After being up for over a year, and having collected so many questionable entries, I thought it was time to announce the winner of the “favorite author” poll and start a new one.
Some 3100 votes were cast, and the man behind Neuromancer gathered nearly 1000 votes, more than 30%. At a distant second was Phillip K. Dick (only 400 for him), with Neil Stephenson taking bronze for his 300 votes.
Now, the next poll is ready to be voted upon, and already has some votes. The question: What do you believe is the most significant contribution to cyberpunk? Some candidates for your consideration:
* Bruce Bethke’s short story, where the word is first used.
* The publication of Neuromancer.
* Blade Runner is released in theatres.
You can vote for one of these, or add an entry that you feel is an important contribution. Just make certain to vote/add because I’m not going to leave this poll running for a year.
In a time and place very similar to the here and now, a new surveillance agency has been created to ensure our perceived safety through mass observation. This easily deployed agency has broken the divide between technology and the humans who monitor it. Their mission is to observe and record the public with an unprecedented efficiency.
The Camerahead Project is presented through the eyes of 10 Camerahead agents, and the images they record. The project not only raises the questions of who is watching who, and who is watching the watchers, but also asks questions of why we are being watched at all.
One of the biggest challenges facing us today is how we can protect our personal rights of basic privacy. We are constantly being tracked, monitored, and recorded by any number of government institutions and corporations at any given time. As the use of technology increases the data about our daily habits and even visual images of who we are becomes more and more accessible by more and more people. We have to keep setting limits to protect our personal liberties before it becomes too late, if it hasn’t already.
Ever get the feeling you’re being watched? It seems not a day goes by where we are reminded that we are living under a microscope on a prison planet, where the eyes of an insane government and their corrupt corporate masters watch us closely, monitoring and cataloging our every action to make certain we are not a threat to their existence… or profits.
As a protest to Seattle’s recent installation of “security” cameras in some parks, a public art project called “The Camerahead Project” was started by Paul Strong Jr. Its mission: To parody the security-surveillance police-state by deploying their own camera-headed agents, “a highly trained elite group of cybernetically enhanced observers using the latest and greatest in modern surveillance technology. Each Camerahead agent has been hand selected and specially modified for their unique ability to monitor the public with a complete disregard for anyone’s personal privacy.”
“My favorite tunes? Well, there’s ‘I Am A Camera’ by The Buggles, ‘Eye In The Sky’ by the Parsons Project, … Rockwell’s ‘Somebody’s Watching Me’…
Camerahead agents wanted. The Project is looking for agents to help the cause in three different ways: Donate some $ to the Project, support your local ACLU chapter (or national equivalent for those outside the UPSA), or by ordering the uber-high tech camerahead system when it becomes available for your own surveillance, although you may be able to glean enough from the Project’s site to construct your own cameraheads.
When Zed Shaw lost his V.P. job because Bear Stearns went FUBAR, he found himself with more free time (and severance $$$$$) than he can handle. So now he wants to start a special group for hackers:
This rant is about an idea I have for a group of geeks who fight to keep the art of hacking and invention alive. I want to call it The Freehacker’s Union. I want it to be against business, against the coopting and destruction of geek culture, and for preserving hacking and invention as methods of personal artistic expression.
His profile does make him sound like a dick, but he seems to have the tech ability to back it up. Plus his idea of a hacking group devoid of the co-opting that businesses and crime groups are now doing has to be good news for old-school hacker purists.
Really, what’s his motivation? “This town needs an enema,” proclaims Zed as he describes the New York City hacking scene being co-opted and corrupted. He remembers when hacking was for the adventurous, not venture capitalists:
Then it hit me, it’s the business that’s killing tech in this city. The business of technology in New York values douchebag asswipes and “idea guys” over the real people who built this world. Their ideas are shit, but because they have an MBA from Columbia (they didn’t do much to earn) they are listened to and valuable. Me and the other hackers are just tools, cogs, and slave labor designed to be subservient to a real man’s passions.
