How J.G. Ballard Foresaw the Future #cyberpunk

The influence on cyberpunk of New Wave sci-fi author, J.G. Ballard, cannot be overstated. Ballard, along with other New Wave authors of the 60s and 70s, like William Burroughs, Phillip K. Dick, Alice Bradley Sheldon (known as James Tiptree, Jr.), and Ursula K Le Guin explored themes of rebellion, drug experiences, sexual liberation, environmental perils, surrealism, the surveillance state, and paranoia. It was this sort of proto-punk rock futurism and blatant rules-breaking that would have a strong influence on 80s cyberpunk lit.

Ballard’s cynicism about technology and techno-futurism informed almost all of his writing. On Ted Gioia’s Culture Notes of an Honest Broker, he rounds up interview excerpts of Ballards that show just how much of the future he could glimpse through his cynical and dystopic lens in the 1970s:

J.G. Ballard predicts Google (1971)

“The technology of the information-retrieval system that we employ is incredibly primitive. We fumble around in bookshops, we buy magazines or subscribe to them. But I regard myself as starved of information. I am getting a throughput of information in my imaginative life of one-hundredth of what I could use. I think there’s an information starvation at present and technology will create the possibility of knowing everything about everything.”

J.G. Ballard predicts Facebook (1977)

“All this, of course, will be mere electronic wallpaper, the background to the main program in which each of us will be both star and supporting player. Every one of our actions during the day, across the entire spectrum of domestic life, will be instantly recorded on videotape. In the evening we will sit back to scan the rushes, selected by a computer trained to pick out only our best profiles, our wittiest dialogue, our most affecting expressions filmed through the kindest filters, and then stitch these together into a heightened re-enactment of the day. Regardless of our place in the family pecking order, each of us within the privacy of our own rooms will be the star in a continually unfolding domestic saga, with parents, husbands, wives and children demoted to an appropriate supporting role.”

J.G. Ballard predicts memes and ideas going viral (1978)

“In the future—this is part of the problem in the ‘arts’ as well—you will get some radical new idea, but within three minutes it’s totally accepted.”

J.G. Ballard predicts the selfie (1978)

“In exactly the same way as when you at last get a camera you spend your time photographing children playing in a paddling pool. . . . I think the same thing will happen, beginning with people endlessly photographing themselves.”
Read the rest.


Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Join 28,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more https://www.instagram.com/adafruit/

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org


Maker Business — Peloton to break ground at a new manufacturing campus in Ohio

Wearables — Tear it all apart

Electronics — Disable unused channels!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: CircuitPython tops Tom’s Hardware Best RP2040 Boards 2021 and more #Python #Adafruit #CircuitPython @micropython @ThePSF

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Toddler Clock, Predictive Weather Station, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — Arcade Beginner Skillmap

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — New Products 06/16/21 feat. Terminal Block Breakout Module Board for Raspberry Pi Pico!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !



No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.