Since the beginning of the genre called Science Fiction, everybody has tried to make some guesses about how our future would be. A lot of them have mentioned that we would have flying cars and have possibly colonized parts of our solar system by now. Back to the Future predicted we would have hover boards, automatic zip up shoes, and a lot of other strange things by last year. Star Trek predicted we would have gone through something called the eugenics war, eventually have world war 3, and eventually find warp technology in our coming future. (I think my nerd card might be showing by now). From what I’ve seen so far, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex has the most accurate representation of our future so far. Besides the third world war and the three way split of the United States of America, it really has grasped technology that is physically possible in our near future.
The first part of Stand Alone Complex that jumps out at me is their use of the internet. In the Show, people have cyber brains that allow the spread of an individual’s conscious around the web to talk to more people and individual consciousness. It’s a fully realized and immersive process. We are already seeing the beginnings of this. Smart Phones allow us to communicate with people all over the web wherever we have service. This is a smaller form of putting our consciousness on the web, though we still use our hands to do this. The advent of google glass and the concentration of our companies trying to make the same thing show that we are slowly going in the direction of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Facebook has bought Oculus Rift and is further developing this until it is a sustainable consumer product (1). All these things tell me that we are on the route of achieving a virtual Ghost in the Shell future.
In Stand Alone Complex, most of the main characters are cyborgs. These are humans whose physical abilities are enhanced through technological enhancement. Most of the characters have sections of their body enhanced, but a few of them have their own body enhanced by cybernetics. It has been mentioned that even though full body cyberization is possible, is still obscenely expensive. Body prosthetics are still under developed with our current generation of technology as well. Scientists and Engineers have been working on technology for years. Robotic arms are used in factories, on our International Space Station, and slowly being put on people. These are people who have suffered serious wounds or have had incidents where they have completely lost the control of their limbs. Just last year, Robert Downey Jr, known for acting as Iron Man, presented a 7-year-old a 3-D printed arm. This arm costed only $350 where the usual price is $40,000 (2). It is incredible how far we’ve gotten and how close we are getting.
The source material for Ghost in the Shell came from the 1980’s and Stand Alone Complex came is an alternate form of the it that was made to be produced on tv. The best part of the series isn’t that it has these piece of technology, it also explains how they affect the society around them; The world building in this series is beyond incredible. It’s a very recognizable world to our own that has some minor adjustments to the technology of our own and it’s only 14 years away.