Art Predicting Life - Cyberpunk 2077
I see a world where technology is embedded into humans and that tech is used to access virtual worlds.
I’ve known about the Cyberpunk franchise for quite some time. I first learned about it in 1988 when I was still playing tabletop roleplaying games such as D&D. That’s right, as a kid I was one of the Stranger Things-Dungeons & Dragons-playing nerds. So, when the Cyberpunk 2077 video game came out I was pretty excited to play it. But, after watching some Twitch streamers try it out, I’m also that guy that will watch other people play video games, so I decided to hold off on purchasing it. Until a few weeks ago when it went on sale.
The gameplay isn’t the best. Like other gamers have said, the mechanics can be pretty clunky. The first-person-shooter experience is lacking, and the amount of narrative feels excessive. I can appreciate trying to tell a story (I’m telling you one now) but sometimes you just want to play a game. Still, the visuals and their detail are stunning.
If you aren’t familiar with the Cyberpunk world it is a dystopian setting where there is a lot of technology. Tech is much a part of the world that people have hardware, that they use to run software-enabled enhancements on, embedded in their bodies.
What Cyberpunk 2077 got right
Even in 1988, when the original game came out and I was in 8th grade, I remember believing in my core that the world would eventually end up with people having technology hardwired into their persons.
It really isn’t a stretch. In fact, our world has witnessed examples of this for decades now. The first cochlear implant was introduced in 1972. Fast forward to current times and we have people who have 3D printed limbs. Yet, that doesn’t quite get us to hardware embedded in a person’s body.
Alright then, if you need convincing, how about Elon Musk’s Neuralink. From the website, “The initial goal of our technology will be to help people with paralysis to regain independence through the control of computers and mobile devices. Our devices are designed to give people the ability to communicate more easily via text or speech synthesis, to follow their curiosity on the web, or to express their creativity through photography, art, or writing apps”. They accomplish this by embedding a neural device in the person’s brain.
And Neuralink isn’t alone in this type of endeavor. A company called BCI is attempting to accomplish similar results. They are currently in FDA-approved trials with a similar device that is inserted into the brain using a catheter.
Reading the Tea Leaves
If these technologies can prove to be helpful, especially for people with disabilities, then our world will be a better place for it. But, we are very, very early in the process and I believe it will be a decade or so before the use cases extend beyond the most serious health conditions, what if devices could reduce seizures by controlling the electrical currents in the body, to use by the general public.
But…this is a space I will personally be keeping an eye on. I do see a world where these applications merge in with augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR). Maybe we won’t need a clunky headset to access virtual worlds. Maybe it will be through a contact lens that projects the imagery.
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