I have spent the last few weeks looking into the end of the cyberpunk genre and examining modern texts to find any evidence of cyberpunk exiting today. This week I began researching what scholars have said about the post- cyberpunk era. I wanted to discover what themes, aesthetics and other key differences set the post- cyberpunk era apart from traditional (authentic) cyberpunk. What I found is that most scholars come to agree that a key point of differentiation is the concept of hope and positivity.
Lawrence Person argues that post- cyberpunk works use the same immersive world-building techniques as classic cyberpunk but features different characters, settings, and, most importantly, make fundamentally different assumptions about the future.
“Far from being alienated loners, post-cyberpunk characters are frequently integral members of society”… “They live in futures that are not necessarily dystopic but their everyday lives are still impacted by rapid technological change and an omnipresent computerized infrastructure”.
I thought about this with relevance to some of the texts I have been looking at and for most of them this statement rings true. I thought about movies like Transcendence, Ex Machina and Gamer where, as Lawrence has pointed out, the characters all deal with significant issues to do with cyber culture and new cyber technologies, but they do not necessarily live in a dystopic world that has fallen into chaos. Ex Machina for example is not about a rouge AI destroying the world, but rather the ethical issues with creating and discarding artificial life.
This relates back to my research project as the reasoning behind this increase in positivity may be linked to the idea that people’s perceptions of the future have changed since the time of the cyberpunk era. I want to conduct further primary research into this discovering if people have become more accepting of technological advancement now that cyber-technology is so saturated in our everyday lives. I want to know if they have more positive perceptions of the future and what fears (if any) people have about our current/near future technologies.
I plan to do so with an online survey which I have already created here and am awaiting the results. I have also started some secondary research into this and found this interesting study into people’s biggest fears of 2015. Three of the top ten where cyber technology related which was very interesting.
I plan to present the findings for my research in podcast style video, where I will discuss concepts, show what I have found and elaborate on my thoughts about the future of the cyberpunk genre.
Pearson, L 1999, Notes Towards A Post Cyberpunk Manifesto, Slashdot, viewed 4 April 2016, < https://news.slashdot.org/story/99/10/08/2123255/notes-toward-a-postcyberpunk-manifesto>.