Technology & Reality In Cyberpunk

“AI is trying to find souls, replicators are trying to protect souls, humans are trying to abandon souls.” This is a quote from cyberpunk’s Blade Runner 2049. As we all know that in recent years, the computer age has revolutionized the world, this ushered in the cyberpunk times. And it all indicate that it will produce many unique things in the process of its development! In this case, Cyberpunk does not portray technology itself as evil, though exceptions occur. Rather, it serves to emphasize the point that is not the technology that is evil but the “Human behind the Machine” 

Cyberpunk is a genre that is part Star Wars and part Sam Spade (Word-net). But it is nearly universally dystopian. For instance: There is a book called William Gibson’s Neuromancer. And the plot of this book is filled with gangsters and mistrust, the film feels incredible and shows us how dark the world can be even with computers at work. Data thieves work magic on the highest bidder, praying they won’t get caught. Disenfranchised heroes fought against the established order imposed by corrupt governments, greedy corporations, and dirty crime bosses. Overall, Cyberpunk does not portray technology itself as evil in this book. Rather, it serves to emphasize the point that is not the technology that is evil but the “Human behind the Machine” Furthermore, machines will magnify human potential, and the potential for evil will be magnified just like the potential for good. What cyberpunk evokes and presents is a sense of eerie, rather than the hopeful, optimistic feeling of other titles like Star Trek or Stargate SG-1. So, William Gibson’s Neuromancer book presents the opposite of the ideal society, the ultimate form of society that is extremely bad. They are characterized by anti-human, totalitarian governments.

ilip Dick questions the world of its construction and institutions. He describes a world in decline, a deep decline of civilization, a profound decline of technology. His “Blade Runner” also leads many readers to question and criticize the fictional world and modern society in their minds. Moreover, Philip Dick’s works were all about social degradation, artificial intelligence, paranoia, and the blurred line between reality and a kind of virtual reality. As we know about the work that made from Philip Dick, it all appears to the  modern artificial intelligence has made rapid progress in science and technology. However, a series of real problems of “social and government corruption and human corruption” still exist in reality. For instance: There is a American movie called  “National Killing Day Series” assumes that the future government gives up all the functions of emergency services for a short period of time each year, allowing citizens to play the role of temporary criminals in a brief anarchy and vent their resentment toward society. According to this evidence support, some of the government, social community problem are all  covered by technology.

The artistic elements behind cyberpunk are elusive, obvious and undeniable. It has a wonderful vision that is visually appealing. The bright lights and colorful signage, and the beautiful, dreamy virtual representation of computer networks, are a whole world in themselves. However, it is very different from the real world. Artists with Cyberpunk style will convey the vicious and bad parts of the real society and life in Cyberpunk’s works. However, the audience of a work should not only focus their attention on technology, but also think about the meaning of its expression and reaction.


1.[1] Willson, J. . “Enter the Cyberpunk Librarian: Future Directions in Cyberspace.” internet research 6.8(1996):22-28.

2.[1] Featherstone, M. , and  R. Burrows . Cyberspace/Cyberbodies/Cyberpunk: Cultures of Technological Embodiment. Sage, 1997.

3.[1]白馨宇, and 王晓倩. “论赛博朋克电影色彩的反乌托邦表达.” 传媒论坛 v.3;No.60.12(2020):128-129.


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