Life As A Computer Simulation

OrsonSwells

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After the first Matrix film came out I cynically went looking for the book or story it was based on, doubting it had come fully formed out of the minds of the Wachowski brothers/sisters.
The nearest I came on various forgotten forums to a possible inspiration, was a story concerning a world run by big businesses. Problem there was that the Markets were saturated and it was becoming more difficult and expensive for the staff in advertising (main thrust of the economy) to convince the consumer population to buy even more stuff. It was decided to design and run a programme to simulate real life where the effectiveness of advertising strategies could be tried out in a virtual setting, before rolling them out on the real world. Once the programme was running, it became clear that the 'real world' was itself a computer-simulation. Does this ring any bells with anyone ?

Sounds very Phil K Dick. He was doing the reality isn't reality thing decades before the Matrix.
 

EnolaGaia

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... The nearest I came on various forgotten forums to a possible inspiration, was a story concerning a world run by big businesses. Problem there was that the Markets were saturated and it was becoming more difficult and expensive for the staff in advertising (main thrust of the economy) to convince the consumer population to buy even more stuff. It was decided to design and run a programme to simulate real life where the effectiveness of advertising strategies could be tried out in a virtual setting, before rolling them out on the real world. Once the programme was running, it became clear that the 'real world' was itself a computer-simulation. Does this ring any bells with anyone ?

This may be going farther back in time than whatever it was you read, but ...

The twin themes of businesses controlling the world and simulation in service of advertising were prevalent in the works of Golden Age writer Frederick Pohl. The theme of civilization being subordinated to business / marketing points to The Space Merchants (Pohl & Kornbluth; 1952):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Space_Merchants

The theme of a character discovering he's merely a player in a simulation operated for testing advertising techniques sounds like Pohl's 1955 short story "The Tunnel under the World":

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tunnel_under_the_World
 

GNC

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Don't forget Doctor Who gave the computer simulation thing a go in the mid-1970s with The Deadly Assassin. They even called the simulation The Matrix.
 

Moth Twiceborn

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After the first Matrix film came out I cynically went looking for the book or story it was based on, doubting it had come fully formed out of the minds of the Wachowski brothers/sisters.
The nearest I came on various forgotten forums to a possible inspiration, was a story concerning a world run by big businesses. Problem there was that the Markets were saturated and it was becoming more difficult and expensive for the staff in advertising (main thrust of the economy) to convince the consumer population to buy even more stuff. It was decided to design and run a programme to simulate real life where the effectiveness of advertising strategies could be tried out in a virtual setting, before rolling them out on the real world. Once the programme was running, it became clear that the 'real world' was itself a computer-simulation. Does this ring any bells with anyone ?
Although there is this old chestnut... I would still like to read her original story to satisfy my curiousity...
https://newsfeed.time.com/2013/11/2...t-one-of-the-internets-most-pervasive-hoaxes/
 
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