Neuromancer #1

Through Gibson’s imagination, what is the message he’s trying to show about the influence of technology and the potential of mankind?

In 1984, Gibson had already drawn a parallel between present and future technology. Currently, technology plays an irreplaceable role in our daily life, and this phenomenon also happens in Neuromancer.

Through his prediction of future, Gibson has envisioned an upcoming trend, in which technology will no longer be parts of our life, but parts of us, including intelligence and organs. The artificial and technological organs are similar to plastic surgery and organ replacement nowadays, and this further proven that how Gibson’s imagination corresponds to current event.

One of the technological surgery comes from Armitage’s past identity, Colonel Willis Corto, as Case describes that, “the war ended nine days later, and Corto was shipped to a military facility in Utah, blind, legless, and missing most of his jaw.” (Gibson 83) While technology has cured him, it has also made “him became a subject in an experimental program that sought to reverse schizophrenia.” (Gibson 84) By describing the pros and cons of technological surgery, Gibson warns the reader that technology can be beneficial but also lethal and turn human into spiritless, empty shell. Similar situation happens to Case too, Armitage cures him but replace “fifteen toxin sacs bonded to the lining of various main arteries.” (Gibson 45) Therefore, as he finds out how quickly technology is developing in 1984, Gibson is trying to show that technology should remain as a helpful tool in our life.

While having a hard time understanding the vocabulary, I found it amazing how Gibson could come up with various words that do not exist in his era. Some argue that the story do not make any sense, since Gibson has made up words that do not exist in the dictionary, such as the word “cyberspace.” To me, however, the words open up another conceptual world that seems plausible. I believe that human has the intelligence to survive under any condition, even when global warming is getting more serious and the end of 2012 is right around the corner. Technology is helpful in developing the potential and survival of mankind. To answer the question, “Nothing is impossible,” but we should remain cautious on how we are using our resources without taking for granted on technology.

10 comments
  1. I tend to agree with your point about Gibson illustrating through this novel that technology is a useful tool, but can also be harmful if used improperly. It is very clear that this society as well as our own cannot live with out technology, however I also think that Gibson is making the point that technology can not fully function without real life things as well. The way that Case is easily able to switch between the real world and cyberspace shows that both can not live with out each other. That in order for technology to work, we need the real world as well. For example when Case is able to be in cyberspace, but can still be in the sensorium of Molly, illustrates that one is needed just as much as the other.

    1. Nicely observed, Mariah. The question, perhaps, is whether Case realizes this or not…

  2. In discussions of technological advances, one controversial issue has been the decision to artificially improve what should be considered the natural human condition (life span, cloning, etc…). On the one hand, Gibson argues that it is vital to be “improved” for humans to survive. On the other hand, Gibson contends that with all the technology in the world of Neuromancer, one is never safe. Others even maintain that technology does not benefit human beings at all (grandparents most likely). My own view is partial to both sides. Seeing the benefits and disadvantages of technology in an ever evolving world is critical. I like your insight.

    1. I also think it is very interesting that Gibson was able to come up with words that didn’t actually exist, but really help to paint a picture of the futuristic society Case is living in. While these words and phrases do make the novel difficult to understand, I agree that some aspects of the world Gibson is describing actually do seem plausible. We are already so dependent on technology that there is no telling how far technological advancements will go in the future.

  3. Technology is playing a larger and more important role in society as time goes on. As of now, humans find it difficult to live technology-free for even a short amount of time since the real life and technology have merged into an inseparable world.
    Improvements in the medical field are ever-changing as new diseases are cured and equipment invented. Gibson glances into the future where technology completely alters the medical world. It is frightening to imagine a world in which medical procedures could influence a person’s personality or make it disappear, as Jen touched on. I believe that, one day, the world which Gibson imagined could be so over taken by technology that people may begin to act less like humans and more like the robots their surgeries turned them into.

  4. I see your point Jen; Gibson does portray technology as a helpful tool. I also agree with Mariah. Armitage is a clear example of how technology can change humanity. Armitage, to me, represents technology. He also takes control of Case and Molly as he just bursts into their room, wakes them, and takes them to Istanbul. Case and Molly have no choice; Armitage overrides any human response.

  5. I definitely agree with your point concerning Gibson’s emphasis on both a good side and bad side of technology. Technology should remain something helpful in our life, but it should not reach such an extreme that it completely controls our lives, and subsequently replaces free will. Mariah states that cyberspace and the real world cannot live without each other. The fact that there seems to be such a dependence on cyberspace seems as if technology has become a true addiction to the people that live in this world. I’m not talking about 1000 texts a month; it would be more like cocaine or the crazy drugs they do in this book. If this is such an extreme could Gibson be attempting to set the limit on how far technology can continue to develop, for it seems like there has to a stopping point, right? I’d say there is a chance.

    1. Good points, Josh. But you inadvertently highlight something interesting: how often are the characters in the novel using cyberspace? Who is using it and why?

  6. An interesting conversation happening here everyone. Jen, it’s worth pondering whether the technology that Corto has been subjected to is what turned him into a schizophrenic. I’m not entirely sure about that.

    It’s also worth remembering my claim (which you don’t necessarily have to accept) that humans are by definition a technological species. Is what Gibson is talking about really all that different from the changes that we have gone through as a species?

  7. I completely agree with your point Jen. As you already stated, Gibson uses Neuromancer to express the pros and cons of technology in society. Going beyond that point, I believe Gibson also uses the idea of technology to show that everything comes with a price. For example, when Case gets fifteen toxin sacs bonded to multiple arteries, Armitage gives him an ultimatum. “Do the job and I can inject you with an enzyme that will dissolve the bond without opening the sacs…otherwise the sacs melt and you’re back where I found you.” (Gibson 46). Gibson clearly demonstrates to the audience that even beyond technology, everything comes with a price. He hints to the idea that in society, both in cyberspace and reality, people pursue actions not because they feel to the need to help, but because they know they will get something in return. This is another point that proves the as technology further develops, it allows people to manipulate its use for their own benefit.

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