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What is Cyberpunk?

Cyberpunk is a novelistic style. It is the style of novel that most frequently portrays the probable future with regards to virtual reality, augmented reality, wearable computing, and related technologies. This is due to the genre's tendency to focus on the mix between high technology, and low-life individuals, which most often results in a prosaic look at how technology will be used.

Cyberpunk as a term, originates from the novel "Cyberpunk", authored by Bruce Bethke in 1980. It comes from a fusion of the terms 'cybernetic' and 'punk'. In other words, 'Cybernetic Punk', shortened to cyberpunk. Since it's inception, it has taken on a like of it's own,. And has become the single most often used source of inspiration for virtual reality developers ever since.

All cyberpunk revolves around a kind of technological freedom, with all manner of technologies exploited by the unscrupulous.

"See, I knew they'd listen to Reason." - a statement made in the cyberpunk novel 'Snow Crash' after the thermonuclear reactor powered gauss minigun "Reason" is used to ah, negotiate a disagreement.

Good cyberpunk novels are renowned as being both the most frequent source of inspiration for developers of modern VR systems, and for having predicted a great many technological breakthroughs which have either come true, or parallel modern lab research precisely. They have predicted the Metaverse, social virtual reality, the decline of physical world society, techno-drugs, the rise of weak Artificial Intelligence, and a plethora of other disruptive technologies.

Additionally, many cyberpunk works discuss the many faceted aspects of technologies such as the rise of strong Artificial intelligence, mind uploading, omnipresent augmented reality, brain augmentation, artificially created and digital viruses, and a wide host of other technologies with an analytical, and scientific stance towards them.

Postcyberpunk

A disputed to exist sub-genre of Cyberpunk that has emerged. Postcyberpunk, or 'after cyberpunk' is a type of cyberpunk where, instead of contributing to moral decay, and the fragmentation of civilisation, the main character or characters actively work act to improve social conditions or at least protect the status quo from further decay. Snow Crash would be the first of these.

However, both cyberpunk and post cyberpunk focus on likely near future technology development, application and misuse in the exact same manner, both typically have the same writing style, and so there is frequently little meaningful reason to class them as different genres.

Neuromancer (cyberpunk) and Snow Crash (post cyberpunk) had near identical effects on galvanising VR development in toe 80s and 90s respectively, and both are read by the same people, for the same reasons, so cyberpunk as a genre, really, fits them all.

References

Cyberpunk Wikipedia Entry
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberpunk

PostCyberpunk Wikipedia Entry
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postcyberpunk

VWN VR in Print
http://www.virtualworldlets.net/Resources/Menu.php?Category=39

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