Saturday, July 31, 2021

Cyberpunk 2077’s dystopian future can be avoided with blockchain tech


The long-awaited online game Cyberpunk 2077 came out as an unfinished product with a bunch of technical flaws, however that doesn’t cease it from being one of the necessary cultural phenomenons of current years. And whereas some players are asking for refunds and the builders are hurriedly engaged on patches, I counsel we take a look at the enormously wealthy online game setting.

The image will not be very good — this world is an actual centralized hell. Within the fictional world of Cyberpunk 2077, blockchain expertise both by no means existed or was by no means massively carried out. This can be a world the place full-scale decentralization was by no means achieved, and the outcomes are horrifying.

The world of Cyberpunk 2077

The world of Cyberpunk 2077 is a world dominated by firms. That is the dominion of aggressive capitalism in its worst attainable type — of a sort by which North Korea and the Soviet Union may scare their residents.

Firms right here aren’t simply massive firms offering society with companies and merchandise. Relatively, on this world, firms are mighty, sinister entities striving for infinite energy. Controlling the entire world’s manufacturing, agriculture, media, computing and medical companies, these entities act not simply as companies however actually as sovereign nation-states.

Small- and medium-sized firms of this world act above the regulation and attempt to cowl the traces. They don’t hesitate to make use of practices akin to blackmail, extortion, bribery, espionage or the bodily elimination of these standing of their approach.

Large firms of this world are the regulation. They set up the world governments and provides orders to their very own educated puppet politicians.

Night time Metropolis, the town the place the sport takes place, is an unbiased city-state throughout the territory of america, which is absolutely managed by the big Arasaka Company. The mayor and metropolis council are chosen by company representatives, and the town police drive principally consists of so-called “company police” — extremely paid particular forces, loyal to loss of life to their company leaders. Firms, not the federal government, have a monopoly on violence right here.

The company enterprise heart of Night time Metropolis is an ultra-modern metropolis, a glowing metropolis of the longer term with lavish fortified skyscrapers the place company workplaces are situated. In areas like this, safety is strictly guarded by company police, and solely a choose few — company staff — get to work and stay there. Additionally, company staff and their households have entry to a secure, affluent suburb, which can be underneath company safety.

In distinction, poor areas of the town are stuffed with violence and crime. These districts are residence to the poor and homeless, stuffed with blocks of ugly high-rise buildings and graffiti-painted deserted factories.

Varied clans rule right here: the Triads, the Yakuza and others. The company police don’t even look into these components of the town. These districts are patrolled by atypical state police, who’re outfitted and motivated incomparably worse than the company ones. These cops are at all times able to look the opposite approach when the case requires it. As well as, the mafia itself typically works for the companies, defending the company pursuits in these areas.

This darkish illustration of the town of the longer term is as far faraway from the utopian good metropolis as attainable.

Environmentally pleasant firms?

To say that the companies of Cyberpunk 2077 care little in regards to the surroundings is to say nothing. They aren’t simply irresponsible to the surroundings, pouring waste into rivers and polluting the ambiance — as giant firms periodically do in our time — no, they’ve gone a lot additional.

When sooner or later two firms didn’t resolve enterprise points in a typical authorized or semi-legal approach, they started to brazenly use military-style warfare in opposition to one another. That is how the Company Wars started. On this planet of Cyberpunk 2077, armed company conflicts have turn into a standard enterprise observe.

The firms waged damaging wars with using nuclear weapons proper within the territory of liveable areas. It resulted in big losses amongst civilians, in addition to in radioactive contamination of the territory. Due to the Company Wars, big areas of the U.S. have been changed into lifeless radioactive deserts. Typically, outdoors of Night time Metropolis, the territory of the U.S. resembles the movie Mad Max. This can be a radioactive wasteland, stuffed with useless settlements via which motorbike gangs of criminals and nomads move by.

Inequality and the horrors of over-centralization

The cyberpunk style originated within the Nineteen Eighties within the U.S. as a response to each the event of laptop expertise and the society of late capitalism, wherein giant transnational firms performed an enormous function.

The closed hierarchical construction of firms, their extreme centralization, the shortage of transparency of their actions and the emergence of big monopolies led to wealth and advantages being distributed inconsistently. Being targeted totally on attaining earnings, giant conglomerates may typically afford to behave not within the pursuits of society however solely within the pursuits of their very own.

At worst, they created collected wealth however not prosperity. Their beneficiaries had been a slender circle of prime managers and huge stockholders, whereas nearly all of the inhabitants solely misplaced from excessive costs for low-quality merchandise produced by monopolies, in addition to affected by collateral environmental harm.

