Solarpunk, Cyberpunk and Popculture: Technological Narratives tl;dr

Presented at HOPE 2020 Virtual Rescheduled, July 27, 2020, 11 a.m. (60 minutes)

The western culture offers a very distilled narrative on what technology is and who builds, owns, and profits from it. Most non-technical audiences are unaware of how subjective this perspective is - and how strongly it favors well-marketed multinational corporations over local solutions. This talk will explore most problematic themes in popular culture and how they relate to the hacker approach. The more the technology advances and becomes interconnected and complex, the less the non-technical public understands the changes, their repercussions and the policies that come along with them. Most people end up relying on stories present in the popular culture to understand the tech world around them: the well-polished product ads hidden in their favorite films, the lone genius-inventor legends, cyberpunk visions of a world with no privacy, but so much convenience!

With the constant changes around, it's hard not to be future shocked and give up on any attempts of understanding the technology yourself. The alternative narratives, especially within the hacker scene, are anything but accessible. They're shrouded with technical terms, full of cryptic references and lacking any clear introduction. Very few stories explain why values such as net neutrality are important without speaking code. People need stories with clear explanations appealing to their emotions and remaining in their memories much longer than a dry technical evaluation of pros and cons.


  • Pawel "alxd" Ngei (he/them)
    **Pawel "alxd" Ngei** is a hacker, solarpunk, educator and a free software/open notebook science activist interested in neuroscience, technology, and policies around the world. They are creator of the Glider Ink project and a member of Global Innovation Gathering, connecting hackers from the Global South. Pawel is currently not active in any hackerspace.<br>


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