The problem is, because none of these dicks do anything they don’t know what’s a real technically challenging innovation. They would rather try to make a little bit of money making a slightly better version of whatever everyone else is making. They want the lottery tickets and the fast payout where they take all the fucking money and trade the geeks over to Google or Microsoft like some fucking slave exchange.
Zed’s rules of The Freehacker’s Union:
I want the rules of The Freehacker’s Union to be:
1. If it’s art, wires, or code you can bring it. This will be our triad: art/wires/code. Remember it.
2. NO FUCKING BUSINESS ASSHOLES This isn’t your personal fucking recruiting station. Take your “game changing” ideas and fuck the hell off.
3. If you can’t sling at least one of the three in the A/W/C triad then you can’t come. No exceptions.
4. Everyone who attends has to eventually show something. If it’s your first night, you have to present something. It can be anything, but you gotta show that you belong. If you can’t then you can’t come back until you can. For those who absolutely can’t talk in front of people, you can get someone to show your stuff on your behalf.
5. No girlfriends or boyfriends unless they’re hardcore too. Keep your fucking groupies at home.
6. Organized using simple software that’s open. No special hidden jabber servers, no yahoo groups, no fucking evite or someone’s favorite latest startup website. Just a simple mailing list, a website anyone can manage, and maybe a channel on IRC.
7. Frequent meetings at a regular time and spot. I like twice a month, but hell if people can handle more then I want to do it.
8. Clear guidelines on how to become a member, including the benefits and responsibilities.
Other than that, I’m open to suggestions. I’m going to be doing more writing on this subject, and coming up with ideas with friends, and then I’ll announce our first meeting. If you have thoughts, or you want to attend, then let me know.
If you’re an Alpha Biz Guy then fuck off. I don’t want to hear about how you can kick my ass and how I’m never going to get hired again.
I don’t give a fuck about you, I just want to hack and you’re fucking that up for me.
I just stumbled across what I believe is the first poster for the upcoming adaptation of Gibson’s awesome novel Neuromancer, and while I love the looks of it, I still wonder if ANYONE could pull of even a remote interpretation of this?
I do have to wonder if this is for real since QE doesn’t mention where he found the poster, and QE also refers to Case as “Cage” in his description of the movie. Still, the poster… IF it’s for real… does show promise.
NOTE: This is an enlarged version of the JPEG from Quiet Earth.
6 kindofbrandnew cyberpunk-twisted tracks. At first I tried to make the music sound like Blade Runner or Deus Ex but I failed hard at that, so I made my own musical take on the cyberpunk style. There’s a little bit of industrial, a little bit of breaks, doused in ambient and then downsampled to hell, as usual.
Ambient - No lyrics on how to hijack NSAT&T with a buffer overflow worm or what it feels like to surrender flesh to silicon and steel. Just some background music for reading Neuromancer or Altered Carbon, or for playing your favorite cyberpunk mod for whatever game you’re playing right now.
As you can see in this YouTube video of “Evaporative Air Coolers,” OverCoat used a music tracker program to create his works.
Being an EP, it’s a short but sweet bit of work, and it does sound like OverCoat has the general idea of cyberpunk. At least, the price is good. Maybe if he spent some time here to learn more about cyberpunk…
Best advice: Download it and see if it’s ambient enough for your favorite books and games. I’m going to try it by burning a CD.
The University of Reading’s robot and its “brain”; Cultured neurons in a multi-electrode array (MEA) with electrodes for communication between the neurons and the robot body.
In what has to be a ground-breaking event, the University of Reading’s (UK) Cybernetic Intelligence Research Group (CIRG) have constructed a robot that has an organic “brain” made of cultured neurons. Control of the robot is done completly from the brain, WITHOUT HUMAN INPUT.
The project is, surprisingly, not about creating a race of cyborgs:
This cutting edge research is the first step to examine how memories manifest themselves in the brain, and how a brain stores specific pieces of data. The key aim is that eventually this will lead to a better understanding of development and of diseases and disorders which affect the brain such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, stoke and brain injury.
