The company that invented the future

Business Daily

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The company that invented the future

Business Daily

Simulmatics Corporation pioneered data analytics in the 1960s - raising the same qualms then as fake news and social media manipulation do today. Manuela Saragosa speaks to historian Jill Lepore, whose book "If Then: How Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future" charts the company's rise, and its role in helping John F Kennedy get elected US President in 1960. At the heart of their work was using mainframe computers - a novelty at the time - to crunch polling, census and electoral data on voters in order to figure out the best targeted messages for their candidate to voice. It foreshadows the far more sophisticated modern use of data to target voters on social media. So what lessons from history are there for us today? (Picture: Two men work at a console in a Univac computer room in 1960; Credit: H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images)
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Simulmatics Corporation pioneered data analytics in the 1960s - raising the same qualms then as fake news and social media manipulation do today. Manuela Saragosa speaks to historian Jill Lepore, whose book "If Then: How Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future" charts the company's rise, and its role in helping John F Kennedy get elected US President in 1960. At the heart of their work was using mainframe computers - a novelty at the time - to crunch polling, census and electoral data on voters in order to figure out the best targeted messages for their candidate to voice. It foreshadows the far more sophisticated modern use of data to target voters on social media. So what lessons from history are there for us today? (Picture: Two men work at a console in a Univac computer room in 1960; Credit: H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images)
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