No time now?
Cyberpunk – which represents bleak visions of the future immersed in bright neon light and the struggle between man and machine, overwhelming companies and aliens. Science fiction researcher Lars Schmink explains why this genre of films is more objective than ever and can even change the world for the better.
t3n: High technology versus low life is the formula for the cyberpunk type. What exactly is behind this, Mr. Schmink?
Lars Schmink: Author Bruce Stirling defined it in an introduction to Mirrorshades’ anthology in the 1980s: Hi-tech means that people are getting involved with technology, getting more and more with it. This technological world is governed by corporations, large corporate conglomerates. Many cyberpunk stories have a movie noir twist and are about people who have been excluded in these power structures, who have no chance in the big money game. So it’s about hacker, gang member, and people on the street trying to survive – Low Life.
t3n: Today the brain’s computer chip looks close at hand, and face recognition will be used in demos, as virtual influencers announce on Instagram: Are we really living in a cyberpunk world?
We are now experiencing a great deal of what the cyberpunk predicted: On the one hand, there is information technology everywhere around us. We almost integrate with our smartphone. On the other hand, we created a virtual world parallel to the Internet, Matrix as described by Cyberpunk founder William Gibson in the 1980s. The idea of the existence of a digital self that exists in parallel with the physical self is also introduced. The picture that I post on Instagram is not what I really am. This is really my avatar.
t3n: Symptoms of our era include cell phone addiction and depression due to overuse of social media. Do we all really suffer from “technochrome”?
Or future trauma, too. The fake Instagram world is one thing, there are actually great influencers who show off reality without makeup and without pose. More problematic is the social level, the rise of populism in politics. All of this has to do with the fact that people no longer understand how politics, society and globalization work. This is a form of futuristic shock that is less about the technology itself than about the complexity behind it.
t3n: What role do influential and financially powerful transhumanists like Elon Musk?
Thankfully, Elon Musk is still very busy at the moment building electric cars and rockets. He sees a Neuralink implant in his brain as a tool that can be implanted in order to connect to computers. The others have already made more progress, but he has the big PR machine in action. He takes a critical look at large companies like Google, which also operate in areas like biotechnology. It’s a problem when so many technologies are migrating to the private sector. We are back to cyberpunk, which clearly shows that when corporations come to power, we humans are transformed into commodities.
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