Life Imitates Art: Warren Spector Says He Wouldn't Make 'Deus Ex' In Today's Toxic Climate

from the mankind-divided dept

The Deus Ex franchise has found its way onto Techdirt's pages a couple of times in the past. If you're not familiar with the series, it's a cyberpunk-ish take on the near future with broad themes around human augmentation, and the weaving of broad and famous conspiracy theories. That perhaps makes it somewhat ironic that several of our posts dealing with the franchise have to do with mass media outlets getting confused into thinking its augmentation stories were real life, or the conspiracy theories that centered around leaks for the original game's sequel were true. The conspiracy theories woven into the original Deus Ex storyline were of the grand variety: takeover of government by biomedical companies pushing a vaccine for a sickness it created, the illuminati, FEMA takeovers, AI-driven surveillance of the public, etc.

And it's the fact that such conspiracy-driven thinking today led Warren Spector, the creator of the series, to recently state that he probably wouldn't have created the game today if given the chance.

Deus Ex was originally released in 2000 but took place in an alternate 2052 where many of the real world conspiracy theories have come true. The plot included references to vaccinations, black helicopters, FEMA, and ECHELON amongst others, some of which have connotations to real-life events. Spector said, “Interestingly, I’m not sure I’d make Deus Ex today. The conspiracy theories we wrote about are now part of the real world. I don’t want to support that.”

This could be a post about how drastically disinformation has altered our society. Or it could be a post about how some of the very real aspects of modern surveillance have so warped the trust between the public and government so as to allow more conspiracy theories to better breathe.

But I think instead I'd like to focus on how clearly this illustrates the artistic nature of video games. The desire, or not, to create certain kinds of art due to the reflection such art receives from the broader society is exactly the kind of thing artists operating in other artforms have to deal with. Art imitates life, yes, but in the case of speculative fiction like this, it appears that life can also imitate art. Spector notes that seeing what has happened in the world since Deus Ex was first released in 2000 has had a profound effect on him as an artist.

Earlier, Spector had commented on how he was “constantly amazed at how accurate our view of the world ended up being. Frankly it freaks me out a bit.” Some of the conspiracy theories that didn’t end up in the game were those surrounding Denver Airport because they were considered “too silly to include in the game.” These include theories about secret tunnels, connections to aliens and Nazi secret societies, and hidden messages within the airport’s artwork. Spector is now incredulous that they’re “something people actually believe.”

If you had thought that the debate over whether video games are an artform was settled, you haven't been paying attention. To this day, there are very real implications for the courts and wider government understanding the artform, particularly when it comes to whether video games receive the same First Amendment protections as movies and literature.

Hopefully, artists like Spector, engaging in these types of artistic internal debates, can help solidify the understanding further.

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Filed Under: conspiracies, conspiracy theories, culture, deus ex, life imitates art, warren spector


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  • icon
    Thad (profile), 19 Mar 2021 @ 8:38pm

    That was Chris Carter's mistake in bringing back X-Files. Mulder's a lot less lovable when he's hanging out with an Alex Jones stand-in and ranting about how 9/11 was an inside job.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      The Doubly Maskless One, 19 Mar 2021 @ 9:36pm

      Re: Truth isn't about being "lovable", Thad.

      You're in lockdown and masked against a disease that's at worst like ordinary flu season, your travel may be restricted if don't accept an experimental mRNA mutagen that's NOT a vaccine, world economies have been taken over by fiat, yet you can't see "conspiracy"?

      You, Thad, give evidence for my theory that you kids aren't up to "doublethink", the skill of keeping contradictory views in mind at same time and fully believing both, so you resort to "halfthink" in which you don't believe even in gravity, a state of blur easily achieved with drugs / alcohol, or long-term watching of movies and playing games; it's made you unable to question the "authority" of sources such as the New York Times, and unable to grasp the simple reality that The Rich are making an authoritarian dystopia.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Mar 2021 @ 9:52pm

        Re: Re: Truth isn't about being "lovable", Thad.

        It would sure help your case a lot if any of your facts were remotely true.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Mar 2021 @ 10:03pm

        Every “pro-lifer”, a proponent for death of “the right people”.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 20 Mar 2021 @ 12:44am

        Re: Re: Truth isn't about being "lovable", Thad.

