This last week in cyberpunk we witnessed the watchdogs of net neutrality bow their heads before telecom giants, experienced outages in the cloud (thanks to careless techs), and saw some talented hands capture the majesty of robots in the wild. There’s no time to waste. Let’s see what happened this last week in cyberpunk.
Command Line Typo Led to Amazon Maintenance Fiasco
Amazon Web Services experienced an hours-long outage this week after a typo in a command-line execution took multiple servers offline, making websites that rely on its cloud services inoperable. This included, ironically enough, isitdownrightnow.com. Thanks to a postmortem, we now know that the Simple Storage Service team at Amazon were responsible for the error. It’s estimated that the typo cost an approximate $150 million.
FCC Chief: Rollback Net Neutrality
Tom Wheeler, FCC Chairman under President Obama is blasting his replacement for the current administration’s break with net neutrality rules. Where Wheeler sees neutrality as “crucial to the future,” Ajit Pai, his replacement, sees it as a mistake. At the Mobile World Congress this week in Barcelona neither man spoke on access to the internet, but Pai left the lasting impression, calling for the least amount of regulation over the broadband market, potentially showcasing the current admin’s interest in protecting communication rights over internet connections put in place back in 2015.
Engineer Forced to Display Skills Before Entering US
Earlier this week, Celestine Omin, a software engineer from Nigeria, was detained at JFK by Customs officials who didn’t seem to believe he worked in tech. They grilled him with questions about his binary search trees and abstract classes, quizzing him before letting him leave but not before Omin was told “Look, I am going to let you go, but you don’t look convincing to me.” Turns out they only let him go because his employers confirmed his identity.
Facebook to Detect Potential Suicides
Facebook claims to be using their powers of monitoring for the greater good when they announced that they’ve overhauled their suicide prevention tools and made them available across the world. The tools monitor flagged posts and pictures for users regardless of region, leading to faster processing of people who may be prone to self-injurious behavior. This allows friends to assist one another with more robust resources rather than just letting Facebook know.
Boston Dynamics Reveals Handle
Though it was first revealed in a leaked video some weeks back, we now have official video of Handle, Boston Dynamics’ latest robot. Moving past balancing problems of walking units like Atlas, Handle drives downstairs and up hills. And if can’t drive on it, he can jump over it (provided it’s no taller than 4′) or simply pick it up (if it weighs less than 100lbs).
Fire-Spitting Drones Clean Power Lines in China
A power company in Xiangyang, China has decided to tackle their local pollution problem by burning garbage, off power lines, with a drone. No word yet as to how helpful (or harmful) this is to local power and environmental issues, but their solution is inspired to say the least.
Uber in (More) Trouble as Video of Kalanick Berating Driver Makes the Rounds Online
Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, is under a lot of pressure as allegations of sexual harassment and cover-ups barely take the attention away from a Google lawsuit that could sink their autonomous car division. So when Kalanick hopped into Fawzi Kamel’s car on Super Bowl Sunday, he made his company’s situation no better by choosing to pick a fight with one of Uber’s driver. Kamel took the opportunity to point out wage concerns low-level Uber employees have to the top man in the company. This resulted in a verbal altercation between Kalanic and Kamel that was recorded and has since spread across the internet.
In a statement addressing his behavior and disrespecting Kamel, Kalanic wrote in part: “To say that I am ashamed is an extreme understatement. My job as your leader is to lead…and that starts with behaving in a way that makes us all proud. That is not what I did, and it cannot be explained away. It’s clear this video is a reflection of me—and the criticism we’ve received is a stark reminder that I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up. This is the first time I’ve been willing to admit that I need leadership help and I intend to get it.”
Ghost in the Shell’s Wake Up Call
The wait is almost over, but if you can’t wait another moment without seeing more of the live-action adaptation of Shirow Masamune’s Ghost in the Shell, you can now see Mira (not Motoko) wake up in her prosthetic body. Ghost in the Shell premieres in theaters March 31, 2017.
Alien: Covenant Gets an Official Trailer
The first official trailer for Alien: Covenant is finally here. More than two minutes of space-faring couples who have no idea what dangers await them on a strange planet. The poor photogenic fools. We can all see how strong love is when it’s torn apart by xenomorphs on May 19, 2017.
English-speaking anime fans can stop feeling left out. Netflix has released a subtitled trailer for cyberpunk classic BLAME! For the actual movie, we’ll all just have to keep patient until May 20, 2017.
Cyberpunk Short films
Skywatch and the Evils of Amazon Drone Delivery
What’s the cost of convenience? What happens when you disrupt it? And who gets to react to that disruption? Skywatch’s trailer teases all these questions and more, and you can support it on Kickstarter.
Surprising no one who actually watched it, Syfy has decided not to renew the corporate thriller Incorporated for a second season. But for those of who you took a liking to Sean Teale can see him soon as a mutant in Marvel’s untitled X-Men pilot.
Orphan Black Season 5 Trailer
Neolutionists fight for control of the future and Clone Club fights for survival in the first trailer for Orphan Black’s fifth and final season, premiering June 10, 2017.
Return of a Ghostwriter Clip
Here’s something to make you feel old, console cowboy. A clip of a young Julia Stiles playing a cyberpunk-y school paper reporter in Ghostwriter’s “Who is Max Mouse?” has resurfaced online. She’s got some wild ideas about civility online, but at least she knows her Gibson.
Hunger Makes the Wolf
Alex Wells takes readers Tanegawa’s World in Hunger Makes the Wolf (you can get a copy here) where biker/mercenary Hob gets caught up in a murder mystery and a kidnapping plot in the shadow of a corporation that dominates interstellar space travel.
Standard Hollywood Depravity
Has Ray Electromatic finally found love? Or is this all a ruse for a trap set by the mob? Adam Christopher keeps us guessing in Standard Hollywood Depravity (you can get a copy here).
Cyberpunk Video Games
Horizon: Zero Dawn – Come for Robotic Wildlife, Stick Around for Lessons in Photography
While climbing longnecks in the Carja deserts to better sot sawtooths, players have found Horizon: Zero Dawn’s (you can get a copy here) photo mode to be a mini-game in its own right. While we’re enjoying our time with Aloy in this post-postapocalyptic future (expect our review real soon) we’re nowhere near as talented in creating awesome moments as some of the people featured over on Kotaku.
Leeds International Festival Presents: Biohacking, Cyberpunk & Hacker Culture
2017’s Leeds International Festival will present talks on biopunk, cyberpunk, and the hacker culture. Promising to cover both fictional inspirations and real-world applications of science, technology and rebellious attitudes, infosec expert Keren Elazari and biohacker/activist Hannes Sjoblad will be featured speakers at the event. You can purchase your tickets to the conference here.
EFF-Austin Presents Cyberpunk 2017
Heading to Texas for SXSW this year? EFF’s Austin chapter is holding an after party which they’ve dubbed “Cyberpunk 2017: Rushing To Meet Our Real Imagined Future!” Dress up in your best Shadowrun, Deus Ex, Neuromancer, Mr. Robot, or any other cyberpunk cosplay you can think of and get a complimentary drink ticket. But regardless of what you wear, tickets are still free. Still, EFF could use some donations to help continue their operations in Texas. All the info and reservation links can be found here.
Looks like we covered quite a bit. Spot something we didn’t? Let us know in the comments below or on social media.
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