8 Amazing Facts that Prove You Live in a Cyberpunk Dystopia

TJ Farhadi

The cyberpunk dystopia has been a staple of science fiction since the 80s, so much so that stories about cyborgs, replicants, and post-apocalyptic Terminator scenarios are now clichés. But what if I told you that you’re living in that cliché? Well, kind of…

In celebration of the fact that we’ve already lived past Roy Batty’s inception date, here are 8 amazing facts that prove that your life is already a dystopic cyberpunk wasteland.  


1.  The First Legally Recognized Cyborg

In 2014, Neil Harbisson became the first legally recognized cyborg after having an antenna implanted into his skull. Harbisson was born with achromatopsia, a hereditary disorder that results in decreased vision, light sensitivity and the inability to perceive color. In 2004, Harbisson developed the antenna, which translates color information into sound and allows him to “hear” colors. He may not be Angelina Jolie in Cyborg II: Glass Shadow, but he’s all we’ve got.  


2. Creepy Humanoid Robots are a Thing

The race is on to develop the first intelligent humanoid robot. Top contenders are Honda’s Asimo, Boston Dynamics’ Atlas, Carnegie Mellon’s CHIMP and South Korea’s DRC-HUBO. But if anyone’s going hard for the creepy I, Robot vibe it’s the Iranians with Surena III. Currently Surena can only walk at a slow pace and has limited movement, but don’t let that fool you. Surena looks like it’s about to develop an evil consciousness any second. Just check out those shady, glowing eyes.  


3. Space Junk

While we’ve been focused on Moon landings and photos from the edges of the galaxy, we’ve forgotten that every time we launch something into space, a whole bunch of junk gets stuck in orbit. Currently there are around 22,000 pieces of debris large enough track from the ground, but that’s not counting thousands of smaller objects. It’s only a matter of time before space junk blocks out the sun, and we wind up in an icy, Snowpiercer-like situation.  


4. Minority Report is Real

That’s right, police departments around America are jumping on the bandwagon and adopting software like Intrado Beware which scours criminal histories, databases and even social media accounts to assess how likely you are to commit a crime. Okay, maybe we’re not at the point where the cops can read your thoughts, but aggregating 10 years of you tweeting every useless thing that came to mind gets them pretty damn close.  


5. Drugs Make You Smarter

So you saw Limitless and you wish that you could just pop a pill and churn out the great American novel, make a cool billion and start dating models. Well it turns out that Limitless wasn’t too far off the mark. Smart drugs like Modifinil are booming. College kids have stopped wasting their weekends blissed out on molly and started choking down smart drugs that will actually improve their chances of succeeding. What is the world coming to?     


6. DIY Brain Stimulation

Science is full of weird self-experimentation: Isaac Newton stuck a needle in his eye to prove his theory of color, while John Hunter infected himself with syphilis to try and prove that it was a later phase of gonorrhea (he was wrong, damn). Now self-experimentation seems to have become a trend, with many people strapping electrodes to their heads to improve their brain function. Before you try this at home kids, there’s no conclusive proof that frying your brain actually produces any benefit.  


7. Open Source Gender Codes

In 2015, Ryan Hammond turned to crowdfunding to try and bring about his dream: developing a transgenic plant that would allow laypeople to “grow” sex hormones, thus reducing the costs of hormone therapy for “gender hackers”. If things go wrong, surely it’s inevitable that we’ll wind up in an Invasion of the Body Snatchers-type situation.  


8. Dress for Distress

If all this isn’t enough, fashion designers like Rick Owens are already creating angular, pre-distressed outfits so you can fit right in to this brave new world. Don’t worry, it only costs a few grand for an item that makes you look like you crawled out of the rubble of a nuclear fallout shelter.    


TJ Farhadi
Author, Home Automation

TJ Farhadi is seriously concerned with anything having to do with automation and AI. In addition to seeking out the latest and greatest technologies, he loves kayaking across Lake Union.