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There's nothing to see here except for shadows of the past - and these ones won't be returning.

I'd point you to my next project here - but I'm not that organised. My style is to act and then sort out the consequences, rather than the other way around. Oh, and lying. I do that a lot too. (i.e. if you look closely, you may have seen some links appearing roughly once a week) is registered to me for the forseeable future, so you might find something there.

Edited by Vitenka at 2003-04-09 08:22:54

Vitenka : Fri 16 12:17:37 2002  
Cyberpunk within our lifetimes? All it may take is the will...

CyberPunk - 2020

All trademarks and copyrights blah blah blah Talsorian games. TL system from Steve Jackson's GURPS. Warning - this column will by hyperlink heavy.

2020 is the next big sci-fi milestone. We didn't go to jupiter in 2001, it looks like we won't be going in 2010 - will we all be running with gibson by then?

Let's have a quick look at what technology exists today. I'm not worried about it being mainstream by then - I just want to know whether, if you have the moolahbucks, and the will, you'll be able to jek yourself a razor cut.

The Hard Sciences

We can generate power in space - from the earths magnetic field. We have space drives and Ram Jets. We have reliable supersonic passenger transport and nanotechnology. We have Full body scanning and holographic displays.

I think we are ahead of schedule here. All that is really missing is teleportation replication and ftl and we can skip straight to TL11.

The Wet Sciences

We can clone animals - we can clone humans we can't yet accelerate growth.

We can replace every human organ except for the brain, the spine and the eyes. And we are working on the eyes. Oh, and we can sometimes repair spines

We can implant human tissue into animals, and vice versa. We haven't mapped the entirety of human DNA yet, but we are working on it. We can identify you by your DNA - and screen your DNA before birth to, for example, select your sex.

We can implant cybernetics including direct neural control.

We have some ability to perform extreme body modification - but we can't create super soldiers yet. We don't have musculature enhancement, and you can't get retractable claws added.

So we're damn nearly there - we probably will be there by 2020. The big portion of the work is cybernetics, and we are well on track - with replacements for all limbs, the heart, eyes and ears...

Social Sciences

The world is already in a state of collapse with megacorps attempting to wrest control away from the average consumer. Nuff said.

We're missing (reliable) sleep teaching, wider use of subliminal advertising and gene-tailored recreational drugs. Oh, and farther future, brain taping.

Information Technology

Information Warfare has entered the current argot. We have multiple global networks (phone, TV, internet) which allow you to exchange information and store data - all are tightly monitored, and largely one-way. But there is freedom in the cracks still. Attack and defence programs, both triggered and automated are coming along nicely - networks are collecting information about attack patterns and improving themselves.

Practically everything that has been written in the last fifty years is available via a compuiter terminal - the only difficulty is finding it. Corporations try to hide data from each other, and people make a living selling them walls to keep it safe.

You cannot jack into the net directly - we're working on that too - but virtual worlds exist. And are mostly violent places.

You can transfer money electronically, shop electronically - your terminal can be vital to normal life. And companies really want you to stop using other methods, so that they can fire their support staff.

Your terminal can connect to the net on the move, lasts almost a wokring day on battery. It speaks to you and recognises your voice.

Search Engines let you aggregate data and find the information you need.

You can wear your computers they can monitor your life and pretty much everything can connect withut wires.

Your car can navigate by sattelite and drive itself

The only area we are really lacking in is AI. Interfaces don't adapt automatically to your habits very well yet, and true 'personal assistant' AI is a LONG way off. But simpler 'learn and guess' AI is coming along.


sonic cannons, laser defence, guass rifles etc. are all real. As are non-lethal tehnologies such as glue-nets are in use in some places.

You can mount stonking big guns on your trck - and soldiers are starting to wear more computers than sit on your desk and carry really quite scary guns.

What are we missing? virbo-knives are common kitchenware. No power blades or laser-pistols though.

So - are we going to do it?

In eighteen years time, will you be walking down the street - a shiny sword at your side, thumbing through the TV channels in your glasses listening to your personalised news being beamed straight to your ear?

Will you be lying back watching your car drive itself?

Will you be breaking into networks - finding corporate networks or tagging them for other people to find? Perhaps you will be protecting them?

Will you be a virtual superstar - perhaps a virtual athlete?

The answer then is that we can almost do it. And by 2020 a lot of this stuff will be available in a highstreet shop. If you want to go into a tatoo parlor and change your eyeballs, or enhance your musculature or add a prosthetic tail - you will be able to.

Will we want to? Is CP2020 going to happen? I think it's very unlikely that we'd get the whole thing. And remember that MOST of the people in those worlds have to live and work ordinary jobs to support that kind of culture.

But yes - if you want to go and be a street samurai or whatever - you can go and do it now.

Heck, for a few more years you can probably get away with telling the cops it's a LARP event.


Technology scares me. Maybe we really are approaching a technological singularity after which the human race will be forever changed.

If not, and we stick to 'hard' technology - what is left to invent? There's a big gap in sci-fi between TL9 (limited AI, colony on the moon, cloning) and TL11 (reliable ftl travel, true AI, clinical immortality) - What are we going to invent between the two?

And, with any luck, I should be alive to see it. Can you blame those who can remmeber typewriters, the first moon landing, the invention of computers, the first heart transplant for being overwhelmed?

There is only one quote appropriate here, I think. "Whoa".

Edited by Vitenka at 2002-08-16 23:59:58

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