As I’ve mentioned before, I’m an avid reader of L.M. Sacasas’s Convivial Society which I feel offers some of the best thinking on technology while always remaining clear and accessible, with no sensationalism and an abiding humanity. So when Mike wrote in the latest instalment (III.9) that he was offering seven theses “less cautiously formulated” with the thought that they might elicit some responses, I found jumping in hard to resist.
The way I approached this was by stealing reproducing each original thesis (as they feel right even though I have different reasons for seeing them as such) and then headed off into my own personal tangent. Evidently, I strongly encourage you to read the original We Are Not Living in a Simulation, We Are Living In the Past first!
The future cannot be controlled, but it can be shaped. Our predicament is not a question of living in a simulation versus living in the past, but rather about living in a reality designed through past simulations of the future. The mechanics of this permanent state of retrofuturism are simple: if you have access to detailed data about the behaviour of people, editorial control over what information people receive (as social or search recommendation engines), and the means to nudge people using designed affordances then you have the power to shape people’s behaviour. The process is then to use data from past behaviour to predict future outcomes given editorial and design interventions.