s guide to the next 10 years by Douglas Coupland. Perhaps a bit much on the “pessimist” side, but what struck me is how this list mentioned some cyberpunk-like concepts.

Let’s take a look at a few of them.
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Journalists often have a prominent place in cyberpunk. A lot of times the story in a cyberpunk setting is told as being a news story. It can be a reminder of how much corporations control everything if the newscast is missing information that the reader/viewer knows, or it can be an affirmation of how an independent can break through the control to report the “real truth”.

So, let’s take a look at journalists in cyberpunk, and how our future is likely to head compared to the previous concept.
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“Virus!” on AfroCyberPunk

Jonathan Dotse from AfroCyberPunk just posted an abridged version of the first chapter of his upcoming novel on his site: Virus!. Go check it out, then continue on for some of my thoughts.

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Cyberpunk geopolitics

I want to delve a bit into politics. I’d really appreciate having a mature conversation here even though political issues, especially in the U.S., tend to stir up a lot of strong feelings. But, this is a topic that I think is interesting to discuss. I will also warn that this is from a very U.S.-centric point of view, but I welcome discussions from other points of view in the comments below.

The the bad old days of the 1980s, there was a palpable feeling of economic dread covering the U.S. The 1970s saw an energy crisis and a recession hurting the U.S. economy (sounds familiar….) The country experienced “stagflation”, state of inflation where the economy remains stagnant. This lead to lot of speculation about how countries with stronger economies might take a position of dominance on the world stage, replacing the U.S.’s traditional role.

One common focus was the rapid increase in Japan’s economic power, which is reflected in a lot of cyberpunk stories. Let’s take a look at the geopolitical situation envisioned by cyberpunk writers and perhaps look at how that is reflected in current times.

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So, after bashing cyberpunk as an MMO genre, time for me to play “good developer” and show why my evil twin was wrong. Why is cyberpunk a great genre for an MMO?

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As I’ve said before, I’m not just a cyberpunk aficionado, I’m also an MMO developer. These two interests intersect in interesting ways. There have been calls for a cyberpunk-themed MMO from many people, but it hasn’t happened yet. Why?

Let’s take a look at some reasons why cyberpunk is a terrible genre for an MMO.

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Game: “The Curfew” is in effect

Reader Haversack wrote in with a tip about an interesting game with a cyberpunk feel to it called The Curfew.

A scene from The Curfew.The Curfew is a small point and click adventure written by Marvel writer and game critic Kieron Gillen and developed by Littleloud digital entertainment for Channel 4. It is very well done in flash with live action placed upon computer generated backgrounds.

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Interview: Gary Ballard

As part of our work here on The Internet Crashed, we’ll do interviews with people involved with cyberpunk.

I first “met” Gary Ballard online; we both frequented the same online game (MMO) rant and discussion sites. He posted under the pseudonym “HaemishM” and was an active participant back in the olden days of the MMO community. As I focused more on my own blog instead of visiting the community sites, I fell out of contact with most of the personalities, including Gary. But, as I was starting up this site, imagine my surprise when I found out that Gary had been writing an online cyberpunk serial called The Bridge Chronicles. Gary has collected his stories into book form and is now selling his work online.

A transcript of our email interview follows.

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The Future of User Interfaces

The user interface has been pretty much locked into the mouse and keyboard for a long time. That must change in order to make any kind of real advances into augmented reality and wearable computers. If you have seen the movie “Minority Report” you may well remember some interesting ways to interact with computers and networks. The video below, of Minority Report science adviser John Underkoffler as shown at TED, shows that this technology is already a reality and could perhaps be in your hands within a few years.

And here is an invisible mouse or as MIT calls it, “Mouseless”:

Finally here is another talk from TED (and Pranav Mistry) from a while ago, “The thrilling potential of SixthSense technology”:


The News: 20 Years Hence

Imagine: gone are the days of Letters to the Editor. When political commentary is shared exclusively on the web, history records: ink-stained fingers clutching styrofoam cups; trains echoing the rustle of off-white paper; and recycling bins stacked high with fashion tips and football results.

The newspaper is dead, and the humble newsagent has fled our streets to be replaced with off-license shops and billboards. Commuters flock to the cities clutching portable computers and tablet screens; news flicks past them with the wave of a hand. The rustling we hear is of pages in a novel turning, as a lone traditionalist sits surrounded by eReaders and headphone sets.

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