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Publisher's Summary

A brilliant, revelatory account of the Cold War origins of the data-mad, algorithmic 21st century, from the author of the acclaimed international best seller These Truths.

The Simulmatics Corporation, founded in 1959, mined data, targeted voters, accelerated news, manipulated consumers, destabilized politics, and disordered knowledge - decades before Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Cambridge Analytica. Silicon Valley likes to imagine that it has no past, but the scientists of Simulmatics are the long-dead grandfathers of Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. Borrowing from psychological warfare, they used computers to predict and direct human behavior, deploying their “People Machine” from New York, Cambridge, and Saigon for clients that included John Kennedy’s presidential campaign, the New York Times, Young & Rubicam, and, during the Vietnam War, the Department of Defense.

Jill Lepore, distinguished Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer, unearthed from archives the almost unbelievable story of this long-vanished corporation and of the women hidden behind it. In the 1950s and 1960s, Lepore argues, Simulmatics invented the future by building the machine in which the world now finds itself trapped and tormented, algorithm by algorithm.

©2020 Jill Lepore (P)2020 Recorded Books

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Lapore finds back story to history...again

Ms Lapore is so eager to tell us her terrific story that she rushes her narration so fast it sometimes is not understandable. This book could have really used a professional to read it.

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exceptional

With the author as the narrator, the book is extremely rich. The content is incredibly well researched, and the recording adds personality to it. Highly recommend!