After the subject came up in my writing class it did prompt a question for me however, why do I like it so much. For a while I worried that it was something purely aesthetic or a childish love of the concept of elite hackers ruling the future. The fallacy of nerd supremacy. I googled the word Cyberpunk and was shown shirts emblazoned with badly drawn cyborg anime women, corporation logos from card games set in that universe. Nothing that struck a chord, nothing that explained to me why it made me feel it does.
Walking home today from my job, meager rations stashed under my arm it came to me. The huge faceless corporations, the desperate hackers, the bleak hopeless backdrop. It's struggle, that resonates with me, I love that idea of conflict, people living by their wits. Surviving, adapting.
But there's more to it than that, cyberspace in Cyberpunk is a new frontier. An uncontrolled country, constantly changing. Corporations seek to manipulate it, control and normalize it until it's theirs. But frontiers can't belong to the old guard, unmapped and chaotic it goes to who understands it best. But this isn't the wild west, men do not live in Cyperspace and never can. Only their mind can travel there.
And the corporations will win, humanity will forever grind itself into miserable dust as hackers follow their own goals, watching the world burn, watching their ideals pursued, watching their bank balances grow. It's hopeless to expect anything but a few fleeting moments of escape from reality.
But something is growing in cyberspace, not hope, at least not in the conventional sense. As technology advances, as research is pursued in an attempt to gain some ground, to compete in a new limitless frontier a concept is forever skirted, an elephant in the room. A face in that world that it is forbidden to look at, though you know it's there. Watching. Waiting.
The AI, a man's mind without the body. A being of pure logic unfettered by our weaknesses grows, incubated by our greatest feats of engineering and science. Brought into being by our lust for knowledge for knowledge's sake, AI is the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden that we are destined to bite because our hunger exceeds the garden limits. AI is that which will judge us, destroy us and set us free.
And that, I realized as I walked home from my job, is why I like Cyberpunk.