        Sorry, did I miss the point where the idiot catchphrase bingo cards were being handed out? I think I've spotted a full card but I'm not sure where to mark off and call my win.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          crade (profile), 20 Mar 2021 @ 3:39pm

          Re: Re: Re: Truth isn't about being "lovable", Thad.

          The truth aint about being lovable its about whatever i can get away with that benefits me at others expense

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Bloof (profile), 20 Mar 2021 @ 5:48am

        Re: Re: Truth isn't about being "lovable", Thad.

        As someone who was healthy prior to getting Covid due to someone else's inconsiderate behaviour and is still suffering the after effects of a disease that's 'at worst ordinary flu' nearly 6 months later, go **** yourself and stick your empty bottles of brain force plus where the sun don't shine.

        The only conspiracy is being carried out by far right grifters who will happily let you destroy your lives, your families and your health as long as you keep on clicking links on their bs websites, watching their 20 minute stream of conciousness rants on yourube or whatever grifter video service they've migrated to, and buying pills, potions and poltices that do nothing to help anything but their bank balance. You rant about the rich yet happily parrot lines from the imagination of Alex Jones, a man with a dozen rolexes and blood on his hands,

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Rocky, 20 Mar 2021 @ 2:37pm

        Re: Re: Truth isn't about being "lovable", Thad.

        You, Thad, give evidence for my theory that you kids aren't up to "doublethink", the skill of keeping contradictory views in mind at same time and fully believing both

        You do understand that to hold several contradictory views in mind at the same time and fully believing them means you have a poor grasp on reality and facts? That you think this to be something good is just an indication of your faulty reasoning since it's the very definition of cognitive dissonance, but instead of feeling uncomfortable about it you revel in it.

        From that we can draw the conclusion that you either are in need of a psychiatrist or just a dishonest asshole shit-posting your mental diarrea.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Mar 2021 @ 1:28am

          Re: Re: Re: Truth isn't about being "lovable", Thad.

          "From that we can draw the conclusion that you either are in need of a psychiatrist or just a dishonest asshole shit-posting your mental diarrea."

          The preponderance of the evidence suggests both. I have yet to meet a single conspiracy theorist who wasn't both deluded and a dishonest asshole.

          This is not surprising. It generally takes established faiths centuries to build themselves a mental framework which enables them to produce faithful who settle for only being deluded, most of the time.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        R.H. (profile), 20 Mar 2021 @ 4:08pm

        Re: Re: Truth isn't about being "lovable", Thad.

        Firstly, I must ask, which "ordinary flu season" this century has killed over half-a-million Americans? Secondly, only two of the vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 use single-stranded mRNA as their active ingredient. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses a modified Adenovirus to get double-stranded DNA into a cell in order to get the cell to create spike proteins for the immune system to recognize.

        The funny thing about many conspiracy theorists is that you constantly tell people to "do your own research" but, you don't seem to have the media literacy skills to do so yourselves. For example, it took me less than five minutes to find the full ingredients lists for each of the three vaccines. (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Janssen) The mRNA ones you mentioned each include their active ingredients (two slightly different types of mRNA that each express SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins) along with lipids, salts, sugar, and preservatives to keep them fresh from creation to injection. The Janssen one is a bit different since its buffers need to keep a weakened virus alive until it enters a cell to kick off spike protein creation.

        Another issue I've heard involves people being frightened about these vaccines "modifying DNA." This is decidedly false. The mRNA delivered by the two mRNA vaccines simply uses the machinery of our cells to create spike proteins. A good analogy is this: assume you own a 3D printer. An mRNA vaccine is analogous to a(n odd) friend who comes by with a model of a wanted criminal and prints that model on your printer so that you know what the criminal looks like. The Adenovirus version works similarly by using the fact that viruses work by hijacking our cell machinery and modifying this virus to make the hijacked machinery pump out spike proteins instead of copies of said virus. Once you get beyond the "proteins belonging to the virus are now in the bloodstream" part these vaccines work just like all the rest in that the adaptive immune system takes notice of the foreign proteins and ramps itself up to be able to take down anything like it in the future.

