Fall, or dodge in hell

Neal Stephensons Fall, or Dodge in Hell är cyberpunk i sitt esse. Samtidsdebatterande, men, med en vindflöjels känslighet, visandes riktningen mot en dystopi som kan bli verklig inom en inte så kort tid.

Ett prima exempel är när Neal Stephenson beskriver en värld där det finns en rak linje mellan KKK, mansrättsaktivisters “beta”-koncept och vidare till hur sociala medier, med Facebook i spetsen, så kraftigt polariserar samhället:

“Maybe it’s because of the burning crosses,” Phil suggested, deadpan, gazing across a few yards of gravel to the massive concrete foundation from which the cross’s steel verticals erupted. Bracketed neatly to the structural members were the tubes carrying the natural gas from an underground pipeline. The actual burners didn’t start until maybe twenty feet above ground level, maybe because they didn’t want to roast parked vehicles. But there was a connection to an outlying altar, already dark with blood and buzzing with flies, including a sort of open crematorium that looked like it could get pretty hot.

“Supposedly the KKK burned crosses,” Ted said with a roll of the eyes.

“There’s no ‘supposedly’ about it,” Anne-Solenne started in. “What are you even—that’s like saying supposedly Muhammad Ali was a boxer. Supposedly Ford makes cars. It’s—” But Sophia silenced her with a hand on the arm. There was no point.

“If that is even true, it has no connection to our burning crosses, which have a completely different significance,” Ted announced.

Sophia said, “Okay. And that is?”

“So-called Christianity, as it existed up until recently, is based on a big lie,” Ted explained.

[…]

“The church that was built on the lie of the Crucifixion,” Ted continued, “had two basic tenets. One was the lovey-dovey Jesus who went around being nice to people—basically, just the kind of behavior you would expect from the kind of beta who would allow himself to be spat on, to be nailed to a piece of wood.

[…]

“So, Martin Luther was running a false-flag operation for the Pope,” Phil said. “In that case—” But he broke off as he felt Sophia stepping on his toe, under the table.

He looked down at her. Having caught his eye, she panned her gaze across the entire scene, asking him to take it all in. Reminding him that this wasn’t Princeton. This was Ameristan. Facebooked to the molecular level.

Dessutom var det en fröjd att även Neal Stephenson kan länkas samman till idén om människor i ekonomiskt utsatta områden som via internet kan som arbete ta vid när AIn inte räcker till som jag skrev om i Kinesisk AI till Västerbotten men med klassiskt cyberpunkiga formuleringar:

Some of the “guards” were just algorithms, analyzing video and audio feeds for suspicious behavior, recognizing faces and cross-checking them against a whitelist of residents, friends, and neighbors, and a blacklist of predators, stalkers, and ex-husbands. Anything ambiguous was forwarded to a Southeast Asian eyeball farm.