Cyberpunk in Mainstream Media #1: Person of Interest

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Cyberpunk, in it’s many forms, has been around for a long time.  It’s basis in Orwellian fiction and Phillip K. Dick novels is hard to dispute.

The kind of dystopian surveillance that made up the basis for 1984 and so many books, tv shows and movies is at our doorstep.  It’s impossible to ignore.  1984 was published in 1949 (I think he wrote it in 1948, and swapped the last two digits, but that’s just my opinion).

In the 65 years or so since it was published the world has been networked by computers.  Cameras across the globe feed into data centers that governments and private security companies have access too.

Privacy is slowly becoming less and less of a priority for more and more people.  People are starting to assume they are being watched.  It’s the Panopticon.  A prison where a few can monitor many, because no one knows if or when they are actually being watched.

The American TV show Person of Interest is wildly cyberpunk, but I’ve rarely heard it mentioned in any Cyberpunk circles.

1. Corporations and Governments spying on Citizens without their knowledge or consent.

2. Rouge AI

3. Militarized Revolutionaries / Activists

4. Bad ass street samurai

5. Ace razor girl / secondary bad ass street samurai

6. More shades of grey than you could shake a E.L. James novel at.

If you are unfamiliar with the show let me post an excerpt from the Season One opening (Courtesy of Wikipedia).

“You are being watched. The government has a secret system: a machine that spies on you every hour of every day. I know, because I built it. I designed the machine to detect acts of terror, but it sees everything. Violent crimes involving ordinary people; people like you. Crimes the government considered ‘irrelevant’. They wouldn’t act, so I decided I would. But I needed a partner, someone with the skills to intervene. Hunted by the authorities, we work in secret. You’ll never find us, but victim or perpetrator, if your number’s up… we’ll find you”.

Season one opening voice-over by Mr. Finch[6]

 

The show is episodic but has an overall story arc that is both exciting and fulfilling.  It keeps you guessing, keeps you involved and the writers have only stepped up their game since the NSA prism scandal broke and basically turned Person of Interest from a speculative / cyberpunk science fiction show into a docudrama about privacy and how little of it we have left.

If you want more information on the Panopticon, surveillance int he modern age, and ways to combat it, I will be discussing The Traveler, a book by John Twelve Hawks in the next Cyberpunk in Mainstream Media.

If you enjoy speculative fiction and getting a modern day take on what the world may be like in the very near future, check out Recombination – Book One of The Chronicles of Withmore City, available on Amazon.

And don’t forget to check back here regularly for the latest posts on Cyberpunk in Mainstream Media.