        I've also heard the opinion that it's "strange" that a vaccine has become available so quickly. That's more understandable but, even then, there was a bit of a head start with SARS-CoV-2 vaccines since there were already abandoned SARS-CoV-1 and MERS vaccines just waiting for money to continue their studies. Also, mRNA methods for vaccination have been studied for decades mainly as a potential single-shot flu vaccine or later as a vaccination method for Zika. Once people realized that COVID-19 was a problem, and started dumping hundreds of billions of dollars into every promising arena of development, it shouldn't be surprising that novel vaccination methods were uncovered.

        Normally we (as a society) just don't spend enough on vaccine breakthroughs since they aren't very profitable. However, when the health of the world is on the line, the capital flows to the places where it's needed.

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        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Mar 2021 @ 1:49am

          Re: Re: Re: Truth isn't about being "lovable", Thad.

          "I've also heard the opinion that it's "strange" that a vaccine has become available so quickly. That's more understandable but, even then, there was a bit of a head start with SARS-CoV-2 vaccines since there were already abandoned SARS-CoV-1 and MERS vaccines just waiting for money to continue their studies."

          ^This, right there. Although the metaphors limp a bit it isn't like a lot of the base research didn't exist already, given how WHO hollered about SARS-CoV-1. All that was really needed was to find the proper sequence and plug it into the protein sequencers.

          The conspiracy theory of "look how quickly the vaccine was made" are people who apparently missed all of the industrial revolution.

          The "do your research" tinfoil hat crowd is stunning not just because of how their bad fan fiction pans out in real life, but also because they are literal cavemen trying to explain the foul magic behind what they think they observe by googling keywords they don't know the meaning of.

          Some conspiracy theories are actually entertaining when they are potentially possible - like the hypothesis that Hitler survived WW2 and managed to flee Berlin for argentina through an underground tunnel, or the hypothesis that JFK was murdered by rogue elements in the US government. ETC. Free fantasies of what-ifs which although implausible aren't instantly rendered impossible.

          But that's not the standard faire of the modern alt-right tinfoil basket case. Oh, no. Those people start their narratives with factual impossibilities which either makes all of science - and thus every scientist and teacher - an active member of the conspiracy; or they posit scenarios only possible if the posited nefarious forces had actual super-powers or magic at their disposal.

          Every now and then I go and read some of the latest neo-nazi "explanation" of how the "global jewish conspiracy" works. Just for shitz'n'giggles.
          It's evolved from being "just" a theory of world-spanning networks of banking houses governed by a group of Rabbi elders, to what appears to be a full-fledged invasion of Elder Beings in possession of super-powers, super-sci-fi technology, and space lasers.

          I must say, the neo-nazis these days make it sound like you'd have to be an idiot not to go convert to judaism. They get all the cool stuff, apparently.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 22 Mar 2021 @ 2:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Truth isn't about being "lovable", Thad.

            "Although the metaphors limp a bit it isn't like a lot of the base research didn't exist already, given how WHO hollered about SARS-CoV-1. All that was really needed was to find the proper sequence and plug it into the protein sequencers."

            On top of that, the normal reasons why vaccines take a long time to get tested and approved is due to regulation. Government health authorities usually take their sweet time dealing with the approval processes, which obviously changes in a pandemic situation where the public needs the vaccines as much as the manufacturers want the profits.

            Once you understand that and the fact that nobody was starting from scratch on any of these vaccines (some of which don't use the mRNA method, so even that conspiracy is avoidable if you really don't want that method for any reason), then no it's not suspicious at all that regulatory approval and distribution were fast tracked.

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            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 24 Mar 2021 @ 1:30am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Truth isn't about being "lovable", Thad.

              "Once you understand that..."

              ...you still won't get anywhere with the conspiracy theorists of today.
              Yesterdays conspiracy theorists still had some plausibility in their theories - because although highly unlikely it is possible that the massive amount of nazi elite imported wholesale to the US in 1945 could have turned the US political elite friendlier toward white supremacy and antisemitism. Implausible, but thought-provoking. Especially in the wake of Trump.

              Today? The conspiracy theory of choice is a religion in itself, perpetuated by reality deniers long inured to ignoring the evidence brought them by their own lying eyes. It's no wonder the "satanist child-trafficking ring helmed by the Kenyan Muslim and his Space Lizard jewish overlords" caught on - that's just pouring a few extra prejudices into the book of revelations and stirring it well.

