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/cyb/ - cyberpunk and cybersecurity

low life. high tech. anonymity. privacy. security.

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Cyberpunk is where science and technology meets society
What exactly is cyberpunk? The question seems to be continuously resurrected in cyberpunk communities without ever coming to a conclusion as to a definition. What is the point of this topic then? While it is true that cyberpunk may mean different things to different people, there certainly is a common thread. That then is what we're after.

Cyberpunk is “low life, high tech”
The very word cyberpunk is itself a portmanteau of cybernetics, the science and technology of the system, and punk, the philosophy of rebellion against the system. Where the system intends for order, cyberpunks frequently make disorder; as they say, “the street will find its own use for things.” To understand the movement we must look past the black-and-white to see the modern world in its true shades of grey as the lines between natural and artificial, organic and mechanical, and real and virtual continue to blur.

Cyberpunk is an attitude
There seems to be a common attitude or philosophy among those attracted to cyberpunk. They often find themselves caught in the romantic struggle between themselves and the system. For some this manifests in an interest—sometimes even an obsession—with privacy and security, both online and offline. The cyberpunk notices that the world is heading in the wrong direction as the wealthy are becoming more powerful while the poor are becoming helpless, working more and earning less. As disparities grow wider, their tactics become more desperate: using the tools of the system against the system. When pushed they feel free to use anything and everything at their disposal: including hacking, deception, and intrusion. Do not fuck with us.

Cyberpunk is an awareness
In a world saturated with violently accelerating change, the cyberpunk must find herself armed with a sharp awareness of what is going on around her. Most seem to be apathetic about the philosophical implications of the uncanny technologies of the near future as the existential issues invoked by artificial intelligence, transhumanism, and the technological singularity continue to evade our collective consciousness. Advances in biological and information technologies are already radically changing our lives, but will likely only become more coercive and invasive in the future, especially with the birth of the cybernetic organism and brain–computer interface. While these technologies are not inherently malign, we would rather not see what happens when they are exclusively in the hands of the corporate elite.

Cyberpunk is a subculture
Perhaps the most clandestine aspect of cyberpunk is the ethereal subculture of hackers, phreaks, netrunners, ravers, and razor girls. It is androgynous, sophisticated, and futuristic. It cannot be restrained as it has slipped through the cracks and is now lost in the delicate balance between the analog and digital worlds, avoiding both the attention and oppression of the system. With the rise of a ubiquitous internet, “cyberculture” has begun to permeate throughout the popular culture of modern society. Meanwhile the cyberpunk subculture remains somewhat underground, though where one ends and the other begins is often difficult to discern.

Cyberpunk is a subgenre
The most accessible aspect of cyberpunk is the literary subgenre of science fiction that features a dark and gritty, yet painfully realistic vision of our near future. It essentially takes active social trends and pushes them to their logical extremes. The megacorporation now dominates as the primary influence of society, which brings about an aggregation of wealth, acceleration of environmental decay, and expansion of Asian popular culture. Urbanization sprawls as people flock to the cities, drugs and crime offer most one’s best hope of achieving happiness, and the line between human and machine begins to fade away. This culminates in the “city lights at night” aesthetic present in much of cyberpunk art. While some may enjoy—perhaps even fetish—the dystopian world presented in cyberpunk literature, most are anticipating the resistance against it. For some this fight has already begun.


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I like this thread, its a good thread,


I'm actually a new user, and I had my doubt about what it actually is.


That "Do not fuck with us." is super edgy.


So, everybody agrees with his definition?


I'll disagree, although it's a knee-jerk reaction to "Don't fuck with us." I mean, fucking seriously? I'd wager about 1% of this "subculture" has any actual coding experience and is able to do anything more then pretend they're l33t h4xx0rz while using LOIC (they're not) or pretending that they're secure while running TAILS (again…they're not). Just like a great many other "subcultures." Now, am I saying that you NEED those coding skills, or the ability to design a PCB? Nope. Neuromancer is arguably one of the greatest works of all time, and it's ability to essentially predict the future is frightening. But to think that edgelords and soykaf brewers on low-traffic imageboards are somehow "cyberpunk?" Nope.

Look, I love this board, but we're not a "sub-culture." First, a sub-culture is a small group with a parent culture that often maintains the founding beliefs of that culture. What's our parent culture? People who like Science-Fiction? Computer security experts? 4Chan? See the problem? Trekkies, for instance, are a subculture. The parent culture: Star Trek fans. There's enough of them, with enough of a similar interest, that they qualify as a culture. Millions of people are "Star Trek Fans." A subset of them take the founding principal (Star Trek FTW, basically) and simply do it harder, better, faster, stronger. Go to one Star Trek convention? You're a fan. Follow the cast around to various conventions while dressed as Spock? You're a Trekkie. A sub-culture is DEFINED by it's parent culture. That's literally the point. So, when all of us can come to an agreement regarding our parent culture, and have most of us AGREE on a basic set of tenets we all believe in, then, and only then, are we a sub-culture. Before that happens? We're just of a bunch of weird soykaf brewers, and I'm glad to count myself among that number.


