Cyberia: A Pandemic’s Technology

Joel Eisenberg
Aug 10, 2020 · 5 min read

We are inching towards a “Ready Player One” world. Are you ready?

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“Ready Player One” movie poster art, copyright 2018 by Warner Brothers Pictures

Escape.

Reality is a matter of perspective.

If you don’t like where you stand, alter your reality.

With computers. Not drugs.

Today, we’re all capable.

Where do you stand?

We are, after all, the creators.

I’ve named our bold new capability “Cyberia,” as two decades ago I began work on a new screenplay that took a real look at the repercussions of our burgeoning cyber-tech.

I never finished that work.

In “Ready Player One,” the capability became a world and that world was the Oasis.

“Ready Player One” was the 2011 debut novel of Ernest Cline, which was in essence a realized version of the idea I explored 20 years ago. The plot concerned one Wade Watts, a VR gamer in 2045, on a quest for an Easter egg that would allow him to inherit the game developer’s fortune. Steven Spielberg’s film version followed in 2018, utilizing some of the most cutting-edge tech in film, and cameos by numerous pop-culture characters.

Today, the most amazing aspect of the endeavor, to this viewer, is not the film itself. It is that just two years later there is nothing in it that seems unrealistic.

“Ready Player One” Trailer 1

“Ready Player One” took place in a dystopian society.

We now live in a Covid-19-ridden world and have no idea what will be in store for us tomorrow.

And yet, when I recently spent time with one of my nephews, I spent two hours experimenting — okay, playing — with the virtual reality games he had purchased with his birthday money.

I truly could have been in the Oasis.

“Ready Player One” Final Trailer

Why?

Because that world was not all that different than a combination of all those in which my nephew currently spends his spare time.

Whether we call it “Cyberia,” or “Oasis,” we can effectively argue our new world began with the advent of computers. Or, subsequently, video games. Atari’s Pong, introduced to the mainstream in 1972, was among the first home video game product, along with Odyssey’s version released that same year, that revolutionized a nascent industry.

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Atari’s Pong, released in 1972

For a history and progression of of video games, see Wikipedia article here:

Barely five years following the home video game revolution, a new movie arrived that promised to inspire even greater entertainment-related — and non-entertainment-related — tech ahead.

“Star Wars” was released in 1977. Unless you were alive during that period, it is nearly impossible to describe its impact.

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“Star Wars” one-sheet, courtesy Disney/20th Century Fox

The sci-fi smash quickly became the highest-grossing film of all-time, unadjusted for inflation (only “Gone With the Wind” has sold more tickets). Since the time of its release, the film inspired not only an international multi-media franchise, but generations of content creators to push the technological and storytelling envelope, much like its writer and director, George Lucas.

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So what’s next?

James Dean is coming back, for one.

How far can we go?

How far, morally, are we willing to go?

Will still more deceased actors become reanimated in film? Will you interact with those deceased actors in a “Star Trek”-like holodeck?

The following article was published back in 2014:

We’re a hell of a lot further along than many realize.

In a global pandemic, a period where artists are redefining both our modern ways of life and looking ahead still further, tech will no doubt undergo a new turn … as it tends to do in the midst of any cultural shift.

As scientists rush to find a vaccine for Covid-19, many of the rest of us are expressing boredom and a need to escape from our present normal.

And so we begin again, from here:

Escape.

Reality is a matter of perspective.

If you don’t like where you stand, alter your reality.

With computers. Not drugs.

Today, we’re all capable.

Where do you stand?

We are, after all, the creators.

Thank you for reading.

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Joel Eisenberg

Written by

Joel Eisenberg is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and producer. The Oscar in the profile pic isn’t his but he’s scheming. WGA and Pen America member.

FanFare

FanFare

pop culture conversations

Joel Eisenberg

Written by

Joel Eisenberg is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and producer. The Oscar in the profile pic isn’t his but he’s scheming. WGA and Pen America member.

FanFare

FanFare

pop culture conversations

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