              And that's fucking frightening. There are a whole lot of americans today - up to 73 million of them - primed to launch themselves into full-blown hysteria over any trigger word, as long as it's handed them by an "authority" of choice. Like Stormfront, the local brimstone preacher, or their long-time drinking buddy in the pub. How the hell do you even "deprogram" a cult trained to ignore causal reality completely? Of that scale?

              The only silver lining I can see is what was decidedly shown on january 6th. That these people are so inept and unable to function that even given free reign of their malice the only outcome of their actions is farcical failure, a few unlucky victims of mob brutality, and some confused degenerate shitting on the floor.

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 24 Mar 2021 @ 1:57am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Truth isn't about being "lovable", Thad.

                "Today? The conspiracy theory of choice is a religion in itself, perpetuated by reality deniers long inured to ignoring the evidence brought them by their own lying eyes."

                The problem isn't that these are conspiracy theories, the problem is that believing in the conspiracy is now a cult. All of QAnon's theories have either been prove false by the passage of time, or by the basic application of logic, for example. But, they ignore the proof they were wrong, claiming new dates of action that will prove them right, or claiming that the original action that was prophesised was actually a misdirection aimed at non-believers and the real plan will reveal itself.

                "The only silver lining I can see is what was decidedly shown on january 6th"

                True, but not for the reason you think. What's amusing is watching these people crumble as they face legal consequences for their actions, slowly realising that there's no knight in shining armour coming to save them. There are rumblings of sanity entering the minds of some people, and while many have simply been inspired to eat their won and claim that those arrested were secret Antifa plants sent to muddy the name of their true leader, it seems to have shocked some into a semblance of sanity.

                This won't stop the fully invested cult members, and while there's questions over whether the motivation behind one of the recent mass shootings was inspired by anti-Asian sentiments driven by the cult (how sad that a sign of American life returning to normal being that of increased mass shootings?), I'm sure there will be further violence perpetrated by them. But, there do seem to be some of them starting to question their involvement in the thing.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2021 @ 4:01am

        Re: Re: Truth isn't about being "lovable", Thad.

        This is some incredible alex jones fanfic

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Mar 2021 @ 1:24am

        Re: Re: Truth isn't about being "lovable", Thad.

        "You're in lockdown and masked against a disease that's at worst like ordinary flu season"

        Half a million dead americans beg to differ. In one year you people lost more people than you did in both World Wars. You wanna call that "ordinary flu" then your standards must be set at 1918.

        "...your travel may be restricted if don't accept an experimental mRNA mutagen that's NOT a vaccine, world economies have been taken over by fiat, yet you can't see "conspiracy"?"

        Nope, this is just the same shit which has happened the world over many times before. And you being an alt-right nutcase who ignores all of factual reality so you can fit your religious belief about the Illuminati of the Lizard Lords into your chosen narrative.

        I think what irks me the most about conspiracy nuts is that their belief isn't just fiction, it's hilariously bad fiction. It's as if an eight year old was asked to describe how the world works with nothing but episodes of the X-files and a bowl of acronyms painstakingly assembled from it's alphabits morning cereal to go on.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 22 Mar 2021 @ 2:30am

          Re: Re: Re: Truth isn't about being "lovable", Thad.

          "I think what irks me the most about conspiracy nuts is that their belief isn't just fiction, it's hilariously bad fiction"

          It's also depressingly unoriginal. All these "free thinkers" fall in lock step behind the sillier fictions invented, easily disproven with even a slight application of logical thought, while attacking people who understand basic science.

          It would be funny if their body count wasn't so high.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 23 Mar 2021 @ 7:14am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Truth isn't about being "lovable", Thad.

            "It would be funny if their body count wasn't so high."

            ...which invariably brings them to the "faked deaths" scenario we've grown used to from their spiritual brethren in the holocaust denial conspiracy. This is usually the part which calls on the powers-that-be to possess superhuman or outright deific powers of prophecy and mind control - and, in not a few cases, matter transmutation and time travel - before the option even exists to fake that many lives lost.

            At the end of this road the conspiracy involves everyone with the only untainted "sources" being the people already vociferously subscribing to the conspiracy theory. And thus the broken logic loops full circles a few times and you're left with a few thousand people who have trained themselves to ignore their own lying eyes in favor of bad dystopian fan fiction cobbled together from urban legends, ancient mythology, and the bad dreams caused by last night's Taco Bell dinner.

