Artificial intelligence and cyberpunk Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/7w62fc38c

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  • This thesis examines the ways in which cyberpunk science fiction novels and short stories reflect our cultural relation with technology, a series of relationships predicated on the way that corporate control of knowledge industries increased during the 1980s. The document begins by locating the means of corporate control in the increasing de-skilling of knowledge workers, a de-skilling similar to that experienced by craftsworkers in the late 19th century. This process as undertaken by corporations leads to several responses by these workers, making their relationship with technology a complex and ambiguous one - they earn their living using it, but they also find themselves being squeezed out of the core programming tasks that defined the profession in its beginning. This thesis uses theoretical texts by Karl Marx, John Cawelti, and James Beniger to provide a basis for the discussion. This fear of corporate control and the ambiguous relationship with technology that high technology workers experience is reflected in cyberpunk science fiction. In texts by Bruce Gibson, Bruce Sterling, and Greg Bear, the subcultural work of expressing these anxieties is done, with Artificial Intelligences becoming fictional characters who seek different means of finding freedom within this controlling environment. Gibson's Necromancer trilogy describes these cultural anxieties most clearly, as its heroes eventually escape to cyberspace with the help of a liberated Artificial Intelligence. Unfortunately, that cyberspace is physically located on the back of a robot that is endlessly tramping through the wastes of New Jersey, and it is dependent upon the life of the battery strapped to the robot's back. The thesis finishes with a discussion of Donna Haraway's review of the impact of this desire to escape into cyberspace. For Haraway, escape is a deadly fantasy, one that continues to relegate those unable to access cyberspace to the increasingly dystopic physical world. Her view is expressed in texts by several female cyberpunk writers, Gwyneth Jones, Melissa Scott, and Pat Cadigan. The cultural anxieties that these writers illustrate demonstrate our culture's increasingly complex relationship with technology, and also illuminate possible means of future subversion.
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  • description.provenance : Made available in DSpace on 2012-09-05T17:32:12Z (GMT). No. of bitstreams: 1 ScottRon2000.pdf: 3028398 bytes, checksum: 99d73de93da96e58d1ae275c2ab43dc5 (MD5) Previous issue date: 1997-06-02
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Patricia Black(patricia.black@oregonstate.edu) on 2012-09-05T17:32:12Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 ScottRon2000.pdf: 3028398 bytes, checksum: 99d73de93da96e58d1ae275c2ab43dc5 (MD5)

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