Tor.com content by

Eliot Peper

What The Truman Show Can Teach Us About the Future of the Internet

Truman Burbank is living the good life on idyllic Seahaven Island. Sure, his college sweetheart warned him that he was the target of a conspiracy, but she was having a nervous breakdown and soon moved away to Fiji. Now he’s thirty-years old with a good job, a beautiful wife, and friendly neighbors. How can he complain? Truman’s life is the American dream.

Of course, what Truman doesn’t realize is that Seahaven Island is a domed set, everyone he’s ever known are paid actors, and every moment of his entire life is the subject of the massively popular Truman Show. Megalomaniacal producer Christof pulls strings from behind the scenes, supplying actors with lines, fueling Truman’s fear of water and travel in order to prevent him from venturing off the island, and manufacturing interpersonal drama in Truman’s life to maximize the show’s ratings.

In real life, here in 2018, we are all the stars of our own personalized, algorithmic Truman Shows. Facebook titillates us with finely tuned updates. Google answers every conceivable question. Apple swaddles us in their impeccably-designed walled garden. Amazon anticipates our every whim. Netflix keeps us happily entertained. Uber and Lyft whisk us between Airbnbs with unparalleled efficiency and precision.

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