This week I began analyzing the results from my survey. The aim was to discover the answers to several key questions regarding my research topic about Cyberpunk and Cyber Fears …
- Are we more accepting of new technology?
- What kind of fears do we have regarding our current technologies?
- Do we still have a dystopian view of the future or do we have more positive perceptions?
- Is there room for the cyberpunk genre to re-emerge in our modern culture?
- And if so how might it be different?
Originally I was aiming to get around 40 participants, but thanks to Facebook and its mass message capabilities I was able to get 80. This was really exciting because it gave a large range of in depth answers to work with and draw ideas from. Here are some of the trends I noticed…
35% of participants stated they had a negative perception of the future in that they think we are headed towards disaster rather than utopia. This actually contradicts what I had hypothesized. I thought for sure there would be a positive trend in perceptions but the survey showed that the majority had a bleak, dystopic view, reminiscent of classic cyberpunk.
But then when asked what their perception of cyber technologies was, 50% said helpful and 24% said extremely helpful. Only 6% said they thought cyber technology was dangerous showing a vast drift towards positive perceptions and suggesting a greater acceptance of technological advancement.
When asked their level of fear over technological advancement 50% said not very frightened and 11% said not frightened at all. Only 3% said very frightened again showing a greater acceptance of technology and a low level of cyber related fear.
However, there were still areas of cyber culture that generated anxiety within the respondents; predominantly in the field of Artificial Intelligence. When asked if there were any current or near future technologies they were particularly worried the most common answer was Artificial Intelligence. Answers Ranged from AI’s killing or enslaving us, to unemployment from AI’s flooding the job market, to the ethics of playing god.
Others were concerned about their online privacy, online security, drone spying, governments control through wearable technology and social media dependency. The three issues most concerned about were Cyber Terrorism, Online Privacy and Cyber Security. From this I have gathered fear is still prevalent when it comes to our perceptions of new technologies and there is growing concern over several key issues.
Due to a lot of mentioning of films in people answers though I have begun to re-shape my thinking in that perhaps it is not people’s fears that shape cyberpunk films but rather films that shape peoples cyber fears.