Neither Huxleyed, nor Orwelled: living in the Phildickian dystopia

Saturday, February 24th, 2018


Political scientist and sf fan Henry Farrell (previously)
argues persuasively that the dystopian elements of our everyday life
are best viewed through the lens of Philip K Dick (whose books
repeatedly depicted a world of constructed realities, whose true nature
was obscured by totalitarians, conspiracies, and broken computers) and
not Orwell or Huxley, whose computers and systems worked altogether too
well to be good parallels for today’s janky dystopia.

In the PKDverse, it’s increasingly hard to tell bots from humans (and
even the bots might struggle to tell whether they are or are not
artificial), and “centaurs” (human-machine collaborations) poison our
mediasphere with software agents
that periodically get puppeted by real-life trolls. These centaurs use
captured bits of human intelligence – Wikipedia scrapes, messages
harvested from social media – to impersonate humans when no human is
available to puppet them, but then summon human assistance when they
reach a crux that’s above their paygrade – a moment of truth when it is
possible to effect an epic troll, or complete the next phase of a giant

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