>First, a sub-culture is a small group with a parent culture that often maintains the founding beliefs of that culture. What's our parent culture? People who like Science-Fiction? Computer security experts? 4Chan? See the problem? A sub-culture is DEFINED by it's parent culture.

That's part of what makes Cyberpunk culture special, though. Part of what makes it unique among other sucbultures. It's a natural reaction to looking around and realizing that we've basically arrived in the same sort of techno-dystopia that Cyberpunk authors predicted twenty or so years ago. With the rise of the internet and ubiquitous, instantaneous communication, the parameters for how subcultures form and are defined are rapidly changing. The parameters for how we define everything about modern life are changing. The lenses we look through to define ourselves and how we relate to technology are changing. It's a time of enormous change and information overload. Cyberpunk culture is part of that.


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Oops, forgot to attach this .webm to this post.(EPILEPSY WARNING)


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Following suit.


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>First, a sub-culture is a small group with a parent culture that often maintains the founding beliefs of that culture. What's our parent culture? People who like Science-Fiction? Computer security experts? 4Chan? See the problem? A sub-culture is DEFINED by it's parent culture.
A subculture can also be a fusion of other subcultures. I'm sorry the world can be so messy and complicated.


Amusing image. I saw the MIT page where the image came from too, and might read it sometime.


Who made this vid, it's noice


How do you make webm's like this?


anything that can run ffmpeg could do it, with a combination of , -vf 'subtitles=<file>', , and, optionally, some frame-interpolation.

but yeh, that's the long way round; some kinda graphical video editor thing would be easier.


the parent culture is SEL :(


I feel it's kind of fetishistic to start so many discussions on cyberpunk this and cyberpunk that - it's like Junk said here:
>Lainchan is often called cyberpunk, however this does not entail fetishistic veneration of a particular aesthetic, or even technology. Many of us are of the opinion that techno-fetishism killed cyberpunk. I am of the opinion that cyberpunk killed cyberpunk. Worshipping the label, maximizing essential tropes and effectively succumbing to another brand stifles creativity. The genre you know as cyberpunk was once called The Movement: a subversive, rebellious effort within and against science fiction. So be experimental, be subversive and be genuine.


Go to youtube and search "Cyberpunk is now".


i agree wholeheartedly. the new board is a rare chance to start taking this idea seriously.


cyberpunk is far larger than sel, and sel made its way into an already existing cyberpunk space. I love lain, don't get me wrong, but she is not the only reason I am here.

This is an idea I have been grappling with recently, as I try to rebuild my life.

When many people think of cyberpunk, they think, it would seem, of the asthetic. Grunge. Dark, dirty spaces, mixed with just enough different to make it feel alien, just enough familiar to make it feel real.

I mean, to those who have seen it, the new GitS film makes a fine example.

This film excelled in capturing the traditional cyberpunk aesthetic, really. It certainly drew on some cornerstones of cyberpunk themes films, as well as the source material, to make a film that matched this aesthetic, it looked the part as well as it could have been expected.

Yet the plot of it, its substance, was not really cyberpunk. Its story ark was something that we can essentially summarize fairly easily in any number of stories, some greek myths spring to mind.

Cyberpunk is, at its core, like all science fiction, or most good science fiction anyway, an exploration of the relationship between humankind, and the machines, the computers, the artificial world we create for ourselves. Cyberpunk tackles questions about the relationship of capitalism, and economics generally, politics, technology, and most importantly people, and tries, most importantly to ask questions that have not been asked, yea they could not have been asked by an ancient greek, or at least, not with the imperative that we ask them today.

This is more relating to the genre aspect of the term, but, to put it quickly as I want not to ramble on per my custom, it seems the 'culture' that is associated with that form of cyberpunk is essentially that aspect of society who try to push the boundaries of what the world is, what the interactions between humans and their machines can be like, who live on one of the technological fringes of culture. It is difficult to say what in this world is or is not cyberpunk, as, to be frank this world already has many aspects of a near future dystopia, but folks like here, are clearly not on that edge alone. We are accompanied, distantly perhaps but verily, by the politicians seeking to further consolidate power, corruptly restricting and guiding the masses, by the police and the armies who enforce their corrupt rule, by the executives who direct and touch the lives of so many people, and by the large masses of people who are only trying to live their lives in the mess that the world is, has been, and shall continue to be.

