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Order 66

Cyberpunk

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Order 66 said:

 Looking forward to this wonderful game… Is it just me or it has pretty similar things to the "Epic" Ghost in the Shell universe?

 

Some similarities in the visual style, perhaps, but I'd say William Gibson's Sprawl universe is a more central influence (it invented the whole Cyberspace Hacker archetype). 

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 The interesting thing about Cyberpunk is how many different people build on and influence the style, while also borrowing from other sci-fi subgenres.

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With the whole hacker vs. corporation thing, I'm really reminded of Shadowrun, too. There's hackers called "deckers" (3rd edition source books, that is) in there who can run against a corporation's network, too, and encounter ICE and whatnot. They're called "hackers" in 4th edition source books.

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It's a big grand collection of influences.  Cyberpunk 2020 RPG was the influence on the original Netrunner CCG, with Shadowrun originally coming onto the scene just after that game originally published.  Both games borrowed ideas and concepts from Gibson, and Gibson was one of the more popular writers in the Cyberpunk genre that started in the late 70s to early 80s.  Cyberpunk writing was an attempt to try new concepts in sci-fi and modern literature, with Philip K. **** having been cited as an influence on many of those original writers.  All of these in turn inspired works by Masamune Shiro, who brought the cyberpunk and transhumanism themes to Japanese manga literature.

And as tech changed in attempts to fulfill or improve on the predictions of many of these writers, the writers in turn adjusted and rethought new ideas to explore, diverging away from their original inspirations or borrowing some influences from new venues.  Today's "cyberpunk" is a much much different vision than the predictions of "Fax Jockies" or urban assault pizza delivery drivers, delving into some areas those original writers never thought to examine.  We're always going to see echoes of what's come before, especially when we're talking about material written into a game.

 

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What I really like about transhumanism is that it isn’t fantasy, but a far-looking aesthetic based on real technologies. Whether or not you’re a Transhumanist, future society and all of the potential it brings does seem exciting. Now as Masamune Shirow suggested in Ghost in the Shell, particular Man/Machine Interface, all we need is a box that keeps our brain working long enough for a cyborg transplant…. babeo.gif

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Order 66 said:

What I really like about transhumanism is that it isn’t fantasy, but a far-looking aesthetic based on real technologies.

I would like to counter that, a lot of transhumanism is pure fantasy for near future like all powerful nanotechnology, mind uploads, artificial intelligence etc. Two prominent transhumanist authors Warren Ellis and Charles Stross have stated that their fiction is just that and realistically the immediate future will probably unfold differently. Our understanding of intelligence, human brains, nanotechnology and superconductivity is superficial at best. More likely technology will take more unexpected turns than today's science fiction can predict.

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 I think his point was more on the order of Dragons and Magic are fantasy, transhumanist elements in fiction are based on real science, admittedly pushed far beyond our current capabilities, and frequently understanding. But we have molecular organic computers. We have brain/machine interfaces. We have mechanical limbs and bipedal robots. We can do ocular and cochlear implants to give vision and hearing to those without. Taking these things and flinging them 20-50 years in the future and given the rate technology is jumping isn't fantasy.

Hell we have 3D printers that can produce organic matter to create arteries and tissue. Hello Jinteki.

Jus because we don't have fully vat grown clones that we can program, nor implanted computers that let our eyes combine a suped-up version of Google Glasses with Google Goggles doesn't mean we won't get there in a VERY short period of time.

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Penfold said:

 I think his point was more on the order of Dragons and Magic are fantasy, transhumanist elements in fiction are based on real science, admittedly pushed far beyond our current capabilities, and frequently understanding. But we have molecular organic computers. We have brain/machine interfaces. We have mechanical limbs and bipedal robots. We can do ocular and cochlear implants to give vision and hearing to those without. Taking these things and flinging them 20-50 years in the future and given the rate technology is jumping isn't fantasy.

Hell we have 3D printers that can produce organic matter to create arteries and tissue. Hello Jinteki.

Jus because we don't have fully vat grown clones that we can program, nor implanted computers that let our eyes combine a suped-up version of Google Glasses with Google Goggles doesn't mean we won't get there in a VERY short period of time.

That's exactly my point Penfold aplauso.gif Glad to hear someone understood it!

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Penfold said:

 I think his point was more on the order of Dragons and Magic are fantasy, transhumanist elements in fiction are based on real science, admittedly pushed far beyond our current capabilities, and frequently understanding.

I understood the point transhumanism being more realistic scifi than other sub genres before it. Cyberpunk might have been cutting edge back at the 80s but nowadays its troupes are as outdated as scifi from the 60s. The point I am trying to make is that I do not believe transhumanism has gotten "it" anymore right than preceding fiction.

Penfold said:

But we have molecular organic computers. We have brain/machine interfaces. We have mechanical limbs and bipedal robots. We can do ocular and cochlear implants to give vision and hearing to those without. Taking these things and flinging them 20-50 years in the future and given the rate technology is jumping isn't fantasy.

