The Age of Distraction

In the US election year now beginning, more than government is at stake. Everywhere politics is changing beyond recognition by the communications revolution.

Radio and television were the advance guard of this new world. With satellites, television became a global, interlocking network. The Internet duplicated that feat for computers, which add to passive viewership the possibility of interactive participation with what is on the screen. With the invention of the photo-optic cable, the television set, the computer, and heaven knows what else, may soon be conjoined into a single device. And "virtual reality" - the three dimensional simulation of experience - has already debuted.

There is nothing to compare this new environment to except the natural environment. Computers have "viruses," and there is talk of the "natural evolution" of software, which, like Darwin's organisms, will fend for themselves in the new environment - virtual organisms evolving in virtual seas.

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