Hey, I know: let’s build the Matrix!

Existentialists will have a field day with this one: According to ScienceDaily, an EU research initiative called FuturIcT (a “knowledge accelerator” funded by, among others, billionaire investor George Soros) aims to create a really accurate version of Simearth. By mining many sources of data and simulating them in a supercomputer, the project hopes to understand financial, social, and economic forces in the real world. They call it a “knowledge collider.”

One use for such data is to anticipate and mitigate economic melt-downs, something that’s increasingly likely with real-time trading engines that amplify mistakes and market fluctuations. But why stop at economies? A simulator like this could predict political outcomes, something that’s long been speculated in science fiction, from the Delphis in Shockwave Rider to the real-time polling in Neal Stephenson’s frighteningly prescient Interface.

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