            The problem is that this sort of self-insulating viral meme spreads to anyone with a sufficiently shaky grasp on factual reality. It's no wonder the unpleasant arseholes who started out believing in racial supremacy, northern aggression, and the twisted bible interpretation of firebrand pulpit thumpers all ended up the way they did. Listen long enough to the benighted 73 million shit puppies who still voted Trump in 2020 and you can see them meandering from "The gubmint's gonna take ahr gunz", through "Dat Kenyan Muslim wuz selling children to his pals in the satanist cannibal ring in dat pizza parlor", to "...and he wuz takin' orders from the Lizard Lords, an' I hear they're all jews. Space Jews!".

            You can't deprogram that many people and they're as immune to persuasion as they are to reality.

            I've begun to think the one way out for the US at this point is for the remaining sane people to run the deranged ones out on a rail, park them in some state reserved exclusively for them, and close the border to anyone unable to pass a normal psych test. For those morons, this generation, and the one raised by this generation, is lost to sanity for good.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Mar 2021 @ 10:19am

      Re:

      That was Chris Carter's mistake in bringing back X-Files.

      Apparently, he did that 14 years after the show went off the air, and it's not like the show was still good by the first time it ended. The state of society had very little to do with the revival being a bad idea.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    The Doubly Maskless One, 19 Mar 2021 @ 9:32pm

    At best, your reading comprehension is abysmal.

    The key points are:

    The conspiracy theories we wrote about are now part of the real world.

    and:

    constantly amazed at how accurate our view of the world ended up being.

    Yet, weirdly, you write as if the predictions -- including "1984", "Fahrenheit 451", "Brave New World" -- are on the same order of stupid and wrong as Masnick's early-2000s notion that all content would soon be FREE.


    BTW: my bet is that Heinlein's "Revolt in 2100" ends up being the model -- strict religious / military tyranny -- instead of the anarchic "freedom" that you kids expect.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Mar 2021 @ 9:38pm

      Re:

      You predicted Trump would kill Section 230, blue.

      How'd that big brain play turn out? The same way you predicted that John Steele would win.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Mar 2021 @ 10:00pm

      When you die, I can all but guarantee it will be with your hands at the keyboard, struggling to get out one last rant before you pass into the final oblivion, despairing at the fact that your bullshit never did anything but make you look like someone in need of years of therapy.

      Enjoy your weekend! 😁

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Mar 2021 @ 10:43pm

        Re:

        When blue passes it will not involve a gravestone to remember him by.

        But on the off chance a tombstone is somehow involved, I propose his epitaph to be "ignorant motherfucker".

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 20 Mar 2021 @ 12:47am

          Re: Re:

          When he passes, it will be marked by a bunch of people here a year later going "hey, it's been a lot more civil around here without that insane moron, wonder what happened to him?"

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Mar 2021 @ 12:21pm

            Re: Re: Re:

            Except there's gonna be more insane trolls, did you ever think of that?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 20 Mar 2021 @ 12:52pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Less than you might think actually. Barring TD's #1 fanatic Woody while there are occasional ones that pop up(someone from the 50-cent army for a bit, a plague cultist a while back) TD tends to be relatively troll-free.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 21 Mar 2021 @ 12:09am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              While this particular idiot does go out of his way to try and pretend there's more than one of him, I'd feel confident in saying that 80% of the stuff we've dealt with here for a decade is from him. His absence is notable whenever he gives it a rest.

              Sure, we'd still have the likes of tp and Koby to deal with, but it would be quieter here.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Mar 2021 @ 2:03am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Except there's gonna be more insane trolls, did you ever think of that?"

              I'm sure that if we sieve the american rural areas and basements we'll eventually find a few other people who stop just half an inch shy of the border of lunacy where they would no longer be able to type. Even in the US though, that is rare.

              The thing is, Baghdad Bob has been keeping this shit up for somewhere around ten damn years without a stop. A normal troll, even an insane one, might quit after a year or two, or move on to other pastures. Not Baghdad Bob who just soldiers on with the blithe ignorance of reality you'd expect from someone locked in a basement with only the online environment for company.
              And possibly, given his occasional rants, some really bad moonshine.

