Well, 2020 officially kickstarted a new decade and with it, speculations on what the future promises. It has only been a couple of weeks, and yet we find ourselves witnessing changes on a global scale. Video games, much like real life, convey the same level of change, mostly depicting our reality in a darker and bleaker fashion. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is one title that comes across as a pure model, more than most games on the market today. After revisiting this game recently in my spare time, I’ve come to realize that a lot of elements mimic that of our inevitable future. So how does this cyberpunk action RPG foretell the direction in which humanity is going? Well, we’re here to take a look and make our analysis.
Science and Evolution
The most noticeable first pick would be the increasing rise of augmentations and prosthetics. By recent analysis, 7.00% of the global population is categorized as being born with a defect. One of the most common is that of congenital amputation, a birth defect of lacking a limb or two. As with the growth of this percentage, prosthetics are more and more massively produced. However, while this is nothing unheard of, science is continuing to innovate with prosthetics much more than before. Innovations in the field of robotics opened up new frontiers.
The possibility of commanding enhanced prosthetics with a mere thought was something unheard of. Companies like Open Bionic, Cyberdyne, and DEKA are some of the most well known, that continue to experiment and research the possibilities of prosthetics. Much like the protagonist of Deus Ex, these sorts of bionics are set to evolve with the coming tide. A chance for all to live a regular life, despite of their defect.
An Augmented Reality
Deus Ex’s most recurring theme is that of Transhumanism. If by any chance, you haven’t come to terms with this movement, we will indulge you. The simplest explanation on the matter is that basically, Transhumanism is a philosophical movement that supports human enhancements. In Human Revolution, players are introduced to a variety of companies, which deal in research and manufacturing of augmentations.
Sarif Industries is one such company that mimics that of Japan’s Cyberdyne. While they, unlike their video game counterpart, do not openly support this movement, they strive for the same goals. A better, faster, stronger future for all. Then they are companies like BiChip in Denmark, which are promoting their chip implants. Now with the idea of reading medical records, identification, and even connecting to wifi. Their most recent update was a built-in cryptocurrency reader, allowing payment via microchip.
The BBC made a lengthy article on this topic in late 2019, discussing how everyday items, such as car keys, are now portable via this method. Who knows, maybe in time, these things will become mandatory. And with more users each year, who knows, perhaps we will all be soon connected by a much similar AI algorithm. However, with each significant change, humanity rebels, and the case is the same in the game.
One of the biggest things that marked 2019, in terms of global trends, was civil unrest. The Arab protests, France, Catalonia, Latin America, and most notably, Hong Kong. These protests were mostly to show dislike of the current regimes in these countries. Yet, if people are more open about protesting then ever before, who says that it can’t happen when it comes to Transhumanism. As shown in Deus Ex, people are afraid of rapid change, especially at its climax.
In the game, the epilogue focuses on the corruption of augmentation chips. Augmented humans become hostile and openly attack non-augmented ones. In the wake of such a disaster, how could humanity not step up and present their concerns? Governments are known to manipulate their countries into unspeakable acts, and humankind, on countless occasions, fights back. In the wake of significant evolution, especially one that is rapid and forced upon, people also tend to revolt. Much like in the game, it will inevitably lead to that. The only question is, will it resolve more peacefully, or turn into all-out urban chaos?
AI and Mass Media
We are going slightly back to the topic of robotics, specifically Artificial Intelligence. By now, everybody knows that it all started with Alan Turing. A man who left a legacy behind that shaped the future generations and is still continuing to evolve to this day. From primitive computers to elaborate algorithms that think on their own, AI will play a prominent role in the future, that much is certain. When it comes to global media, AI has now evolved to a point where it has access to all information. In the game, a certain anchorwoman shows our protagonist the power of the news industry and how she feeds off different data.
Eliza Cassan is the primary example of how AI would work in the future. As an artificial intelligence, she displays uncanny skills of gathering news to peak precision. She is more than just a simple machine, demonstrating compassion and feelings, just like any individual. And like any human being, can lie, which she does on occasion to the protagonist. News media also relies on this a lot, and this card tends to be played, now more than ever.
The final piece of proof comes not in what one can see, but what one can feel. The primary focus in Deus Ex: Human Revolution is powerplay, be that of the Illuminati, or major corporations. Casting a shadow and rising, way above their respective governments, one cannot help but feel that there is a larger scheme here. While it is no secret agent villain scheming, it’s most definitely sinister. Call it superstition, or a conspiracy. But one thing is clear. Monopolies of large industries tower over government positions.
And while seats of power rise and fall over a single night, major players with vast industries standstill. You need not look far from Sarif Industry, Darrow Industries, Tai Yong Medical, and VersaLife. Examples of in-game organizations that pull all the string in the Human Revolution. And yet, there always seems like there is a third hand guiding and ushering new ideas and power seats. While there are other games that represent what humanity could be like, Human Revolution manages that way too realistic. A possibility, or near-perfect example of what the world could look like?