1984 or Neuromancer? Where are we headed?

Lambourne

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It won't really matter if it's the government or the corporations, it's about time for religious zealotry to take over again. The West will turn into the Eco-caliphate because the younger generations have all been indoctrinated with the Green Religion, which demands total obedience to its way of life from all, politician or member of the board alike.

This is London this morning. Hundreds of people blocking the streets because, according to them, we don't do enough about the climate yet. None of these people actually know anything, they've just been told over and over about how the world will end if we don't live our lives according to the green version of the Ten Commandments. Riot police has to be used to control the faithful.

Now, these protests definitely have some NGO behind them because similar protests were organized at the same time in other countries. But much like a biological weapon, I think it's likely to mutate and slip beyond anyone's control eventually.

Maybe climate change is real, maybe it's not. Objective truth doesn't matter for the choking grip of religion to be felt on society once more. All religions stifle free thought and with it, technological and societal progress. Meanwhile, China does not have this albatross around its neck and will zoom right past the US (and even the West as a whole) and become the superpower of the second half of this century.

 

chthonic-anemos

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Mist

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I need to read Neuromancer, it seems.

Until then, 1984 paints the scariest picture that I have ever been witness to. I consider it to be the scariest novel I've ever read. It's doubly scary because not only is 1984 a realistic outcome (unlike say 'Brave New World' or 'Minority Report' which require significant technological advancements in order to become fully real), it's an outcome that has been achieved already. Several times in fact.

Contrary to popular belief 1984 wasn't a warning of what was to come, it was a warning to everyone else about what had already happened. Reading 1984 and knowing that 'this has already happened in human history' is literally terrifying. Not even the Caliphate scares me as much as the The Party. At least, for what it's worth, the Caliphate sees itself as subservient to a higher power. The Party on the other hand is power. Not metaphysical power, but actual psychological and physical real-world power practiced in its most brutal form.

So to that end, without having yet read Neuromancer, I definitely think 1984 is a very real outcome. America is supposed to be the thing that can stand up to the world of 1984, but if we fall prey to it then all hope is lost the world over. If America fell victim to it then I think the world would enter a millennium-long dark age. And when I see Antifa, all I see is 1000 years of Big Brother and the Thought-Police.

"From the age of Big Brother. From the age of the Thought-Police. From a dead man. Greetings."
I'd say we're already well on our way to the future described in Brave New World or The Time Machine.

Traditional cyberpunk relies on the breakdown of the nationstate, politically, economically and also culturally, and the rise of corporations as the only powerful entities. Maybe 10 or 20 years ago this sounded like it made sense but corporations just don't last long enough at their height to accumulate the kind of lasting, permanent power that this would require.
 

Arbitrary

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I really like 1984 but it's a goddamn logistical nightmare. Reading the Gulag Archipelago it's really obvious that Orwell was just writing about the USSR anyway. Orwell thought it would all fall apart and yeah it all fell apart. A society of pathological liars isn't going to be stomping anyone's anything forever.

I'm a Brave New World kinda guy. Just engineering a caste system where you also include an engineered desire/love to hold that caste position in people while everyone gets high and fucks a lot is going to work way better unless you've got a sentient god-like AI behind the scenes running all the numbers to make the trains run on time in 1984. We start getting some of those it's time to start/join AI cults anyway.

Is that an option? A dystopia in which AI are worshiped as gods? That's gotta be even money if I have to bet.
 

iannis

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I really like 1984 but it's a goddamn logistical nightmare. Reading the Gulag Archipelago it's really obvious that Orwell was just writing about the USSR anyway. Orwell thought it would all fall apart and yeah it all fell apart. A society of pathological liars isn't going to be stomping anyone's anything forever.

I'm a Brave New World kinda guy. Just engineering a caste system where you also include an engineered desire/love to hold that caste position in people while everyone gets high and fucks a lot is going to work way better unless you've got a sentient god-like AI behind the scenes running all the numbers to make the trains run on time in 1984. We start getting some of those it's time to start/join AI cults anyway.

