Cyberpunk: Hacker as Hero


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An introduction to the Sci-Fi subgenre Cyberpunk and the analysis of how it portrays its protagonist and its sociopolitical themes.

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  • -introduce you to the scifi subgenre known as cyberpunk-analyse its typical protagonist, the hacker, and what the entire genre is really about
  • Cyberpunk is basically a postmodern science fiction genre. As the term implies, it is basically cybernetics and punk.Set in the near future, not like star wars or star trek and the like. Cybernetics meaning things like robotic enhancement or intelligent AI or robots.Punk would mean the main characters, generally hackers or misfits or generally punks.These are ordinary humans, not like superman or jedi knights, forced into a problem by megacorporations.Cyberpunk films are very much like film noirs in comparision.
  • -dystopian style world-technology, the internet is everywhere-corporations have grown tremendously in power, while governments grow weak and corrupt
  • -aesthetic style: dirty, gritty environmentsstrong contrast between light and dark usually has one dominant colour in its color scheme, e.g. green in the matrix, orange in deus ex 3 and blade runner-musical style: electronic, jazz, conveying sense of loneliness and melancholy
  • -protagonists are usually hackers or social outcasts of some form, with a vigilante mentality, takes justice into their own hands-find themselves being bullied and forced into complex situations by the corporations and governments they oppose-in the end, they remain outcasts, even after whatever heroics they have achieved
  • Blade Runner was based on Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep?The Matrix was heavily influenced by Ghost in the ShellNeuromancer was by William GibsonDo Androids… was by Philip K. DickDeus Ex is an FPS RPG series, 3rd game coming this Aug 23.Uplink is a hacking simulation game.
  • -intro ben
  • -Cyberpunk depicts a near future-often dystopia-feature corrupt orwellian governments-spy on people, lack of privacy, heavy censorship-large all powerful multinational corporations-no concern for ethics, exploiting workers, invasive advertising-loss of individuality from overpopulation, dehumanization from censorship, lack of privacy, invasive modification of the human body
  • -extrapolation of the modern real world and the issues of globalization-people are treated as docile consumers rather than individuals-governments are corrupted, ineffective, oppressive-corporations grow massively, wield huge amount of power and influence over governments-vision of what our world might be if such issues are not resolved
  • -that’s where technology comes in-technology is now used by these governments and corporations for evil-tech is used to spy, to censor, to advertise, to control
  • -a common misconception of cyberpunk is that it is luddite in nature, anti-technology-not true-cyberpunk is the recognition of technology as a tool-whoever controls technology wields tremendous influence-these orwellian governments and corporations are the ones controlling technology, monopoly over it
  • -that’s where the hacker comes in.-cyberpunk tends to feature a hacker or an investigator or something along those lines as a protagonist
  • -he is often the everyman, an ordinary fella just like any of us-he is often NOT an highly skilled government agent, or a highly placed corporate executive/employee
  • -the hacker, perceiving injustice, sets out to use his skills to reclaim technology from the corporate and political giants-the hacker starts a quiet revolution, stealing back technology for the common good and holding corporations and governments accountable for their actions.
  • -essentially, the hacker is the modern robin hood. Instead of stealing money from the rich to give to the poor, he steals back technology. He steals back control and power and distributes it justly.-recognition that illegal does not mean unethical.
  • -Cyberpunk is the depiction of how ordinary people can be empowered by Technology to reclaim democracy in an increasingly oppressive world.It is in fact a hopeful genre, depicting how ordinary citizens can create true democracy in an increasingly undemocratic world through the power of technology.-real world parallels today, how twitter and facebook were used to organize protests in Tunisia and Egypt-hacker collectives fight back against anti-filesharing lobbyists
  • -case study: japanese anime series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone complexbased on the acclaimed ghost in the shell manga series by shirowmasamune
  • a depiction of the near future in japan,2030. internet is ubiquitous. Cybernetics, are commonplace. Nearly everyone has cybernetically enhanced brains. Follows a spec ops task force called section 9.
  • -we are introduced to the laughing man, a master hacker who kidnaps and blackmails a pharmaceutical company executive on live tv.with the assistance of the laughing man,
  • section 9 discover that these pharmaceutical corps are conspiring with various politicians to suppress a new form of treatment for the fictional disease cyberbrainsclerosis and promote their own ineffective treatment and profit from it.characteristic cyberpunk story, ordinary person uses technology illegally to fight back corporate and governmental injustice.
  • As the series goes on, there is a phenomena of ppl pretending to be the laughing man, forming their own protests and ‘hacktivist’ actions. To the point where we don’t know who is the real laughing man. The laughing man is in essence a collective. Everyone can be a laughing man. Essence of what cyberpunk is about. Ordinary people fighting back w/ technology.There’s a real world example of this phenomena.
  • Anonymous, a loose collective of individuals who operate under the anonymous banner to protest and fight against perceived injustice. Fight against antipiracy lobbyist, against scientology, etc.
  • In essence, cyberpunk is the modern robin hood tale. A foretelling of what our world might become, and how we can fight back.
  • Cyberpunk: Hacker as Hero

