We Live in a Cyberpunk Reality

As China continues to implement more ways of keeping track of its people, it’s hard not to think of how much society is beginning to resemble cyberpunk fiction.

Simply defined as “high-tech, low-life”, it’s mostly agreed that the cyberpunk genre was kickstarted by William Gibson’s 1984 novel Neuromancer, though significant credit can’t not be given to Ridely Scott’s 1982 film Blade Runner as well. As Modern Mythology writer Pattern Theory states, “if Blade Runner established the look, Neuromancer defined cyberpunk’s voice.”

Ghost in the Shell (1995), another prestigious cyberpunk work.

These aspects just so happen to coincide with urban East Asian societies (particularly present-day China) both aesthetically and thematically: high-tech surveillance and justice systems, hyper-reality, dominant consumerism, evident (or inevitable) dystopia, and various other forms of algorithmic control.

Of course, this is far from a coincidence.

Even today, East Asian societies continue to inspire works of cyberpunk. And if that isn’t enough of an indicator that we’re already living in a cyberpunk reality (or that such a reality is inevitable), then I don’t know what it is.

If you want to know more, here’s a podcast where I elaborate a little.


Christina, Z 2019, ‘China’s new propaganda music video celebrates trustworthiness and the Social Credit System’, ABC News, web article, 8 May.

Pattern, T, ‘Cyberpunk is Now and No One Knows What to do With It’, Modern Mythology, web article, 1 February.

Jose Bernardo Reyes, F 2017, ‘Cyberpunk is alive and well in China’, theworldofchinese.com, web article, 3 March.

2019, ‘China’s ‘Social Credit System’ may soon reach Australia’, TOTT News, web article, 26 February.


2 thoughts on “We Live in a Cyberpunk Reality

  1. Blade Runner and Neuromancer were a convergence event that created the filmological and literary birth of a movement. Blade Runner influenced, and still does, all cyberpunk that would come after it visually, the same way that Neuromancer influenced, and still does, all cyberpunk literature. Cyberpunk never was just a literary genre. It was a cultural phenomenon. It is not only about technology or science fiction, but also about the ways in which we live our lives. This is why I think that the film industry has been so much affected by cyberpunk. It is because of the impact that these films have had on society, especially in the United States as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Jayden, this is such a great read. I liked listening to your sound cloud, I found it interesting to listen to and very educational. I am finding it difficult to fathom, in our digital age, that we are finding it quicker and easier to invade someone’s privacy with the vast digital surveillance giving access to your whereabouts to thousands of people around the world. This I believe ties in nicely with your post this week and how its hard to think of how much our society it beginning to turn into the cyberpunk fiction. I totally agree with you. In both our blog posts we talked about similar aspect of privacy and surveillance, however used different case studies to effectively portray two differing ideas. The information you have presented is clear and concise. If there is an article I could recommend to you is on Australias Surveillance Laws. It provided me with a deeper understanding of surveillance and privacy, as I was quite intrigued to where it was heading. Check it out here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/26/privacy-fears-australian-surveillance-laws-digital-era

    Overall, you have written this blog post well. It was easy to read and understand what you were trying to portray to your audience. You have done a great job, and thank-you for sharing this with us. I will continue to be an active member on your site and engage with weekly content. Keep up the great work!

    Liked by 1 person

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