Cyberpunk is a sci-fi subgenre which shows a dystopian future in which technology as advanced but social order, to a degree, is breaking down. Corporations have the power of governments, and there is substantial inequality.
Examples of the genre include Blade Runner, Altered Carbon and Alita: Battle Angel.
In real life, we have seen the rapid development of technology with burdening artificial intelligence and even cybernetic industries. Some might argue that inequality is on the rise and the structure of society at risk.
Are we heading to a cyberpunk future?
In December, Geek Native had a copy of volume 1 of the Blade Runner 2019 comic book series to give away and ran a competition which attracted over 100 entries.
To enter the competition readers had to say whether they considered themselves a geek or not and whether they thought we’d see a cyberpunk future of our own within 20 years.
The results were even; 50% of respondents thought we’d see a real-life cyberpunk future within 20 years.
Geeks on cyberpunk
Geeks, however, are less likely to predict a cyberpunk future within 20 years. Of those who identify as a geek in the survey, only 43.1% believed we would see a cyberpunk society.
Non-geeks on cyberpunk
In contrast, non-geeks were much more likely to predict a cyberpunk future. 61.5% of non-geeks believed that society could be classified as cyberpunk within 20 years.
A competition poll is not a robust surveying method, nor are just over 100 responses particularly meaningful; however, the split between geek and non-geek is interesting to discuss.
Geeks may have a definition of cyberpunk that is harder to achieve, perhaps with more widespread cybernetics or AI. Equally, geeks may have a harsher view of today’s technological achievements.
These two traits together may make geeks less likely to believe 20 years is sufficient to reach the human-tech integration commonplace in cyberpunk stories.
It may also be the case that geeks are more optimistic about the evolution of society.
What do you think? Will we see a cyberpunk future in only 20 years? Will we see it at all?