Identity in a Technologic World

As technology increases and becomes more invasive throughout society, unique identities seem to be lost. In Neuromancer, the identities of the characters persistently change and even identities can be replicated. Perhaps Gibson is trying to make the claim that with such omnipresence of technology, one cannot truly be his or her self.

The Tessier-Ashpool family epitomizes the strength of technology and the lessening role of identity in this futuristic society. Tessier-Ashpool gained its fortune from technology and used it to clone Jane and Jean, members of the family. Each of them was cloned ten times, weakening the distinctness of their individuality. Also, Ashpool modified a person to look like 3Jane. At first glance, it appears to be her, but in reality it was just a prostitute. Ashpool is able to use technology to manipulate people’s identity and therefore decline the uniqueness of 3Jane.

Armitage’s identity is also questionable. Armitage is his new persona, completely different from his past, Colonel William Corto. Technology was used to manipulate Corto, completely physically and mentally, in order for him to believe he was his new identity. However, when Armitage starts to break down he reverts back to the past. He starts talking as if he was Corto, his old facade. The reader therefore questions if techonolgy was able to completely replace identity or was the real Corto always still there. With all of the technologic advances to make Corto a new person, he still reverted back. Gibson here demonstrates how the use of technology in this society questions the real role of identity in Armitage.

Gibson delineates through these characters that in such a high technologic world, the uniqueness and individuality of each person can be mutilated. The identity of one person can easily become the identity of someone else. Or even more so the identity of a person can completely change. Gibson perhaps wants the reader to grasp the concept that the most interesting part of human nature is that all of humanity is different, and with technology that facet can unfortunately change.

1 comment
  1. Ali, I understand how you can see identities shifting in the novel, but can you connect it more clearly to technology? And what might Gibson be saying about our present day (either in 2012 or when he wrote it in 1984)?

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