Most people associate the term ‘cyberpunk’ by its dystopian definition in science fiction as a futuristic technology-ridden society that is close to anarchy, or the recent video game, Cyberpunk 2077. According to the Webster’s Dictionary, cyberpunk is “a genre of science fiction set in a lawless subculture of an oppressive society dominated by computer technology.” However, while the term cyberpunk as a science fiction genre is warranted, it can also be used to describe the current trajectory of international relations and world politics. In a simulated cyberpunk world, corporations control the government, and the common people have to fight for whatever subliminal profit is given to them, sometimes erupting into wars and brutal conflicts. In addition, the surrounding environment, either destroyed by nuclear war, climate change and its effects on the world, or pollution, have made the so-called ‘outside-world’ almost unlivable. As a consequence, populations are squeezed together in cities, and with that comes disease, crime, and the rise of new types of vices, either related to technology or not.
Looking at the simulated world from afar is perplexing to some, but current world events have led to corporate monopolies over governments across the world and dare to jerk humanity’s trajectory to that only defined by the word cyberpunk. Fossil-fuel companies threaten to increase the likelihood of a climate catastrophe, which, in the large scale of things, has already taken its toll in regions like West Africa, where sea level rise is becoming almost unmanageable.
World politics have also come into play concerning this dangerous future for humanity, with the rise of corporate control over governments and their people, a study from Yale University found that “increased biases toward world events, politics, and relations have been estimated to spread due to commercialism issued by corporations.”
While cyberpunk is still a subgenre of science fiction for now, the rise of monopolies, corporate control of governments, and environmental issues threaten to make the subgenre a reality.