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Snow Crash is a science fiction novel authored by Neal Stephenson in 1992. It has a wide variety of themes similar to those in other texts by Stephenson. In addition to science, it integrates linguistics, religion, philosophy, and politics, among others. Seven years after the publication of the book, the author enlightened his readers about the title of the book. It was an inspiration from a disturbing noise that emanated from faulty televisions. The themes in the novel apply in today’s society thus his readers relate well with the book. In fact, Stephenson manages to create a depiction of today’s society in the novel. Stephenson’s book received awards in 1993 and 1994. They were the British Science Fiction and Arthur C. Clarke’s award, respectively. Also, there has been speculation regarding a theatrical performance of the novel. Directors and producers reckon that the story would be best suited for a short film. Most series films require sequels, and Stephenson’s novel does not give room for the same. This paper explores the relationship between contemporary society and the science fiction of 25 years ago.
Irrespective of its historical context, there is a significant connection between society and early science fiction. Fore mostly, it is salient to note the presence of hackers in the novel. Hiro, the protagonist, is rendered the most experienced hacker among all of them. In fact, it is intriguing that his interest in technology begins after he loses his job at a pizza place. He partners with Y.T, a 15-year old, with whom they decipher a virus affecting computers. Clearly, the technology of hacking was a speculation dated to 25 years ago.
In contemporary society, some hackers interfere with various intelligence services. They hack social media sites, business websites, bank accounts and personal computers, among others. Some hackers spread computer viruses to numerous computers thus manage to hack into personal and confidential information. However, due to advancements in technology, the hackers in contemporary society are more informed as compared to those in Snow Crash.
Similarly, in modern society, there are combined and merged businesses. Snow Crash portrays that companies and corporations merge for better results. The for-profit organization, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), merges with the Library of Congress to form Central Intelligence Corporation (CIC). Hiro and Y.T work for the CIC before discovering the computer virus called Snow Crash. The author depicts that successful programming and intelligence may be present in large companies. For this reason, there are many mergers and conglomerates in the modern society. Such large companies often emanate from cooperation between two or more businesses.
It is clear that the early practice has a close relationship with the happenings in contemporary society. Contrariwise, some of the programmers in Snow Crash worked independently. It may be difficult to execute all roles single-handedly but, in 1992, there were good programmers. Unfortunately, that is not the case in today’s society. Most of the programmers are dependent on their colleagues to achieve maximum results. Just like in Snow Crash, there is also that small percentage of modern-day programmers that fear to lose their independence. Therefore, they do not succumb to merging or creating conglomerates with other companies. It is interesting that Stephenson’s book offers another speculation regarding modern-day technology.
Additionally, Stephenson gives his readers insight into the existence of digital libraries in 1992. As earlier mentioned, when the Library of Congress merged with CIA, they created CIC. There is more dissemination of digital information in the form of videos and books. Some of the digital material include e-books and Google books that may be found in online libraries today. They also obtain data from different sources to keep the business running. In libraries today, people may search for books within databases rather than conducting manual searches. Indeed, there is a succinct relationship between modern and earlier technology.
In Snow Crash, there is the creation of virtual globes such as Google Earth. This technology is similar to CIC’s Earth invention. As a matter of fact, there are dire speculations regarding emanation of Google Earth. Experts claim that the technology was motivated by Stephenson’s novel, Snow Crash. They also attribute the existence of Google Earth to Powers of Ten, a film released in 1977. It is evident that the author succinctly speculates and predicts the existence of Google Earth. Clearly, there is a close relationship between contemporary and past technological instances.
The author also delineates the existence of computers, cell phones, and the internet, 25 years ago. It is salient to learn that the prevalence of the Internet began in the late 20th century. The development of the Mosaic Web instigated the development of the internet. There is clear evidence of the Internet in Snow Crash. The author informs his readers that computer users linked their machines to the internet for various purposes. The Metaverse, in the novel, is a virtual area that involves the combination of elements including the internet. In fact, Stephenson uses Metaverse to create emphasis on the predictions about the modern-day internet. The personal goggles used in the Metaverse exhibit faster connection in comparison to the shared ones. In contemporary society, public internet is often slow as compared to personal internet connections.
