5 Ways Reality Has Become Bad Cyberpunk
With the release of Cyberpunk 2077, it seems like we've always had a deep fascination with the Cyberpunk genre and all of its futuristic inventions and wonder. With all of that intense obsession with high tech BS, it was only a matter of time until we all started asking stuff like, "Where the hell are our sex robots and flying cars?"
But unfortunately, reality doesn't really line up with our expectations, as usually, which lends itself to a lot of half-assed embarrassments that we just take for granted. Whereas cyberpunk had cool clothes and transhumanism, real-life has boring silicon valley bro aesthetics and very few interesting tech body modifications. None of it lives up to fiction because ...
Our Aesthetics Suck
Look at any popular cyberpunk media, and you'll see cool jackets, mohawks, and neat implants. It's the bread and butter of the genre. Yet here we are still with the same dorky, sterile silicon valley aesthetics that are as bad to look at as they are to mass-produce. Do you remember Google Glass? Nobody else does, and that's the general trend nowadays.
It's even worse now that COVID-19 is still rampaging on, and every single big company has to present their own fail-child version of cyberpunk gear for a quick buck. Like take a look at the company Razer, which normally develops godawful gamer gear crap, has recently decided to throw its own hat into the corona mask industry ring by making an expensive Facebook equipped with RGB lights AND voice amplification AND smart controls AND ... a bunch of other crap nobody really needs.
Or take a look at the Microclimate Air, which is a giant face mask that covers your entire head and looks like one of the suits from Alien. This thing looks absolutely stupid, but you know some rich douchebag is going to buy it anyway, and the company will probably make a decent amount of cash from it. The entire process is completely maddening and not at all what we would get in an actual cyberpunk society. Once again, reality sucks.
The Tesla Truck Is An abomination And Elon Will Not Save The Planet
Depending on who you ask, Elon Musk is either a scourge of humanity or the next Leonardo Da Vinci. The latter of which came from a very cultivated public image of Elon that he has spent an insane amount of money and memes crafting until everyone just saw him as a cool billionaire internet daddy who'll bring you disappointingly lame overpriced flamethrowers.
The issue is that people have also taken to the task of making him out to be some great Iron Man tech savior that is going to fix all of our problems with one self-landing rocket at a time, which isn't actually the case. See, unlike cyberpunk, which often has tech people and scientists coming up with new ways to a better reality, Elon does the exact opposite. In fact, even the so-called planet-saving Teslas that you drive aren't really all that good for the environment either. There's also the fact that Tesla itself helps off-load environmental responsibility by selling carbon credits to companies to get away with pollution.
And then there's the cybertruck, which is an unspeakably bad abomination from top to bottom that looks like cyberpunk's aborted fetus more than anything. Hailed as paving the way for the future, this thing brings more cyberpain than anything.
If this is cyberpunk, then we have a lot to worry about in the near future. There's no real reason for any of it to exist outside of making a mockery of itself. Real cyberpunk fiction often explored breaking the so-called technological limitations of humanity, going forth to show us what we can really do. It's too bad the people with the actual resources and power can't even take note.
The Origins Of Facebook Are Absolutely Idiotic, And It's Helping To Destabilize Democracies Across The World
Next on the list of batshit stupid tech crap is Facebook. Pretty much everybody on the planet uses Facebook nowadays, and it's almost a surrogate stand-in for face to face communication, pun not intended. Which is a lot of power to wield for a company that started as a dumb little Hot or Not ripoff turned democracy destabilizer. Back when Mark Zuckerberg was still nerding it out with other wealthy white men in Harvard, he had the brilliant idea to make an app where other Harvard students could compare female students side by side based on their hotness. Sounds pretty silly and misogynist, right? Mark probably thought so, too, at some point when he did the inevitable rebranding/restructuring of his website into the platform we see today.
Not so fast, though, as all of that may seem innocuous, but keep in mind that Facebook has become something far more than a shadow of its former self. Nowadays, Facebook is actually criticized for being complicit in silencing voices overseas and helping to push along voter suppression. This absolutely flies in the face of what they advocate for free speech and is basically a shallow version of actual cyberpunk values to a significant degree. Whatever happened to free and open discourse on the internet?
Mark Zuckerberg was even taken to court after a federal investigation into these matters. Reality always gets the shitty form of innovators and not the actual drivers of human progress that we actually need. Oh well, perhaps Mark can continue peddling Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue sauce after Facebook's inevitable demise.
Soulless Megacorps Are Extra-State Actors, And Congressmen Have No Idea How They Work
On top of destroying the planet one factory/data farm at a time, most major companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, or Tesla are pretty much not interested in preserving nature or human life at all, much to the expense of the working class. On top of that, they basically act as stand-ins for state puppetry, too, as politicians don't know how any of them work and would rather just let them go on and do whatever they want.
For example, when Facebook was taken to court for a hearing, the Republicans asking the questions focused mainly on a few topics like moderation and the stifling of right-wing voices, but nothing else, like ... how Facebook actively empowers far-right terrorists on a daily basis. Guess if it's white terrorism, Congress is more than willing to give it the side-eye.
Corporations don't need to have a vested interest in anything other than profit, and the people who should actually be in charge of regulating their shenanigans don't know how basic things like the internet actually work. Much like actual cyberpunk, these companies are ruthlessly cold and indifferent to the working class and their suffering. They exert enormous control over many everyday facilities and functions to a disturbingly dystopian degree, and nothing is being done about it.
Companies like Amazon are destroying our planet on a daily basis, and nobody is stopping them. It's almost like the rich are allowed to be powerful, and everyone else just has to sit there and take the eternal boot being stamped on their face. Forever. It's real-life imitating fiction.
Cybernetic Implants Are Dumb And Dorky And Mostly Useless
You know those cool cybernetic implants in cyberpunk stories that allowed people to do things like see through walls or increase their intelligence or physical strength or change their appearance at will? Why hasn't anyone made something like this in real life yet? Oh right, we have; it's just they're all mostly shit.
Neil Harbisson is considered the "world's first cyborg" because of a sensor he had embedded in the back of his skull, which allows him to receive all kinds of sensory information from the world around him, like how colors feel, minor sensations like temperature and wind, and ... that's about it. It's basically almost a glorified GoPro camera that you can't ever remove.
We're all happy for you Neil, and you are absolutely not a cyborg.
Neil himself has some weird hangups, like comparing himself to trans people, which is really weird coming from a cis guy but illustrates an even more baffling point: implants are just lame right now and have no actual function.
And even beyond that, most implants just do ordinary, mundane things like functioning as a pacemaker or an even worse version of Google Glass. This looks a lot less like the future and more like just a bunch of nerds trying to find excuses to drill weird tech into their skulls.
There's a lot of really cool potential for implants, but a lot of it is just being wasted at the moment on stuff that barely replaces everyday items and tools we use day to day. It's not like most of the people using them are even forced to or have their lives made easier by it; they're more like cyberpunk art projects, which is about as punk as The Big Bang Theory.