Computer prediction, fake news and an eerie story of Market Forces

Chris Faulkner is a rising young investment banker in the mid-21st century. A typical business day for him goes something like this: He receives a panicked call from an employee in Colombia. The employee is trapped in a hotel, stalked by government police — stooges of a corrupt dictator. From his office in London, Faulkner puts in a call to Langley Contracting, requesting ”five extreme prejudice deletions with immediate effect.” He’s only slightly taken aback when asked what level of precision he would prefer: ”surgical, accurate, scattershot, blanket, atrocity.” And just like that, the bad guys are iced.

The snippet above is from a review of Market Forces, a dystopic novel describing what was at the time a near future. Today this story about computers supposedly being able to predict violent outbreaks caught my attention. Remember the imaginary ISIS attack on Louisiana?

It seems that some of the dynamics sketched out in the book may already be playing out on a social media channel and stock exchange near you.

Leave a Reply