Analysing A Virtual Earth – For Fun And Profit
Frederik Pohl produced some of the most enduring and relevant SF ever written. Pohl had worked for quite some time in advertising from which he gained a lifelong aversion to it blandishments and outright propaganda. This showed up in such short stories as ‘The Tunnel Under The World’, ‘The Midas Plague’, and ‘Happy Birthday, Dear Jesus’. Here’s an excerpt from Tunnel Under The World:
“They aren’t Russians and they aren’t Martians. These people are advertising men! Somehow — heaven knows how they did it — they’ve taken Tylerton over. They’ve got us, all of us, you and me and twenty or thirty thousand other people, right under their thumbs. Maybe they hypnotize us and maybe it’s something else; but however they do it, what happens is that they let us live a day at a time. They pour advertising into us the whole damned day long. And at the end of the day, they see what happened — and then they wash the day out of our minds and start again the next day with different advertising . . . Think of it, Swanson! They test every last detail before they spend a nickel on advertising!”
Tylerton appears to be an American town, and at the end the reader discovers that it is in fact a miniaturised, self-contained lab experiment, a testing ground containing tiny people. Well, a satire, certainly, as written back in 1954, but it is my duty to inform you that our glorious leaders and captains of industry now have at their command a similar, software-based application. Behold – the Sentient World Simulation.
Yes, indeedy, not content with extending the web-tentacles of ad-driven monoculture into every crevice of our waking existence, the avaricious minds in charge of corporations and the US Department of Defense feel that they need to know more. Which is why the company, Simulex Inc (it even sounds like something from a Pohl story!) has been working on the Sentient World Simulation, in close cooperation with its clients.
I mean, once you`ve had a look at the products, give an eyeball to their clients list.
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