Information and biotechnology will take giant leaps in the coming years, but some scifi ideas are more difficult to produce than others. On the other hand scifi has traditionally been pretty bad at predicting actual world changing innovations (computers, internet, cheap transportation). A while back anti-gravity boots and handheld global positioning device might have been seen as inventions from roughly the same era (Traveller RPG). While today the latter will play music, show videos, host games etc, the former is nowhere closer than before. People do not appreciate how difficult it is to produce something like mind uploads (we are still not able to picture brain with necessary resolution to map thoughts), nanotechnology (it might show promise at some point), fusion (we are about as close as we were decades ago if you believe the hype) or artificial intelligence (what is intelligence anyway). 50 years is very little when we have only scratched the surface.

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 But now you are all over the place in your statements. We were talking about transhumanists in science fiction. Lets set aside gravity boots and gps. 

All the things I put forward are fact. While you didn't dispute them it feels like you dismissed them. Transhuminism (from now on referred to as H+) is not about nanotechnology or brain uploading. Both of those certainly can achieve H+ depending on application and development but ocular and cochlear implants exist. H+ is achieved the moment those devices give better vision or hearing than our normal sense organs. If you think that capability is further off than 50 years when in 1986 the first megapixel sensor was created it was at 1.4 megapixels. My phone has an 8 megapixel camera on it. 25 years for a sensor in a widely available consumer product with 5 times the resolution, but high end consumer product is topping out at 57 times that. What is holding us back is the interfacing and there are some serious improvements being made there every single day.

The idea of H+ and the way it is being portrayed by some authors is literally around the corner. Others are things that are so far away from a reality it is best seen as an alternate future rather than a prediction. Of course, SF isn't about predicting the future. SF is about using concepts and questions about science and technology and using those to tell a story about what it means to be human.

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Penfold said:

 But now you are all over the place in your statements. We were talking about transhumanists in science fiction. Lets set aside gravity boots and gps.

The point I was making with those examples was that while something might seem far fetched or easily attainable in the future, future has a way of proving us wrong. While some ideas promoted by transhumanists are quite reasonable, there are countless of predictions that, no matter how believable they were at the time, have not come true like fusion power. In essence I admit I might be wrong with me more pessimistic views, but I seriously doubt transhumanists' ability to augur the future any better than those of past futurists.

Penfold said:

All the things I put forward are fact. While you didn't dispute them it feels like you dismissed them. Transhuminism (from now on referred to as H+) is not about nanotechnology or brain uploading.

I consider these essential for transhumanism as I see it as radical and profound transformation of the human condition. Enhancing ourselves is a step in that direction, but true transhumanism is presented in works like Accelerando by Charles Stross, Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis or the Culture series by Ian M Banks. This include personality forking, uploading one's consciousness into sentient plasma clouds, turning the whole solar system's matter into giant computer to simulate Humanity 2.0 etc. Some of these changes within our expected lifespan and this quick time frame is that I am opposed. Just recently a Russian mogul announced a timetable for immortality by 2045 with mind uploads, and you can find pretty similar statements from other transhumanist daydreamers.

Penfold said:

Of course, SF isn't about predicting the future. SF is about using concepts and questions about science and technology and using those to tell a story about what it means to be human.

Exactly, what irks me how sometimes transhumanists seem to promote their views like religion. Immortality and economical equality for all in our lifetime sounds like the Rapture without Jesus. And I guess that in turn tells us something about the human nature.

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Mikko Leho said:

Penfold said:

 

 But now you are all over the place in your statements. We were talking about transhumanists in science fiction. Lets set aside gravity boots and gps.

 

 

The point I was making with those examples was that while something might seem far fetched or easily attainable in the future, future has a way of proving us wrong. While some ideas promoted by transhumanists are quite reasonable, there are countless of predictions that, no matter how believable they were at the time, have not come true like fusion power. In essence I admit I might be wrong with me more pessimistic views, but I seriously doubt transhumanists' ability to augur the future any better than those of past futurists.

Penfold said:

 

All the things I put forward are fact. While you didn't dispute them it feels like you dismissed them. Transhuminism (from now on referred to as H+) is not about nanotechnology or brain uploading.

 

 

I consider these essential for transhumanism as I see it as radical and profound transformation of the human condition. Enhancing ourselves is a step in that direction, but true transhumanism is presented in works like Accelerando by Charles Stross, Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis or the Culture series by Ian M Banks. This include personality forking, uploading one's consciousness into sentient plasma clouds, turning the whole solar system's matter into giant computer to simulate Humanity 2.0 etc. Some of these changes within our expected lifespan and this quick time frame is that I am opposed. Just recently a Russian mogul announced a timetable for immortality by 2045 with mind uploads, and you can find pretty similar statements from other transhumanist daydreamers.

Penfold said:

 

Of course, SF isn't about predicting the future. SF is about using concepts and questions about science and technology and using those to tell a story about what it means to be human.

 

 

Exactly, what irks me how sometimes transhumanists seem to promote their views like religion. Immortality and economical equality for all in our lifetime sounds like the Rapture without Jesus. And I guess that in turn tells us something about the human nature.

I think you're loosing the point man…

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