              Yeah, there are other trolls. tp comes close where it concerns immunity to reason and that particular brand of copyright cult maximalism, Restless 94110 and Shel10 share Baghdad Bob's general disregard for humanitarian values...Koby is the odd one out - generally being the "voice of reason" trying to push the agenda that it's right and proper to prevent people from tossing nazis and assholes out of their property.

              None of these come close to Baghdad Bob, however. It's telling that he's the only troll I'm aware of who, even when he was still trying to build multiple accounts to have his own back with a one-man army, his tells were so clear everyone recognized him within the first two sentences.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 20 Mar 2021 @ 12:45am

      Re: At best, your reading comprehension is abysmal.

      "Masnick's early-2000s notion that all content would soon be FREE."

      You won't find hallucinations on the same shelf as classic literature, not matter how hard you look for it. Or, if you do, it's another sign that you need to take your meds again instead of writing nonsense here.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Ninja, 23 Mar 2021 @ 7:51am

      Re: At best, your reading comprehension is abysmal.

      Even I who were a prolific poster here (because the community is awesome) had to reduce my participation because of more pressing matters (ie: i have to deal with our very own genocide and I'm actively working against this bs from way back in 2018) but you are firmly spewing your bullshit a decade into my experience within techdirt. Seriously, what a pitiful life you must live.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 20 Mar 2021 @ 4:48am

    Why is it when they decide to copy things from fantasy into reality its never the good stuff?

    Its always the depressing stuff that was supposed to be a warning about what not to do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 20 Mar 2021 @ 6:20am

      Re:

      I don't know, the tablets from Star Trek: The Next Generation and the widescreen, wall-mounted flat-screen TVs from Back To The Future: Part II came true, and I think they're cool!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Flakbait (profile), 20 Mar 2021 @ 9:19am

      Re:

      Oh, there's lots of stuff from fantasy that has made it into reality that has turned out alright. Satellite communication (Arthur C. Clarke, 1945), picture phones (Hugo Gernsback, 1911), self-driving cars (Isaac Asimov, 1960), mood-altering medication / antipsychotics / antidepressants (Aldous Huxley, 1931), and Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle, AKA TASER (Edward Stratemeyer, et al, circa 1940) are just some examples. But on further consideration, maybe that last one goes into your column.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Thad (profile), 20 Mar 2021 @ 10:04am

        Re: Re:

        I mean, Huxley didn't exactly depict mood-altering drugs as being utopian...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Mar 2021 @ 10:23am

          To be fair, they’re not exactly utopian in reality.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Tanner Andrews (profile), 21 Mar 2021 @ 12:48pm

            Re: [mood altering drugs]

            they’re not exactly utopian in reality

            Maybe not, but there are a whole lot of people who actively seek them out and consume them. Indeed, some are so popular that there is a black market for them.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Mar 2021 @ 2:08am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "I mean, Huxley didn't exactly depict mood-altering drugs as being utopian..."

          Well, no, but there you have at least one case where dystopian fiction turned into benign reality. The boy that's "just not right" and the "demon-possessed witch" can today receive treatment and rehabilitation instead, giving them a solid shot at being part of society rather than an inconvenient freak show ostracized by the community.

          Given the fiction most famous from the 1930's we should just be happy about every prediction there which turned out to be relatively OK once fulfilled.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Mar 2021 @ 10:37am

        Re: Re:

        Oh, there's lots of stuff from fantasy that has made it into reality that has turned out alright. … self-driving cars (Isaac Asimov, 1960)

        ???

        Basically nobody has self-driving cars, in any "fantasy" sense—except for those cars that killed people, which would fit right into any dystopian sci-fi story but are hardly "alright".

        Many of the other things mentioned by you and Samuel were not copied from fiction, even if they did have fictional antecedents. The idea of a videophone is obvious and was always "out there", and I'm sure the people who invented antidepressents were not copying Huxley's story—it was, after all, almost entirely about the negative points of such. TVs will keep getting smaller whether or not any author thinks of it. Isaac Newton thought of artificial satellites long before they appeared in fiction, and Clarke was expanding on the ideas of engineer Herman Potočnik. Tablets may have been somewhat inspired by Star Trek, but of course they were just expanding on paper and clipboards.

