Welcome to my little space in cyberspace! A short introduction and some thoughts on high tech and low life. So, as you can see, I have my first column.
Welcome to my little space in cyberspace! A short introduction and some thoughts on high tech and low life.
So, as you can see, I have my first column. Cool, huh? This all feels funny since I’m a painter and yet here I am, writing geeky sci-fi reviews, instead of working my ass off by the easel – all serious, deep and bohemian. But believe it or not, these reviews and my job are related – they are fed with my love of sci-fi. And now, I get a whole column, so I can’t help but wonder – is this how you get to be considered an intellectual?
As I’m a cyberpunk exploring transhumanism, I thought I’d talk about that for a bit, or at least scratch the surface. So prepare your neural interfaces my soon-to-be post-humans, we’re heading for…eeerrmm…upgrades!
So. Where does this interest for cyberpunk come from?
Well, first thing’s first: let’s talk about bio-tech. We humans are quite self obsessed, so it’s a logical point to start from. Cyberpunk’s idea of a human appearance with tubes, wires, plugs and implants is, and looks, awesome, but there’s more to it than it seems. From the ideas of the fathers of cyberpunk’s literary genre, to films and fashion, this appearance is dark, spooky, aggressive/invasive and, all in all, a bit weird. It grasps your attention fully. The implants are here to show you some kind of technological intervention on the body, with a goal of making it better than it is – a body upgrade, like on a computer. In that reality you can practically bio-hack your physical self, update it and then tweak it a bit.
And that leads us to the next question – why would anyone want to do that to themselves?! Why change the predispositions you are born with? Could it be like Arnie said, taken out of context, in The Terminator 2; “It’s in your nature to destroy yourselves”? Maybe – by part at least. But not all of us are born with the bodies we want. Not all of us are healthy. It’s in the human nature to strive for better things. These are our general human goals – at least, they are in today’s society, where we are used to getting most of the stuff we want. And this brings us to transhumanism <insert dramatic keyboard sound>. It’s a futuristic movement and belief supporting our “technological evolution”. It was, in fact, inspired by science fiction. In extreme cases, transhumanism stands for the idea of merging with technology to the point where you rid yourself of your biological body, and in turn abandoning all diseases, physical pain, and furthermore, emotional pain. Oh yeah, and prolonging your life indefinitely. The bliss achieved through science and technology, expanding the limits of our bodies and senses, and all in all, expanding our existence in every way possible. Intellect included.
All these things raise the same questions: Is this OK? Would we be considered human after all of these changes? Well, we would have to really clarify our definitions of the terms alive, humane, artificial, and a lot more. But it’s interesting, right? Everything is very debatable here.
Cyberpunk is basically the most pessimistic side of a transhuman future. And all the cool and scary stuff imagined in the 1980s is real today. We are living in a cyberpunk world. We’ve got the internet, hackers, various transplantations and implantations have been around for decades, arts are changing dramatically, we have lots of different A.I.’s, robots, holograms, we are working on downloading our memories, cyber warfare is giving birth to a whole new generation of hacktivists, and a whole new politics of war… The list goes on. It looks quite revolutionary. So this is why I, for example, love the “high tech – low life” concept. It’s the reinvention of our once known concepts and beliefs, the possible reinvention of self via something external and non-spiritual. What do you think, would you change yourself by your design? And why?