Are we different? Perhaps to some degree we are part of the underground computer literate community so often featured in the genre. We are different from trekkies, who perhaps wish to live in the Federation, because, by and large, we already live in the world that so fascinates many of us, and I know I don't speak for all of us, but I must say that I hate it.


I would consider Cyberpunk a cultural tradition, a tradition is a means of passing on values and knowledge to
future generations, cyberpunk passes on a culture of playful experimentation, anti capitalism, and a optimistic view of the liberating potential of technology along with a cynical view of society. This culture is passed on through books, film's, music,internet forums,webcomics and most importantly through the open source community.

In a certain sense the open source community is cyberpunk.


True, though Fight Club. Ok, Fincher is edgy too.



I think you're making a number of mistakes and assumptions

Cyberpunk was never black and white, in fact it was one of the few genres that was built around the idea that the world is just a bunch of greys and that the classic hero stereotype doesn't exists IRL

Cyberpunk as an attitude is actually coming to terms with how reality is, is accepting things are not simple nor good/bad and that you're mostly on your own.

You are wrong to clump together a bunch of different communities under the same umbrella, you're missing the forest for the trees. Most ravers have no idea what cyberpunk is, and the current raver/EDM scene its incredibly megacorp friendly to the point they actually think being a sellout and having more sponsors than the other guy means you're a better artist, its mind boggling. Keep in mind cyberpunk authors 20-30 years ago added these subcultures because it was the avant-garde of the time, it was underground. Nowadays its commercial as hell, same with other subcultures that have become mainstream.

Even hacker culture has become over-commercialized by IT megacorps like google and apple that needed to make computers and smartphones more friendly-looking for the average shazbot consumer because they were "too intimidating". Nowadays hackers are seen as friendly doofus working inside offices designed by marketers for corporations making pastel-colored apps that farm private info and illegally sell it to other corps and governments

We are seeing a weird future where there are no cyberbrains but people are perfectly fine with giving their entire lives away for free to megacorps in exchange for "free" apps, their memories being turned into targeted ads, their faces into masks for social spambots that need to look more believable

Bots threaten white collar work more than blue collar since manual work has become cheap due to outsourcing and software bots are even cheaper. The new future aren't gargantuan mechs hauling stuff around but humans working in sweatshops under AI bosses


>Neuromancer is arguably one of the greatest works of all time, and it's ability to essentially predict the future is frightening

You lost me there, gibson is a hack who didn't know soykaf about the internet and just wrote a bunch of cheap scifi with ninjas and other crazy soykaf. He and doctorow were hack writers who whored cyberpunk as a genre and now that the horse is dead they keep beating it by coming up with stupid crap like "post-cyberpunk" and washing their hands cleans of their own stupidity as they embrace the same megacorps they used to denounce



>Cyberpunk authors predicted twenty or so years ago

If 20 years ago I told people by 2017 there would be flying cars, humanoid robots walking around and direct-brain interface to the internet they would've believed me

If 20 years ago I told people that by 2017 everyone would be sharing every stupid detail of their lives through their phones in exchange for useless internet points, that megacorps would trade and sell that data, that privacy is dead and people is okay with that, that news companies would outright make soykaf up for money while robot planes dropped bombs on the other side of the world and nobody cares, guess what? none of that people would believe me

Cyberpunk authors of the 80s and 90s dropped the ball HARD because most of them knew jack soykaf about tech, economics or geopolitics. Their books were cheap entertainment, not actual predictions



Fun fact about science fiction authors: they sometimes write about worlds that aren't ours. Just because a book doesn't conform to reality doesn't make it bad. I'm not one of those who mistakenly thinks that Gibson predicted the future, but neither am I one of those who dismiss his work just because he didn't.

And frankly, I think Gibson's lack of familiarity with technology has helped keep his work enjoyable. It's not dated. His books focus on the characters and their interactions within the context of their world,. They're not 90% long dull soulless infodumps on the real-life technology of the year the book was published (coughtomclancycough).



>some nobody sees an emergent underground movement he knows nothing about

>makes a mediocre scifi/fantasy story that just has a bunch of technobabble bolted on

>ridiculous even for his times unless you knew nothing about computers

>shazbots still defend this crap today



It's fine not to like something. Individual tastes, and all that. But please don't denigrate those of us who do like that particular thing.


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Is Cyberpunk philosophy compatible with liberal social justice? Robocop 2 sorta touched on it.


> most of them knew jack soykaf about tech, economics or geopolitics

Some of them knew quite a lot about those things actually, it's just that they were lacking a crystal ball and magic tea leaves. Some earlier writers, usually tagged as "social fiction" rather than SF (though they were both) probably hit the mark closer though. Even if they didn't predict the exact technology they foresaw how any technology might be misused.

I think you know who I mean… Orwell, Bradbury etc.

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