Zombies and cyberpunk have a long, intertwined history, argues xirdalium. It's a fun, useful linkage, letting us link together Frankenstein and The Last Man, viruses and corporations, dystopia and cyborgs.
The main focus of Josh Levin's article is a single day of brainstorming, led by GBN:
For nearly three hours, we run through America-killers that range from the believable to the science fiction-y: rising sea levels, a collapse of entitlement programs, an attack by a foreign power on American soil, a pandemic 10 times worse than the 1918 flu, global domination by a space-faring nation that uses geo-engineering to "turn off" climate change, and the emergence of a transnational class of biologically enhanced supermen and women... who identify more with one another than with any particular nation.
The article also heads off towards Robert Wright, Igor Panarin, and the Institute for the Future. The latter's Jamais Cascio gets his turn to describe several 50-year scenarios:
Cute note about futurism: "Most scenario-planning sessions end with the world stuffed inside a grid."
That email, which is being driven by spam through a phase change into becoming a broadcast medium, was a leading spreading mechanism has led to critiques of the medium itself, most notable the "email is dead" meme. For instance, from the blogRSS wing, Adam Curryrecommends "a publish/subscribe model for personal communications," such as a private, friend-to-friend RSS feed. He cries: "I want a receiver, not a mailbox" (viaLockerGnome).
In contrast, and just before the current crisis began, Siva Vaidhyanathan recommendedp2p as a model for collaborations and cultural vibrancy (among other things, of course), despite the established presence of viruses, spyware, and other dangers in some p2p nets, and the likely current decline in p2p usage.
At the same time we have a new creature: benign worms. Welchia (a/k/a/ Nachi, etc.) invades machines to save them from other worms, even pinging the net to check for successful cleansing. Like the tyranny-smashing worm in Raphael Carter's fascinating first novel The Fortunate Fall , which spreads to compel political organization against a horrible regime, the worm invades our machines deeply to impress them for a higher purpose (thanks to Steven Kaye for getting me to read it). Once again, we find ourselves exploring the posthuman infoscape, with nonhuman entities acting across it, occasionally affecting parts of our blurrily-defined selves. And yet, as Carter's work should remind us, we haven't yet seen worms with more openly understood political purposes - campaign propaganda, crashing machines to hurt or terrify an audiences, mobilization of computing power, etc.