There is also the presence of wireless internet connection within the Metaverse in Snow Crash. In contemporary society, the internet is one of the most useful technological advances. People use the internet for various purposes such as education, entertainment, research, and communication, among others. Using the Metaverse, it is salient that the early technology may be dated to today’s technological advances. Irrespective of the improvements today, the relationship between old and modern technology is widely noted. Also, it is necessary to observe the presence of computers in Snow Crash.
Just like today, the early computers ran on the Windows Operating System. It is, however, chief to note the slight differences between the machines. Stephenson examines that the computers in 1992 operated on Windows 3.1. There is an apparent disparity regarding the advancements of computers in contemporary society. The latest version today is the Windows 10 Operating System. However, it is salient to note that most users prefer the Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 due to their simplicity and ease of use. In 1992, individuals also had cell phones. However, they were as powerful. They lacked some settings such as internet access and GPS. Some of the early models included Siemens and Motorola, among others. There are formidable advancements of cell phones today. In point of fact, they are referred to as Smart Phones due to their significant capabilities. Some of the improvements in the mobile phone include the creation of touch screen, camera options, colored screens, easy internet access and large screens, among others. Indeed, Stephenson’s ideas were a definite prediction of the future technology.
The contrast between the early and modern laptop technology is salient in Snow Crash. The creation of laptops in 1992 was a disaster as they did not offer much assistance to users. They lacked certain specifications in comparison to computers. In fact, desktops in 1992 were also a failed attempt that stifled technological advancements. It is, however, ironical that the users in Snow Crash possess flawless laptops. The protagonist is one of the characters with an advanced laptop in his possession. As the story continues, Hiro acquires a better computer for his successful completion of his duties.
Today, there is still the existence of computers and laptops that are outdated. They are no longer used by people due to the immense advancements in technology. Just like the ones in 1992, they do not have colored screens. As a matter of fact, some of them may be dated to more than 25 years ago. The laptops in Snow Crash closely resemble the ones in contemporary society. Most individuals possess machines and devices that are overly advanced. Some users prefer updated devices thus they pick the best ones on the market. For instance; The Apple Company creates updates from time to time. They lure people to be constantly up to date with their products and services. There is salient evidence that Stephenson uses Snow Crash to initiate speculations about futuristic technology. For this reason, there is a close relationship between early and modern technology.
Lastly, Stephenson acknowledges the presence of skateboards and skating in his novel, Snow Crash. Before Y.T partners with Hiro, she works at a skateboard place. The author employs the use of smart wheels in his novel. In fact, he also uses the concept in another of his science fiction novels. According to Stephenson, they are fictitious wheels used on skateboards and motorcycles. There is a precise prediction of futuristic technology apropos of smart wheels. Today, there is an advanced technology regarding skateboards. Some of the newly invented boards include hover-boards with wheels resembling the smart wheels. There is a great prevalence of hover-boards in most films today. Apparently, Stephenson uses his ideas to predict the later technology.
The paper has clearly shown the relationship between contemporary society and earlier technology. Through Stephenson’s novel, Snow Crash, there is a great insight on technological advances. He incorporates useful ideas that assist his readers in understanding the similarities and differences between technology in the past, present and future. Regardless of the various societal aspects, this paper examined technological progress from the 20th century. Stephenson’s book clearly depicts the irrelevance of historical contexts. He emphasizes the great resemblance between the past and future society. The ideas in his book are dated about 25 years ago. However, readers in the 21st century substantially relate to the experiences and happenings in Snow Crash. The paper also explored the importance of conglomerates and mergers in companies. Even in 1992, business people knew that teamwork is better than individuality. A small group of programmers worked alone but, most of them worked together. It is indeed, factual that, Snow Crash presents a vision of the future that is satirical and over the top, where technology and identity are inseparable.
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