    1. 1. Hacker<br />As<br />Hero<br />Benedict Lee<br />Joel Teo<br />
    2. 2. Cyberpunk<br />Postmodern Science Fiction genre<br />Cybernetic Punk (Cyborgs, AI)<br />An ordinary guy forced into difficult situations by mega-corporations/corrupt governments<br />Highly influenced by Film Noir<br />
    3. 3. Characteristics of Cyberpunk<br />Giant, multinational corporations replace governments as centers of political, economic and sometimes military power.<br />Tend to use elements of film noir<br />World is a dark sinister place<br />Networked computers running every aspect of life<br />
    4. 4. Aesthetic Style<br />Dirty, Gritty Environments<br />Contrast between Light and Dark<br />Distinctive Colour Scheme<br />Jazz and Electronic Music<br />
    5. 5. Character Characteristics<br />Protagonists are usually computer hackers with a vigilante mentality (alone, fights for justice)<br />Are usually manipulated, forced into situations where they have no choice<br />Even if they see things through, their status would be the same as before they were involved.<br />
    6. 6. The Accomplice<br />Usually highly skilled at hacking/combat, usually more skilled than the protagonist.<br />Usually also develops a romance with the protagonist.<br />Examples<br />Trinity (Matrix)<br />Batou(Ghost in the Shell)<br />Molly (Neuromancer)<br />
    7. 7. The Boss/Mentor<br />Provides the objective to the protagonist.<br />Usually also provides guidance and training.<br />Has strong organizational/leadership skills compared to the protagonist.<br />Examples<br />Morpheus (Matrix)<br />Aramaki (Ghost in the Shell)<br />David Sarif (Deus Ex 3)<br />
    8. 8. Cyberpunk Examples<br />Films<br />Blade Runner<br />The Matrix<br />Anime<br />Ghost in the Shell<br />Akira<br />Literature<br />Neuromancer<br />Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?<br />Videogames<br />Deus Ex<br />Uplink<br />
    9. 9. Analysis<br />
    10. 10. The Plausible<br /> Dystopia<br />Corrupt Governments<br />Monopolistic Corporations<br />Loss of Individuality<br />
    11. 11. The Real<br />World<br />CONSUMERISM<br />CORRUPTION<br />POWER<br />
    12. 12.
    13. 13. Technology is<br />A Tool<br />Control Technology,<br />Control the World<br />
    14. 14. HACKER<br />
    15. 15. The Everyman<br />
    16. 16. Reclaiming<br />Technology<br />
    17. 17. The Modern<br />Robin Hood<br />
    18. 18. Cyberpunk is the depiction of how ordinary people can be empowered by Technology to reclaim democracy in an increasingly oppressive world.<br />
    19. 19. Case Study<br />
    20. 20.
    21. 21.
    22. 22. fCyberbrain Sclerosis<br />
    23. 23.
    24. 24.
    25. 25. Cyberpunk:<br />The Modern Robin <br />Hood Tale<br />Benedict Lee<br />Joel Teo<br />