How CLOSE are we to the Neuromancer world?

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Neuromancer speaks about SimStim — a simulated stimulation — in which you experience all five senses through another person. I’d like to say that we’re a little too far from that one, currently. We are, though, closer to achieving a virtual reality (VR) world that could potentially stimulate your senses. VR technology now currently is used in clinical trials as a pain reliever, whether it’s emotional or physical, and has been applied to medical treatments. I’ve included a video that visually explains how it’s applied.

As a biology/pre-med student and neuroscience enthusiast, I feel like we’re so close to making VR an actual stimulation-filled world. Neuroscientists who are interested in VR, and vise-versa, would be able to combine the two ideas to find out how to stimulate a person’s senses via electrodes connected to their brain in a VR headset. I mean it seems like a far-off idea, but we’ve got the foundations laid out already. Neuroscientists can play with basic sensations and incorporate it to the exponentially-growing VR world. Though the VR world seems more cartoon-like than what I’d imagine a finished VR world would look, we can only assume that VR will integrate higher graphics processing units in their headsets.

Electrodes are not necessarily the ones that involve opening your head and deep stimulating your brain, but we COULD get there. Health implications do arise in that case, but the possibilities of SimStim would be much more feasible. Logistically, it seems like there’s a lot to talk about and a lot of ideas that need to be refined, but theoretically — we’re close. Far closer than I had initially thought we were.

childrenshospitalOAK. “Virtual Reality (VR) Pain Relief UCSF Benioff Childrens Hospital Oakland.” YouTube, YouTube, 23 Aug. 2016,

Posted from Digital 101 by Christy

Manipulation and Humanity

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“Oh, and I’m sorry about Linda, in the arcade. I was hoping to speak through her, but I’m generating all of this out of your memories, and the emotional charge…. Well it’s very tricky. I slipped. Sorry.” (p. 119) The scene of Case and Linda in the arcade, as well as Deane’s explanation of the interaction, brings up many interesting aspects of the story line. While in the matrix, Case finds Wintermute but is detected and must quickly escape. He wakes up outside and arcade and finds Linda before being woken from this memory. A common theme throughout Neuromancer is the break between the mind and body. The body is often referred to as meat, illustrating the lack of value placed upon it and the individual. For me, this scene took that separation a step further. As Case comes out of the arcade scene, the author describes the memory hitting him like a “microsoft into a socket. Gone. He smelled burning meat” (p. 117). Comparing Case’s memory to a microsoft is another example of the body being seen as a machine. However, what I believe takes this a step further is the smell of burning meat. Is this symbolic of Case further losing his identity or even his humanity?

During Deane’s, or rather Wintermute’s, explanation of Case’s interaction with Linda, it comes out that it was an unsuccessful ploy to allow Wintermute to communicate with Case through his memories. This is just one of the many times Case has been manipulated since the start of his mission. In the beginning of the book, Armitage provides Case with the surgery that will allow him to enter cyberspace once again. However, there is a catch, he also puts sacks of toxins in his blood that will undo the results of the surgery if Case does not complete his mission on time. During chapter nine, readers are given more insight to why Case is being manipulated. Wintermute is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) and has been the one giving Armitage his assignments. Additionally, Wintermute, who has been disguising himself as Deane, reveals that he is only one-half of a “potential entity” (p. 120). This conversation provides a lot of insight to readers about the motives behind Case’s missions but leaves them intrigued about the other entity that Wintermute referenced.

Knowles, N. (2016, October 21). [Neuromancer Illustrations]. Retrieved August 27, 2017, from, W. (1984). Neuromancer. Penguin Group.

Posted from Intro to Digital Studies by Kat