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Cyberpunk, an artistic style born in science fiction, usually describes a fictional dystopian world with over-developed high technology. Cyberpunk has always been a relatively novel theme, more and more films and television works including animation apply this style. Comparing to the excellent scene, thought-provoking plot is more appreciated. The film production teams usually try to express their fear of high technology through their works. These ideas are the warning to human.
First, if cyborgs are created, the definition of life will become complicated. In Blade Runner, a police officer called Gaff is discussing female cyborg, saying: “It’s too bad she will not live. But then again, who does? (Scott, Blade Runner)” This film is talking about a new type robot called Replicant (not human cloning), they are indistinguishable in appearance from real human. These replicants cannot stay on Earth. They are only allowed to do dangerous and low work on the colonies on other planets. Later, some replicants start a rebellion and want to break away from slavery. They even want to gain a longer life, so they come to Earth to find their genetic engineers who created them. These replicant collide with the main protagonist who is responsible to killing them. The reason why they have conflicts is their genetic engineers gave them the ability of self-thinking. Their living environment is worse than human’s. When they experience enough affliction, they will have the idea of violating the order from human. In addition, if replicants are as same as human, then human not only face the danger of rebellion but also a series of moral and ethical issues because the creator makes them can think independently. To identify a cyborg is human or cyborg and to define whether cyborg is human, these two questions are the two most important issues for the existence of cyborg.
Then, if human is over dependent on technology, human will lose some humanity. There is a Japanese animated film called the Ghost in the Shell. In this title, “Ghost” can be understood as the abstract existence of self-awareness. “Shell” is a container that can hold Ghost. In this era, everyone has their own electronic brain, which connects the entire network in the world so people can use own brain to communicate with others without using mouth. Even if all body tissues are broken, people do not have to worry about death if their electronic brains are still working, because doctors can install patient’s electronic brain into a new artificial body to continue the lives. However, high technology is always a double-edged sword. The invention of electronic brain brings convenience to human, but it also has the possibility of being maliciously modified on own memory. There is a classic scene in this film: a garbage cleanup worker was controlled by bad people to commit a crime. After he was arrested, the police officer asked him a question, “Do you still remember when you first time met your wife? (Oshii, Ghost in the Shell)”, he could not answer it because he had no memory for this. He only knows he had a wife and a child, but all of these are setting by unknown person. Then, he looked at the photos of his family in the wallet and cry uncontrollably. In fact, he is a humble single man who has never fallen in love with anyone. Originally, the function of technology is for human to live better and more convenient. But human has addictive behaviors and rely on technology because of its convenience. The film production team uses the plot which modifying the memory of the electronic brain to warn that humans cannot rely too much on technology. Just as many people in today’s life, their communication skills are weak when they are talking face to face because they are always typing messages on social software to communicate with others. Current technology is still not reaching the level of this film, but the mobile phone is just like the electronic brain from another perspective. Suppose people leave the mobile phone for a few days. People will feel uncomfortable because they cannot communicate with other people who are living far away from them anytime. The difference between the mobile phone and electronic brain is they are in a different position. The electronic brain is in the head, the phone is in trouser pocket, but they are already a part of connecting your body.
Finally, if the virtual world is created, it will be difficult to determine the authenticity of things that people already know. The film series The Matrix talking about a young hacker discover that the world he was living in was controlled by artificial intelligence system called the Matrix. Then, he escaped form this virtual world with the help of members of the rebel group. The leader of the rebel group told the hacker: “What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. (Lana and Lilly, The Matrix)” When he woke up from the virtual world, he found himself stay in a container full of unknown liquid with a wire attached to his brain. Later, he learned that human have been defeated by robots for a long time ago. Now just few human live in a hidden city. Finally, he has joined the fight of resisting artificial intelligence with other people. The theme of the film is a serious warning to the whole scientific community. The virtual world in the film was created by advanced artificial intelligence and not by humans. In the future, if scientists create a virtual world like the Matrix, human will face the biggest problem, that is, to distinguish between true and false. A similar problem has also mentioned in the Ghost in the Shell, which is the problem about modified memory of the electronic brain. Suppose people are living in this kind of worldview, what people can touch may not be true. Also, people cannot be sure whether they really touch it. Moreover, even if they are sure they touch it, they still cannot be sure that the thing they touch is really itself. Everything is already arranged by someone, then for the people who create this huge lie, everything is just like props.
In conclusion, all themes from these films are trying to telling the concern about future technology. Cyborgs will make life hard to be defined, humanity will be lost day by day because of the over-reliance on technology, human cannot distinguish the authenticity of the things they learned about in the virtual world. The machine has wrong issues because its creator makes a mistake. Human need to establish the clear principle in order to prevent the problems between human beings and technology.
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