“Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment
Make no mistake, the perfect unsolvable future crime lurks out there somewhere, just waiting for somebody to happen upon it in all its devious potentiality. It prowls the alleyways of speculative thought; skulking behind notions as yet unrealised. It may even escape detection from the burgeoning array of developing Minority Report style Precrime Units.
Have fear, for it crouches out there in the most creative recesses of the Jungle of the mind for some willing or unwilling performer to light the touchpaper and put the plot in motion.
Whether the criminal/s will hide behind the political convictions of those uniformed or casual wearing damned souls who believe that they have the capacity to transform this gravity-burdened dirt ball for the better (always a sure sign of bloodshed ahead) with a globalised society shattering event; whether they desire plain old vengeance for an ill-perceived deed done unto them; or whether they just want that old fantasy of wealth, sipping Margaritas on the squeaky white sandy beaches of a tax haven, you can feel certain that the moment of the breaking of the illicit clouds moves closer with every tick tock of a dying analog clock.
Some might say that the current technocratic, corrupted and crony capitalist system survives due to criminal tendencies, even more so now in its wounded animal state, and that the Banking High Priests carry out raids of algorithmic financial destruction every second of every day.
Those who speak such words may well utter the truth.
Besides having the potential to feed, clothe, house and heal the world’s population, technology permits us to destabilise, devour and destroy every single sentient being on the planet; has done for a long while now. The crimes that technology will no doubt usher in might spread widespread confusion, panic and a even perhaps an unknowing and unwilling criminality into our lives. After all, it only takes a ticking of a bureaucratic box for the everyday to become the illegal, and you know how our beloved leaders lean towards an evidence based solution to decree what we can or cannot do. That last part consisted of sarcasm, not yet illegal; unlike causing offense.
With the five technologies of nanotech, biotech, blockchain, AI and 3D printing zooming towards a head-on collision with our powers-that-be’s still 20th Century mentality, the old governing paradigms could deem innovative thought itself unlawful, as they and their parasitic cronies calculate the loss in value of their shares (or bonds) as the forward thinking entrepreneurial motherfuckers start to propagate cheaper solutions to take control over one’s ever-lengthening yet increasingly meaningless life.
As we already have the capacity to arm ourselves using 3D printers, might we not see mini-factories of revolution springing up in the disgruntled suburbs where the working stiff transforms into Mad Max. Or algorithm based AI vigilantes increasing the digits found in the bank accounts or cryptocurrency wallets of the oppressed by a thousandfold. Imagine getting new and illegal hallucinogenic drugs designed to meet the makeup of your grey matter for your own personal high, spiritual experience or Dark Night of the Soul. As I asked in my previous piece, what of victimless crimes, where the downloaded among us wear bodies like brand clothing and allow those of us still in the earthy meat world to inflict torture and bloody atrocities upon them to once again feel something in contrast to their immortal yet intellectually ethereal online existence. In my mind’s eye I can also see clouds of sentient nanobots mugging passersby for their DNA, to pass on the coded information to corporations or governments in a spate of genetic espionage in order to assist with their controlling and human-shaping biotech shenanigans.
Being a writer, of sorts, I cannot help but ask myself how shall our future chroniclers portray such tales of ill-doing, conspiracy and espionage in their as yet undreamed of chosen media?
Film Noir and its various offshoots, both literary and cinematic became the 20th Century’s most stylish representation of criminal activities, femme fatales, losers and the shadowy Manichean decadence that they inhabit. With its German Expressionistic chiaroscuro and its tough individualist and existentialist, almost Gnostic, outlook, Noir in its purest form seems very much a genre of its post-Holocaust atomic time. Of course, Neo-Noir reared its post modern and rain sodden head throughout the Eighties and Nineties often combining stylistic flourishes and genre with genre-defying execution. With a different kind of Cold War looming on the horizon and a new kind of criminal emerging, a futuristic expression tails writers and filmmaker’s, just out of sight, behind the backs of their screens and cameras. Maybe the term Neon-Noir would fit the current dark glow off our screens.
We have yet to truly understand the factors perfuming our Post-9/11 times and give a name to the philosophical bent of our current high-tech and low value Anthropocene era. As our society continues to fragment and vapourise in the coming years, perhaps the idea of genre will do so too. As Kornel Mundruczo, the Hungarian director of upcoming Animal Horror flick White God, recently stated in The Guardian (Xan Brooks, 16/16/14), “Today, if I walk from one block of Budapest to the other, I feel that I’m passing from a melodrama to an action movie to a political drama to a fantasy. Everything’s running together. So a mixed-genre movie is the only one that makes sense.”
With our culture’s increasing love affair with the all-powerful image and the omnipresent surveillance state, everyday fantasy and reality become increasingly intermingled to the point where, who knows, we might well soon become the reality stars of our own criminal movies just by giving one of those intrusive cameras a well-deserved dirty look.