Future Schlock, not

A workmate turned me on to a video clip that purports to be a documentary set in 2014. That’s the year in which the New York Times quits publishing online and reverts back to print only. This occurs after the Times loses an imaginary news war to Googlezon — a firm created by merging Google search with the Amazon suggestion engine. Together they produces EPIC — the Evolving Personalized Information Construct — a network of newsmasters who assemble data streams for specialized audiences. “EPIC is a summary of the world — deeper, broader and more nuanced than anything ever before available.” (Access clip and transcript.)

EPIC has the look and feel of Apple Computer’s now-famous 1984 commercial. But it offers more than the shock value of that bit, by suggesting a future that seems plausible. One prediction will test EPIC’s prescience. In 2005, it says, “in response to Google’s recent moves, Microsoft buys Friendster.”

The video’s creators include Robin Sloan, a wunderkind with IndTV, an independent media company led by former Vice President Al Gore, entrepreneur Joel Hyatt.

It fascinates me how the idea is circulating. My friend saw the EPIC bit on Sun COO Jonathan Schwartz’s blog. With that kind of uptake, I guess a newsmaster doesn’t need the Times’ circulation to enjoy clout (though, my bourgeoisie side wonders who will pay their health care bills and match their 401(k) contributions).

Tom Abate