This essay argues that for cypherpunk activists, the power of technology over individuals and the nature of people’s identity provide the points of difference with cyberpunk writers. For the cyberpunks, identities are framed in context, so that an aggressive elite can adopt technology to disempower the mass of citizens. For the cypherpunks, identities are instead autonomous from context; therefore, citizens can use technology for self-empowerment. The paper also deals with the future of identity.
Enrico Beltramini, Ph.D., is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Religious Studies at Notre Dame de Namur University.