War of the Worlds: The Sequel


“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” Albert Einstein

It was quite late last night when I finished the blog entry and I was getting a bit sleep deprived. I should have drilled down further into my search for the real Harrison Wyld. The whole story looks more and more like an extremely artful game, created by or for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, maybe the only real entity in the story. If Harrison Wyld does exist, there is no evidence of him beyond tidbits all connected to the new [virtual] reality game show I wrote about. I should have gone to the authoritative namer of rich people, Forbes, where there is no evidence of Wyld on their lists. The choice of his name should have put me straight.

I got fooled by the earlier interviews that seemed unconnected to the current tale. There was something strange in the air even then, but it being Australia, I suspended my skepticism and took in all in. So what’s the bottom line. The internet working with other media have immense power to create reality. The plot line here, a very rich man working in secret to “save” the world when the more legitimate institutions are failing to make progress, is plausible simply because those very institutions are not making much headway.

Could something like this happen? Technologically, it is not only possible, but the technique discussed has already been used in more limited circumstances. Australia has vast areas with little traffic, but it is unlikely that this project could have escaped notice, given the myriad eyes and ears that feed the Internet. We have had much difficulty discovering and confirming the existence of weapons facilities in Iraq and Iran.

Does it matter? This tale does have a reality underlying it, and that’s the main reason why the creators can get away with it. Global warming is real. Slow progress toward recognizing its threat is real. The reticence of “right” institutions to work on it is real. Billionaires, like Gates, devoting their immense wealth to solve social problems, more or less unilaterally, is real. Failure to get real about this and other issues underlying unsustainability has the potential to turn the world we live in to a vast virtual reality.