Thursday, February 7, 2008

Jumping Head-First Into A New World

First off: Charles, you are my hero. Not many people can appreciate something like Rez... Maybe I’ll bring it to section sometime.

These past few days have been, to say the least, interesting. Like many of you, Digital Media is my first foray into the MCM department, but strangely, I’m not a concentrator in the topic – not even in the humanities. As of right now I’m prospectiviely pre-dental / AB Biology / Econ – indeed, “one is not enough.” Consequently, I have never really forayed deeply into many of the topics covered in class – had I come upon them, I would notice a connection, become slightly amused, then simply move on. Now I have an outlet for my digital musings, my cyberpunk interests. Things I’ve noticed have been confirmed – and things I once glossed over have become apparent to me in ways previously unimaginable.

Take our foray into the world of pre-cyberspace literature. “As We May Think” and Neuromancer are almost eerily accurate in their depictions of human progress. Highly globalized, increasingly diverse, and astoundingly connected, it feels like our world today – the world predicted by Bush & Gibson – is soon to reach the singularity predicted by Moore’s law: a technological explosion.

What can be said about cyberspace? It’s not the graphically intense fantasy world that Gibson portrayed. Oddly enough, it seems so – real. The world wide web has become a window to the outside world for countless individuals. Modern-day computer and video games lie not in the realm of stylized sci-fi, but in realistic portrayals of battlefields, cities, and stadiums. Worlds. Virtual worlds…

Is this “world” really outside of our own? “The Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” says it’s not. But is it really? What started as Memex, a glean in Vannavear Bush’s eye, to the rise of ARPANET (a US Government program), became something that, in all honesty, I’m not sure has a central hub anymore.

It may sound like I’m just ranting and speculating but in all honesty I can’t recall everything. Media theory is a strange, incomprehensible language for me right now; I think I’ll get a grasp of it, but I can be sure of one thing. This world has definitely changed. Are we really headed for a “cyborg future” described by Harroway? A “world without gender,… without genesis… without end?” Is technology really taking us in that direction? Time will tell.

P.S. If you wanna explore this further, take a look at the anime series “Serial Experiments Lain.” Cyberspace in its world is akin to a Neuromancer GUI, and it takes the concept of a Deus Ex Machina – a “God in the machine” (of cyberspace) – to a new extreme.

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