So, no robot/cyborg overlords. Not just yet… The main goal of the brain-bot is to study how the brain works in terms of memory storage. Of course, that doesn’t mean other applications are not possible:
(From Roland Piquepaille, ZDNet) The area of focus is notably the use of electrode technology, where a connection is made directly with the cerebral cortex and/or nervous system. The presentation will consider the future in which robots have biological, or part-biological, brains and in which neural implants link the human nervous system bi-directionally with technology and the internet.
There’s also this video (a 95MB video) about the bot and a couple of its creators (I’ll be checking it out when I have some time).
UPDATE: It looks like the video link above has “expired,” so here’s a video from New Scientist showing the bot in action:
Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig has learned from a reliable source - former government Counter Terrorism Czar Richard Clarke - that a Virtual Patriot Act, or “i-Patriot Act” as they call it, is already drawn up in response to an event yet to happen - a large-scale attack on/involving/using the Internet:
There’s going to be an i-9/11 event. Which doesn’t necessarily mean an Al Qaeda attack, it means an event where the instability or the insecurity of the internet becomes manifest during a malicious event which then inspires the government into a response. You’ve got to remember that after 9/11 the government drew up the Patriot Act within 20 days and it was passed.
The Patriot Act is huge and I remember someone asking a Justice Department official how did they write such a large statute so quickly, and of course the answer was that it has been sitting in the drawers of the Justice Department for the last 20 years waiting for the event where they would pull it out.
Of course, the Patriot Act is filled with all sorts of insanity about changing the way civil rights are protected, or not protected in this instance. So I was having dinner with Richard Clarke and I asked him if there is an equivalent, is there an i-Patriot Act just sitting waiting for some substantial event as an excuse to radically change the way the internet works. He said “of course there is … and Vint Cerf is NOT going to like it very much.”
That line about Vint Cerf was from the video on the sites, where Lessig drops the i-bomb around the 4:30 mark. Here’s an excerpt of the i-9/11 reference:
Another Version of the Truth. With the presidential elections coming up in the US there have been “warnings” about possible “terrorist attacks” possibly to influence the election (see this article from Bloomberg), so don’t be surprised to hear about hackers causing blackouts or hacking e-voting machines on election day. What better excuse to implement the i-Patriot Act, considering how the NSA was reportedly trying to set up a surveillance grid months BEFORE 9/11.
Secret EU security draft risks uproar with call to pool policing and give US personal data: (Guardian.co.uk) As if the US wasn’t satisfied with spying on its own citizens, they also want to spy on EU citizens as well, all under the banner of “achieving a Euro-Atlantic area of cooperation with the United States in the field of freedom, security and justice.”
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
California professor George Ledin doesn’t mind if his students write viruses, worms, and spyware, or spam email and bulletin boards. After all, he shows them how to bypass security wares to do such dirty work. And security software companies like McAfee are pissed, since the reportedly $5 BILLION (US) spent by companies on anti-malware packages is being rendered into money down the toilet.
That’s the point. Ledin compares the current “security” market to the cryptography scene some decades ago when the NSA ran the scene. Eventually, that technology was made publicly available to make online shopping possible. The anti-malware codes, however, are kept under corporate lock-and-key thanks to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, and the likes of McAfee and Symantec are showing no signs of letting their “trade secrets” loose.
But Ledin’s goal goes beyond making the corporate wares useless, he wants his students to think like the enemy to better devise solutions to the growing malware threat:
“Unlike biological viruses, computer viruses are written by a programmer. We want to get into the mindset: how do people learn how to do this?”
While he admits that what he teaches can do harm in the wrong hands, Ledin also believes that his course can lead to a more open (or maybe open-source) anti-malware package that’s more complete than the legacy technology being offered and used.
Only one question I have is this: WHERE DO I SIGN UP???