I know I haven’t updated this page in ages, and this is quite a topic shift from the norm, but this hit me so hard I had to share. Not a big thing, just a profound realization of the paradigm shift the world has already undergone, a shift that has incrementally snuck up on us.
Back when I was in college I unwisely spent a large portion of my time playing role-playing games, to the detriment of my grades. One of the games I used to play was a GURPS based game called Cyberpunk. Set in a dystopic, techno-noir future, and inspired by the works of authors such as Philip K. Dick and William Gibson, it was fun to play a cyber-augmented street mercenary, or wise cracking hacker with the net plugged right into my brain. My friends and I battled crime syndicates and heartless mega-corporations for fun and profit every Friday night.
This was back in the early 1990’s, before smartphones, when people were only just starting to realize the potential of the internet. This was pre-Google, even. We loved the gadgets – like the pocket secretary, which was like a cell phone - only it could get online and could store information and play music, and even run programs (sound familiar?).
Ok, so there I was, standing in a run-down, under-ventilated Otis elevator in my hotel, holding my swipe card room key, my debit card that I had just swiped at the vending machine to get two cokes, the old-fashioned ice bucket, and reading an article about LulzSec Hactivists on my smartphone with the sound of a news report about a flood endangered nuclear power plant in Nebraska floating down the hall as the doors pinged open – and I realized that I was there. I was in the future. That moment, in the hallway of a run down hotel with swirly carpet designed to mess with the heads of drunks and tired businessmen, so totally noir, and peppered with techno gadgets that were considered science fiction only 15 years ago – I felt like I’d fallen into a William Gibson novel.
Ok, so maybe we don’t have black market cybernetic upgrades, and the mega corporations don’t quite rule the world (yet), and you can’t plug the internet directly into your brain (yet), but we do have ‘pocket secretaries’, and transparent multi-touch interactive connected devices, and electronic money, and Anonymous hacker collectives fighting the man.
I don’t really have a point here, I just had to share my slightly disorienting and totally awesome moment of realization (I wouldn’t call it an epiphany, nowhere near that profound).
Now, I’m going to go listen to my Billy Idol “Cyberpunk” album – on my cellphone. Maybe I’ll download Nuromancer to my Kindle app and re-read it, too.
Blogs I Read
Dear Mark: Roundup Safety and Polyamory to Monogamy - For today’s edition of Dear Mark , I’m covering two entirely different topics. The first is a fairly familiar topic to readers of this blog—whether a pop...1 hour ago
- ► 2009 (15)