If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future (Paperback)

If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future Cover Image

If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future (Paperback)

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From the best-selling author of These Truths, an “exhilarating” (New York Times Book Review) account of the Cold War origins of our data-mad era.


The Simulmatics Corporation, founded in 1959, mined data, targeted voters, accelerated news, manipulated consumers, destabilized politics, and disordered knowledge—decades before Facebook, Amazon, and Cambridge Analytica. Although Silicon Valley likes to imagine that it has no past, the scientists of Simulmatics are almost undoubtedly the long-dead ancestors of Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk—or so argues Jill Lepore, distinguished Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer, in this “hilarious, scathing, and sobering” (David Runciman) account of the origins of predictive analytics and behavioral data science.
Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University and is also a staff writer at The New Yorker. A two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, her many books include the international bestseller These Truths and This America.