I talk a bit about a passion of mine: Cyberpunk, why I find it interesting and what I've learned from it.
I don’t know why but it always had a huge effect on me. Everytime I saw the visuals within cyberpunk genre I was enarmoured by them.
The cybernetics, the prospect of technology being so advanced it is integrated within humanity, it all really captivated me.
What is cyberpunk exactly?
It’s a combination of low-life and high tech featuring advanced technological and scientific achievements. It is usually set in a near-future earth setting, where the people live in a post-industrial dystopia.
What makes it even more interesting is that in that world humans cling more to the “natural”, they care more about a real tree than their digitally (and also great looking) tree. In that world the prospect of the old world becomes way more interesting, so much so that there are entire groups dedicated to keeping humans as “human” possible.
You also have the flipside because of the advancement of technology, you don’t have to leave your house anymore to experience anything at all. If you have the money every type of service is purchaseable.
As a designer looking at the cyberpunk world I see a lot of interesting applications of interactions humans and others can have with each other, but also with objects.
- The ONI in Altered Carbon: basically an eye-lens on steriods. You can connect to the internet with it, call people, anything.
- A touch table in Carole & Tuesday: it’s a flat surface which people can interact with to order their food.
- Deep dive in Ghost in the Shell: when deep diving your digital consciousness jumps into another body, with this you are able to retrieve information from a person or create new information for them.
Cyberpunk helps me to dream big when it comes to designing experiences, and it’s applications could be near infinite. But what I do know is that we should learn from these pieces of media, they have an interesting aspect but they are still a grim reminder of the dangers that technology hold.
Being able to wipe or even change memories, hacking people, getting addicted to virtual worlds, bigger cliff between the rich and the poor, a post industrialized world where nature has been compromised so much that we need technology only to breathe, and so much more negative aspects to it.
I see at times that the ethical part of design gets forgotten, and the line we set gets farther and farther away from us as we live on.
Let’s hope that we have a future where we don’t neglect the issues within society.
In the next post I will go more in depth about the interfaces, and why I find them interesting.