Tag Archives | William Gibson

New Billboard Ads Will Use Facial Recognition Technology

Karen Chan 16 (CC)

It sounds like something from one of William Gibson’s cyberpunk novels, proving once again how prescient Mr. Gibson was regarding the tense relationship between humans and technology. Sarah Freishtat reports for the Washington Times:

As you scan the face on that giant billboard, it may just be scanning your face right back.

Increasingly sophisticated digital facial-recognition technology is opening new possibilities in business, marketing, advertising and law enforcement while exacerbating fears about the loss of privacy and the violation of civil liberties.

Businesses foresee a day when signs and billboards with face-recognition technology can instantly scan your face and track what other ads you’ve seen recently, adjust their message to your tastes and buying history and even track your birthday or recent home purchase. The FBI and other U.S. law enforcement agencies already are exploring facial-recognition tools to track suspects, quickly single out dangerous people in a crowd or match a grainy security-camera image against a vast database to look for matches.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

William Gibson Answers Readers’ Questions on Intelligence Communities, Style and More

WilliamGibson

Photo: Gonzo Bonzo (CC)

Here are some notes from an older (September 2010) questions and answers session from William Gibson’s Zero History tour. Via Technoccult:

Asked about the intelligence communities in his books

I don’t want anyone to think I’ve gone “Tom Clancy” but what you find is that you have fans in every line of work. How reliable those narrators are I don’t know, but they tell a good story.

Asked about humor in his work.

Neuromancer was not without a comedic edge. My cyberpunk colleagues and I back in our cyberpunk rat hole sniggered mightily as we slapped our knees.

But writers can’t have more than two hooks. “Gritty, punky,” sure. “Gritty, punky, funny” doesn’t work.

I asked him about the slogan “Never in fashion, always in style” because I read that slogan on his blog and never found out what company that slogan actually belonged to.

Aero Leathers in Scotland.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Cyberpunk on the Small Screen (Video)

CyberpunkGood day, Cybernauts. We've been enjoying this endearing flick for some time, but are just now getting around to posting about it. Cyberpunk is a 60-minute documentary from 1990 that serves as a charming bookend to the William Gibson documentary No Maps for These Territories. While Gibson is featured prominently in this doc, it also expands out to illuminate an entire slice of the late '80s/early '90s culture that used to be featured in the late, great Mondo 2000 magazine. Cyberpunk Review offers these insights:
Cyberpunk is a documentary that looks back at the 80s cyberpunk movement, and more specifically, how this has led to a trend in the “real” world where people were starting to refer to themselves as “cyberpunk.” The documentary sees “cyberpunks” as being synonymous with hackers. A number of writers, artists, musicians and scientists are interviewed to provide context to this movement. The guiding meme, as told by Gibson, is that information “wants” to be free. 60s counter-culture drug philosopher, Timothy Leary, provides a prediction that cyberpunks will “decentralize knowledge,” which will serve to remove power from those “in power” and bring it back to the masses. Many different potential technologies are discussed, including “smart drugs,” sentient machines, advanced prosthetics — all of which serve to give context to the idea of post-humanity and its imminent arrival on the world stage.
Continue Reading

William Gibson on ‘Google’s Earth’

It's probably not entirely coincidental that William Gibson chose to pen this op-ed for the New York Times the week before his new book Zero History is released, but nonetheless you have to pay attention when the author of Neuromancer shares his thoughts on the future landscape of computing and artificial intelligence:
Vancouver, British Columbia “I actually think most people don’t want Google to answer their questions,” said the search giant’s chief executive, Eric Schmidt, in a recent and controversial interview. “They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next.” Do we really desire Google to tell us what we should be doing next? I believe that we do, though with some rather complicated qualifiers. Science fiction never imagined Google, but it certainly imagined computers that would advise us what to do. HAL 9000, in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” will forever come to mind, his advice, we assume, eminently reliable — before his malfunction. But HAL was a discrete entity, a genie in a bottle, something we imagined owning or being assigned. Google is a distributed entity, a two-way membrane, a game-changing tool on the order of the equally handy flint hand ax, with which we chop our way through the very densest thickets of information. Google is all of those things, and a very large and powerful corporation to boot...
Continue Reading

William Gibson Reveals His Favorite Science Fiction

William Gibson's new novel, <a href=William Gibson, generally credited as one of the progenitors of the cyberpunk genre of sci fi (Neuromancer being one of the seminal novels in the genre), has given New York Magazine a list of his favorite science fiction novels:

Tiger! Tiger! (1956)
By Alfred Bester

It’s also known as The Stars My Destination. My favorite literary expression of mid-century Manhattan, and I doubt I’d have written without having read it.

Dhalgren (1975)
By Samuel R. Delany

It won’t work unless you can allow it to become your head for a few weeks; it helps if you’re rather young. Closest thing I know to a great “sixties” novel.

Arslan (1976)
By M. J. Engh

A very different sort of alien invasion: America as Earth. One of the best works of science fiction you probably haven’t heard of.

The Crystal World (1966)
By J. G. Ballard

It’s hard to pick just one Ballard, but you could certainly start with this.

Read the rest
Continue Reading