Stranger Than Fiction

Blade Runner Umbrella

Remember the kewl “glowing” umbrellas in Blade Runner? As I already wrote here in my blog, these are available NOW! from a company called Euroschirm.

Unfortunately, the umbrella isn’t shown or listed on their website, but as my readers began to suggest that this ad may be a fake I hunted down another address where YES you CAN order it directly, thanks to the guys at ThinkGeek.com. Here’s the link, and it costs 25$.

Meanwhile, I have found even weirder futuristic umbrella concepts – stuff that the makers of Blade Runner could never even have imagined …

(There’s also a variant to this theme: The Starlight Umbrella uses optic fibres to simulate a glimmering starfield above your head – with changing lights!)

RFID umbrella

Take the RFID umbrella, for instance. What’s that? Basically, it’s a “free to use” umbrella you can just take away and use in case you need it. The RFID chip will monitor your movement (and make sure you don’t steal the umbrella). The Corp that came up with this idea is named “Dutch Umbrella”, and apparently it was a barkeeper who had the original idea. The tech is there and the umbrella seems to be in use already. Click here for a German article from the Stern magazine.

Satellite Link Umbrella

But wait! There’s more! Americans AND Japanese engineers both had the idea to connect an umbrella with a weather forecasting service. While the American umbrella will display weather warnings and such by use of a small LED display, the Japanese umbrella uses the umbrella surface itself as a large projection surface, transforming the umbrella’s underside into a large computer monitor you can also use as a GPS screen or for video conference or whatever.

The main advantage of the US version is that it can already be ordered at – guess where – ThinkGeek.com. Here’s the direct link.

Here’s the website of the JAPANESE umbrella, and here is an (older) video of the umbrella’s 3rd gen prototype test:

[youtube mpHJBWUcpXM]

In case the video won’t play, try this link.

Predicting a Dark Future 2020

This Article on DMNews.com makes some educated guesses about changes to be expected for the year 2020. As might be expected, the picture the article paints is rather grim, even though the predictions are not made by a conspiracy theorist or neo-luddite, but a marketing man.

Here are some excerpts “for immediate use” with your Cyberpunk 2020, CyberGeneration and esp. Cyb3rpunk campaign:

“Auto tracking. Every car will be required to have a transponder, and automated highway readers will record all trips. The transponders will allow agencies to monitor driving habits and to issue electronic tickets for violations. The system will collect fees for using congested roads, replace parking meters and prevent undesirable people from driving in certain areas. For example, pedophiles will not be permitted to drive near schools. Driving with a malfunctioning transponder will be illegal. A black market will emerge in cars registered to “clean” or dead individuals.”

Can you say “new business ventures for fixers and techies”? I thought you could. Continue reading “Predicting a Dark Future 2020”

McDiploma

The United Kingdom has always been a real cyberpunk country.George Orwell wrote “1984” here, and Karl Marx his “Das Kapital”. Its the nation with the highest density of surveilance cameras, and visiting London with your auto makes sure to have your number plate scanned several times.Children and prisoners are RFID-chipped so they can be continually checked upon. We know all this, but I was still shocked to hear their newest idea on how to shove some more power over to the corporations.

They let them give out the A-Levels, which means you can attend university.

McDonalds is one of the very first corporations to start “schooling”. CNN tells you more.

Next time you play a character with some kind of formal education – ask yourself where he got it. And how much he/she learned was advertising…

Ocelot almost predicted this with his sponsored skillchips.

Das Vereinigte Königreich ist sicherlich DAS Land des Cyberpunk.Hier schrieb George Orwell “1984” (Big Brother is watching you), Karl Marx “Das Kapital”. Es ist das Land mit der höchsten Dichte an Überwachungskameras. Wer mit dem Auto in die Londoner Innenstadt fährt, kann sicher sein, dass sein Kennzeichen mehrfach vollautomatisch vom Computer geprüft wird.Kinder und Strafgefangene sollen RFID Chips implantiert/in die Uniform integriert bekommen, damit man sie besser überwachen kann.

Das alles ist nichts neues. Neu ist (und ich mag es immer noch nicht glauben), dass jetzt das Abitur dort von McDonalds verliehen werden kann. (Quelle: Der Spiegel).

Ein solches McAbitur soll den Zugang zur Hochschule ermöglichen. Auch wenn man in der “Schule” vor allem gelernt hat, eine McDonalds-Filiale zu managen.

Wenn du nächstes Mal einen Charakter baust, kannst du die Frage “Wo bist du zur Schule gegangen?” ganz neu beantworten. Und auch, was von dem was dein Charakter gelernt hat Werbung war…

Der Spiegel bringt es schön auf den Punkt:

Künftig können sich britische Schüler also entscheiden: entweder Kochen in der Schule lernen – oder Abi bei McDonald’s.

Als Spielhilfe empfehle ich zu dem Thema Ocelots Artikel über werbefinanzierte Skillchips.

Snitch-Chip today its for pupils, tomorrow for the wage-slave

The ARCH Blog informs us about a projekt in a british secondary school where pupils have RFID chips in their uniform that transmits rather sensitive data:

The chip connects with teachers’ computers to show a photograph of the pupil, data about academic performance and whether he or she is in the correct classroom.

Well, next time you start your Cyberpunk 2020 game with the PCs flipping burgers somewhere, you know how to make them rebel… why wouldn’t they be chipped, too?

“Mr. Anderson, we noticed that your average toilet time is 0.4% higher then the average for male employees. This reduces your productivity and costs the company a lot of money. See to it that you come to terms with this problem!”

Its stunning what you would be able to learn about the person chipped.

With this amount of spying, its easy to rationalise why someone would feel punk enough to grab a gun and become an outlaw…