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Pattern Recognition
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by William Gibson (G. P. Putnamï¿œs Sons, 2003)

What does it mean to be swimming in a sea of brands, advertisements, and rapid cultural evolution? Gibsonï¿œs novel, a sort of science fiction set in the present, offers us a new lens through which to glimpse the answers to that question. The story itself concerns Cayce Pollard, combination cool-hunter and brand psychic, and her hunt to find the creator of a mysterious series of wildly popular video clips that have surfaced on the Net. But that story is really just a structure on which Gibson hangs insight after insight (though a page-turner):

ᅵᅵOf course . . . we have no idea, now, of who or what the inhabitants of our future might be. In that sense we have no future. Not in the sense that our grandparents had a future, or thought they did. Fully imagined cultural futures were the luxury of another day, one in which ᅵnowᅵ was of some greater duration. For us, of course, things can change so abruptly, so violently, so profoundly, that futures like our grandparentsᅵ have insufficient ᅵnowᅵ to stand on. We have no future because our present is too volatile . . . We have only risk management. The spinning of the given momentᅵs scenarios. Pattern recognition.ᅵ

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