The mixture of high-end applied sciences with big social inequality is a basic hallmark of the whole cyberpunk style. This was classically described by authors akin to William Gibson and Philip Ok. Dick. It was additionally embodied in basic cyberpunk motion pictures like Blade Runner, Johnny Mnemonic and Robocop.

Within the fictional world of the longer term, many alternatives are technologically out there for bettering and lengthening human life — for instance, cybernetic implants or the power to add one’s consciousness to the community. However these advantages are inconsistently distributed. The wealthy can afford to stay endlessly. The poor, however, are pressured to guide a depressing existence in impoverished, ecologically polluted areas, dying at a younger age, both because of illnesses related to an unfavorable environmental state of affairs or due to road crime. The common well being care system, which in the actual world could thrive from the use of blockchain technology, is in a monstrously deplorable state.

Are we actually going this fashion?

The present state of affairs

Many specialists predicted that with the event of the web and data applied sciences because the starting of the Nineties, big centralized, monopolistic firms would turn into a factor of the previous.

Firstly, younger tech startups emerged, competing with conventional firms.

Secondly, due to the web, prospects may have free entry to details about all out there firms and merchandise. Now, any small firm with its personal web site may compete with an enormous conglomerate spending tons of of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} on conventional promoting.

Lastly, now any particular person in any nation on the earth with entry to the web may present the companies of their mental labor to the worldwide market on an equal footing. This might result in a extra even distribution of wealth world wide, in addition to to the emergence of numerous native firms in creating international locations.

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Nonetheless, not the whole lot went so easily. Now we have watched small tech startups turn into big monopolistic firms themselves. These new firms had been created on the identical inflexible, centralized hierarchical ideas because the megacorporations of the previous.

At the moment, these “new technological startups” have turn into the so-called Large Tech, which controls many of the world’s information and media. And these firms aren’t simply market monopolists — as we are able to see, now Large Tech considers it attainable and advisable to intervene within the democratic processes of economically developed international locations.

Associated: The data economy is a dystopian nightmare

Large Tech is thought for its censoring of data it doesn’t take into account acceptable or politically right. You possibly can see a sure political agenda even in Google search outcomes, the place the visibility of sure supplies is lowered however is promoted for others. YouTube and different firms act in an identical approach.

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After all, you want lots of creativeness to deliver the present state of affairs to absolutely the and picture that within the close to future, Twitter and Fb might begin a nuclear struggle, say, for the management over the internet marketing market, as may occur on the earth of Cyberpunk 2077. And but, the pattern is obvious.

Blockchain as an answer

Of their ebook Blockchain Revolution, printed in 2016, Alex and Don Tapscott element how blockchain might be used to decentralize massive firms. Of their opinion, blockchain expertise ought to assist rethink the very essence of firms’ work and make it rather more clear. Having a single, unbiased, dependable ledger of data may assist create a brand new type of administration versus the present system of inflexible hierarchy.

When each motion of managers is displayed on a normal ledger that’s unbiased and never managed by any slender group of individuals, the temptation to conduct doubtful transactions and cheat with accounting information is way decrease. Entry to the register may be offered to all teams — primarily, to the society and regulatory our bodies, but in addition to the staff of the corporate.

It’s going to not be attainable to empty waste into the river or keep away from a big tax by bribing an official with impunity. All these actions will instantly seem on the ledger constructed on the blockchain and turn into out there to the general public, together with bloggers, journalists and prosecutors.

The usage of blockchain makes it attainable to create a brand new, clear, open firm construction versus the present inflexible hierarchies of firms. Utilizing blockchain, you’ll be able to create a system that may pretty reward staff for actions that each profit society and generate revenue for the corporate. Thus, social accountability will likely be distributed amongst numerous folks and will likely be clear for society — which ought to scale back the extent of corruption, which, as a rule, depends on the unlawful actions of people.

The usage of blockchain makes it technically attainable to create extra accountable, clear enterprise constructions — which, in flip, can save us from the centralized hell that’s proven in Cyberpunk 2077 and comparable works.

However will enterprise leaders agree to maneuver to those new, clear enterprise practices? And who may provoke the evolution course of?

The views, ideas and opinions expressed listed here are the creator’s alone and don’t essentially replicate or characterize the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Bert Kozma is a author and an affiliate editor at Cryptogeek.data. Beforehand a gross sales and advertising skilled, he has been an creator protecting cryptocurrency and monetary markets for the final decade. He holds a bachelor’s diploma in worldwide enterprise from Saimaa College of Utilized Sciences.