        Taser might actually count, but as you note, not really "alright". And the story came a decade after Edison popularized electrocution.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Mar 2021 @ 12:23pm

    This is also why Rockstar's Manhunt can't be brought back.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 21 Mar 2021 @ 12:19am

      Re:

      I'm still rather annoyed at Manhunt 2's censorship in the UK, where the BBFC required a weird blurring effect on the kill scenes that made the game nigh on unplayable.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Mar 2021 @ 1:16pm

    Yeah, we see the results of people who took Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea as cryptic historians.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Mar 2021 @ 4:57pm

    Science fiction and videogames have predicted many devices
    and online services that came to exist in real life,
    As pcs get more powerful its easier to make 3d Vr games and
    virtual costumes or
    virtual actors and personas
    Eg people are now using 3d animation. To make 3d virtual avators to stream as vtubers , virtual youtubers
    Eg it's easier for some female streamers to appear as a virtual
    Actor rather than be on camera for hours.
    People make a living designing Vr characters and costumes that can be sold to Users of certain online games

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2021 @ 1:07am

    “Finding out one of my favorite game series would never be made today due to current politics and also I will more then lily never get a sequel”

    Thanks Republicans😞

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Mar 2021 @ 3:01pm

    Human stupidity predates the internet

    People have always believed in conspiracy theories. It's just before social media it wasn't visible in public.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 22 Mar 2021 @ 12:18am

      Re: Human stupidity predates the internet

      They were always visible - you wouldn't have films like JFK and TV like The X Files if they weren't at least a small part of the public consciousness.

      The only thing that's changed with social media is that it reaches more people, so whereas in the past you had people like Art Bell shouting into the void and gathering a following of obviously mentally ill people and train wreck spectators, you've ended up with people like Alex Jones and then QAnon managing to get traction with a part of the mainstream who may never have fallen for it in the past. But, even that's a slow descent - you can't blame 9/11 truthers on social media, and they laid the groundwork for the ones who did use it to amplify their message.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        crade (profile), 22 Mar 2021 @ 6:22am

        Re: Re: Human stupidity predates the internet

        Social media lets word travel faster than before but it doesn't decide which words travel.
        Electing to put someone in charge who believes the truth is only good for inconveniencing him is what really amplified the message.
        Combined with a political system that brands you a traitor if you don't tow party line and a tradition of the world looking to the U.S. for leadership and you don't need more help, newspapers tv and radio would have worked just fine

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        fairuse (profile), 23 Mar 2021 @ 12:21am

        Re: Re: Human stupidity predates the internet

        Art Bell was about entertainment and giving talk radio a way to make money. Let the crazies rant, bring in fringe ideas and let listeners decide. It was "Ancient Aliens" of the time and even had science guests.

        The downfall of "Coast to Coast (..)" was the departure of Art Bell and the new guys drinking the cool-aid of the Lizard People and area 51 - Basically anything was worthy of a segment.

        The "Tablet Computer" comes from Asimov, See Foundation books. The assistant took out a stylus and entered the equations into his tablet ... preformed the math. This is a how I recall that scene but the book is on the shelf if I need to photograph the page.

        Star Trek was more of an make stuff seem commonplace more than be inventive.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 23 Mar 2021 @ 7:24am

      Re: Human stupidity predates the internet

      "It's just before social media it wasn't visible in public."

      You do realize this sort of shit was lamented in the memoirs and autobiographies of ancient Roman and Greek writers, right?

      The "conspiracy theory" as a viral phenomenon? Believed in as that great story featuring you, the underdog, taking on impossible odds by being the One Truthful Voice In The Desert and always fighting the sisyphean fight you always lose just because The Man is just that strong? It's as old as humanity and always, always pursued mainly by the hopeless losers too insane, entitled or generally broken to fit in with saner society.

      The main issue in the US would be that there are a lot of people so hopelessly broken they live a lot better inside their insulating bubble of insane than they do in the real world where they have to face the fact that they were screwed at birth and will remain so barring extreme luck and either very hard work or a very good confidence game.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jeroen Hellingman (profile), 22 Mar 2021 @ 1:11am

    Reality is always more amazing, more weird, and therefore more interesting but also more scary than fantasy, because it is not constrained by the limits of our imagination.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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