Saturday, February 23, 2013

Weekly Response: Gibson/Marcuse, Week 2

As always, your responses/questions should be posted as comments.


Taylor Hochuli said...

The ending of "Neuromancer" posed some challenge for me since it gets very cryptic toward the end. The end of chapter twenty-three sees Case making his final run on the Tessier-Ashpool ice using the Kuang virus (which almost plays out as a sort of jet fighter sequence as case sails over and through the “neon city” in a virus plane-shark thing of some sort). It ends up that he successfully breaks Wintermute and Neuromancer free to make a super-AI at the end, but what exactly happens is kind of unclear to me. Plus we see a weird paragraph structure for the first time in the book when the writing indents over to say:

And his voice the cry of a bird
3Jane answering in song, three
Notes, high and pure,
A true name.”

I feel like this is important due to its unique formatting, but it is hard to say what this section is implying. It could be related somehow to the password 3Jane has to enter for the plan to work, but what is the “true name” that is uttered in “three notes, high and pure?” Plus, Case then has a flashback to Chiba and being in a coffin and viewing the matrix as a microchip before jacking out of the system to hear the music of his Zionist pilot. Although the end confused me slightly, it was very interesting to see the power of the super AI and Gibson’s allusion toward another super-AI construct somewhere in Alpha Centauri. It marks a place where even this advanced world has to go and kind of sets a goal for this future world that we already envision as the future of mankind.

I have one issue with the Marcuse reading, although I agree with his point. He notes that the translation and re-interpretation of general needs into independent ones does not solve the problem, but rather create a more solid “Happy Consciousness” with the system rather than solving the actual problem. This is a very true notion that I’ve even seen in my workplace, although for safety’s sake I won’t post that here on the blog. What I disagree with is that Marcuse focuses on the burden the worker must bear for submitting, “to a treatment which promises to be a success.” He argues that this represses the worker so that he will not question the system when he truly deserves better. I would argue that it would hurt the company more to do this translation of needs. If the workers who demand wages are all fulfilled individually, the problem will still remain. Once the workers realize this then the company will have to pay to maintain the Happy Consciousness of their workers. The companies then also have to pay for an HR department and studies to figure out how to keep the workers repressed. Such expenses add up and will ultimately cause damage to the company, resulting in the workers overthrowing or leaving the system anyway.

Brian DeWillie said...

I thought I was confused by Neuromancer last week and the ending of this book just made it worse for me. I was a little confused by how Case communicated with the AIs. It seems sometimes he is able to just speak with them in the "real world" but then if he is jacked in, that is when he flatlines? Also just a side note 5 minutes without oxygen to the brain is pushing it for permanent brain damage (although it isn't totally unheard of). Additionally, the book wraps up really quickly which I didn't really appreciate. You learn that the super-AI was created but not a clear sense of that that actually meant for the world they were living in.

Janine Talis said...

I found the ending of Neuromancer to be rather anticlimactic. Case makes his final run, but most of the big work is done by a virus already in his possession. Then when it is all over and done with, the AI just "makes" his brain start producing the enzyme that stops the sacs from dissolving. In the end, he spends most of the money on new livers, gets himself a job, and a new girl and "He never saw Molly again." (271). t's all just too neat compared to the rest of the novel. It just makes me wonder, what was the point?

Roger Sepich said...

After finishing the book, I was left confused about what had actually happened and what it meant, but such can be expected when one is forced to quickly read an insanely detailed book that requires time and numerous reads to fully understand. Interestingly enough, it reminded me of how I felt after watching "The Matrix" for the first time.

So I was left with more questions than answers about "Neuromancer". Mainly, why does Wintermute want to merge with Neuromancer, while Molly left Case? Is it really because "Marie France must have built something into Wintermute, the compulsion that had driven the thing to free itself, to free itself" (Gibson 269)? That, like much of this book, just didn't make sense to me.

Karen Knutson said...

Marcuse was interesting with the claim it made about languge. From what I got out of it, the length and complexity of describing things is suppossed to catch the reader off-guard. Its hard to say whether or not Bastion is in a managerial sort of narration as Marcuse is stating because vit is spoken like a story throught, so I would say no to that part of Marcuse's ideas about the new technology. Anyways I read the man versus nature part over again and that works perfectly. (If you haven't guessed it already, I'm writing about Bastion)

I don't like it when Marcuse gives an example in a different language and then doesn't translate it. I know meaning is often lost when things are translated, but its annoying when I can't get is large quotes because I don't speak another language.

Let's just not talk about Neuromancer... overall, long and confusing.