Is that an option? A dystopia in which AI are worshiped as gods? That's gotta be even money if I have to bet.
1984 is terrifyingly tight. But it does seem to me that it is not self sustaining or self sustainable. All the arguments to the contrary come from obrien in the text, and those should probably be viewed as subjective propaganda rather than objective fact.

Eventually you run out of proles to convert no matter how rigid your fanaticism or complete your control of language. Especially as what is presented is a cannibalistic power structure. It's Stalin painting people out of pictures.

But, the span of time for that to happen can be many generations and great misery can fill the space.

Brave New world accounts for that with cloning and nuclear power.
 
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Borzak

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The one thing that 1984 struck me is how the government "big brother" took over everything and worked to get all the details by spying on you non stop. The one thing they missed in that is they don't have to dig now. Lot of it willingly handed over at every turn for the convenience and coolness of new toys that gather data left and right. Posted an article last week in the guns thread, pics of guns uploaded to facebook you can now search by serial number and they catalog the guns. Who owns it, the S/N, where you live and such. In some ways the public is gaga enough to pay for the privelage of handing over their info instead of charging for it.

Somewhere there is a database that contains everything or nearly everything about you. From what you buy, what you read, where you go, if you're female when your time of the month is, your schedule, where you shop, and probably down to how long you look at a news article before moving on.
 

Bandwagon

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I was going to flog you for posting something so obviously troll-y....
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But I don't even know anymore




 

Mist

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Is that an option? A dystopia in which AI are worshiped as gods? That's gotta be even money if I have to bet.
This is a somewhat realistic scenario if you talk to leading AI experts.

Not so much worshiped as a god, but just algorithms operating beyond mortal understanding. The more and more AI comes to manage the infrastructure of society, the less and less humans will understand the world they live in. We'll revert to what we used to be, clueless idiots wandering around in a world that operates on forces we don't control or understand.

But maybe outright worship goes right along with that. Humans seem to be programmed to want to worship something.
 

ZyyzYzzy

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This is a somewhat realistic scenario if you talk to leading AI experts.

Not so much worshiped as a god, but just algorithms operating beyond mortal understanding. The more and more AI comes to manage the infrastructure of society, the less and less humans will understand the world they live in. We'll revert to what we used to be, clueless idiots wandering around in a world that operates on forces we don't control or understand.

But maybe outright worship goes right along with that. Humans seem to be programmed to want to worship something.
Everyone operates like that now anyway. I have no idea how my local dump manages garbage disposal, but they do. They have no idea how to develop a diagnostic assay for a pathogen, but I do.

Hell i need to ping you to reset my fucking voicemail pin for the 80th fucking time because God forbid I'm allowed to do it myself.
 

Aaron

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Don't forget Max Max! Some parts of Europe (*cough* Sweden *cough*) are starting to look like Mad Max what with all the grenade attacks and shit.

But the key here is population increase. The higher the population is the more control you need to keep everything running smoothly and to prevent - or at least have rules - people from stepping too much on each others toes. A lot of the sci-fi from the 50s predicted this, such as Asimov's The Caves of Steel. There, you have a planet that is so full of people that it becomes highly regimented. Just to feed everyone means that the lower casts just eat some sort of a kelp based diet (environmental vegans, anyone?) while the main character is high enough up to get REAL chicken once a week or so. And that is in a high-IQ logic based society that the types like Asimov thought of. In our mid to low-IQ future with a shit ton of "religion" whatever form it may take (Islam, Veganism, Climate doomers...) you'll have people going for less optimal approaches that end up causing even more pain, or forcing people to adapt to something that they don't want.

It's going to be a real shit show. Thank god I'll hopefully be dead by then lol.
 

Sanrith Descartes

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Speaking of proper dystopian future movies, why with all the crap movies getting made have we not seen a Neuromancer film made? All we got was that schlocky low budget Johnny Nnemonic .
 

Sadre Spinegnawer

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Well, it is clear the super wealthy want to become Tessier-Ashpools who live in their own private Villa Straylights, high above us in cloud cities or lagrangian orbit or something. But that only describes maybe what the future will look like for 1 or 2 thousand people. That still leaves open, the question of what will become of the ~10 billion that will remain.

I would suggest, the future is neither 1984 or Neuromancer, but rather TOS "The Cloud Minders"

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