Charlie’s Diary: What is the sensory bandwidth of Scotland?

Charlie’s Diary: What is the sensory bandwidth of Scotland?

This makes my brain hurt, but really shows the thought process of a good sf writer:

“It isn’t virtual reality until you can mount a coup d’etat in it.”

This is the information age, so our definition of a coup consequently varies from the traditional one (involving guns and colonels in sunglasses). But, for the sake of argument, let us posit that it’s a de-facto coup if you can fool all of the people all of the time — and controlling their perception of reality is a good start. But how much reality do you need to control?

We can approach the problem by estimating the total afferent sensory bandwidth of the target. If you can control someone’s senses completely, you can present them with stimuli and watch them respond — voluntary cooperation is optional. (Want them to jump to the left? Make them see a train approaching from the right.) How stimuli are generated is left as an exercise for the world-domination obsessed AI; the question I’m asking is, what is the maximum bandwidth that may have to be controlled and filtered?

I’m picking on Scotland as an example because it’s big enough to be meaningful, small enough to be unthreatening, and generally innocuous. And we can either consider Scotland as a body politic, or as a collection of approximately five million human beings.

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