Cyberpunk 2020's Description of What Society Would Be Like Is Borderline Prophetic

At the tail end of the last century, we believed the future would have cool things like flying cars and hoverboards. We did end up getting some pretty stellar things, such as instantaneous communication and the ability to have a fresh pizza show up at your door by pressing the screen a few times on your handheld computer phone. However, what we mostly got was a first world so cocky and unbothered that it began becoming overly concerned about things that shouldn’t matter that much.


For instance, society has become unnecessarily obsessed with representation and equality in outcome. Everyone is special, whether they earned that label or not. They’ve become focused on identities and the politics that go with it, and any kind of resistance against this kind of identitarian thinking will see you labeled as a social pariah, guilty of every “ist” and “phobe” they can throw at you, whether you’re guilty of being that or not.

And the accused very often isn’t guilty.

In 1994, a tabletop role-playing game created by Mike Pondsmith was issuing a rule supplemental for the game Cyberpunk 2020 called “Neo Tribes,” written by Ross Winn.

In the description of the world created for players to roleplay in, Winn, reportedly under Pondsmith’s guidance, described how the dystopian future would look in 2020. While it’s not as fantastically futuristic as Pondsmith envisioned back in the mid-90’s, Winn’s description of the socio-political landscape is so accurate that it could almost be considered prophetic.

The description, according to the 95′ supplemental, begins with the title “Diversity and Unity” and then proceeds to describe what is unmistakenly the time we live in today.

It is now accepted among historical scholars that in the decades before the Collapse, America suffered from the sickness of racism and “cultural identity.” Everyone wanted to be seen as special. Every group had to be “equal” to or preferably better than its neighbors, and fought to protect its “special” rights. If anyone had something that someone else wanted, they were painted as racist, sexist, elitist, or worse. This divisive “me first” attitude eventually tore the fabric of American culture apart and caused it to self-destruct in a fireball of competing ideologies, none of which truly recognized each other’s validity. Diversity led inexorably to anarchy.


This is an unbelievable prediction, even given the fact that Pondsmith was seeing the seeds of identitarianism being planted when he began writing in in the 70’s. The creepy accuracy with which we see the world operate today compared to the description of America in 2020 is only inaccurate in the fact that it’s 2019, less than a year off.

Today, we consistently see everyone from transgender activists to black lives matter members punishing people who aren’t a part of their ideology in some way, shape or form. University campuses are attempting to shut down dissent, using violence and more, from anyone questioning the near-religious tenets of their identity’s supposed ideological beliefs.

The social justice community is, as the Cyberpunk 2020 description says, tearing the fabric of American culture apart.

Pondsmith isn’t the only one who made oddly accurate prophecies about the near future. Carl Sagan, in his book “The Demon-Haunted World” also made predictions that America would dumb itself down without noticing it’s doing so, and that the powerful would be utilizing technology in order to disperse only the information it chooses for you to see.



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