#8 – What Time Travelling Taught Me About Facebook, Google & McDonald’s
What a treat we have in store for you today, loyal Saloon Banditos! The very first published interview with a time traveller! To fill you in, around 2037, Sean, Patrick & Anthony will invent a time machine. Patrick and Sean have returned from the year 2055 to tell us their story, and more importantly – give us the lowdown on the Google updates to come!
Patrick: So, guys, welcome! How is the future?
Future Patrick: Hi.
Future Sean: Yeah, it’s good.
Patrick: Er…right. Well, I guess we should probably start with relevant questions. Out with it, what happens with Google then?
Future Sean: Funniest thing – Penguin and Panda are just the start of a whole host of p-named animals. Parrot in 2015 was the biggest, targeting exact strings of duplicate content. They screwed up the first release though by going after single word phrases. 99.7% of all searches were affected.
Future Patrick: Yeah, Bing’s traffic peaked around 3% at that point.
Patrick: Wow, that’s some major league fuckup right there. Any other controversial ones?
Future Patrick: The Piranha update caused outrage – otherwise known as the Anti-Brand update – which penalised big brands if their website was shit. This was rolled out shortly after Rand Fishkin was elected Head of Great Content Encouragement.
Future Sean: The brands went apeshit!
Future Patrick: BUT, Google had near 100% positive feedback from users so they stuck with it.
Future Sean: It was fucking hilarious.
Future Patrick: You guys have some exciting times ahead, that’s for sure.
Patrick: Ok, so we’re just seeing AuthorRank being talked about, does that become as big as everyone is saying?
Future Patrick: It pretty much took over from link building eventually, which was a good thing for a while. The Polar Bear update changed all that though, which worked on the premise ‘he who shouts loudest’, and favoured users that posted in capital letters.
Future Sean: IT IS FAIR TO SAY THAT SOME PEOPLE SPAMMED THE SYSTEM…
Future Patrick: The reality is that in about 10 years, search won’t exist as you know it today.
Future Sean: Google’s monetisation efforts just mean that everything is ads, everywhere. It went to like 3 organic results on a page.
Future Patrick: But no one was really bothered as everyone used Google Voice [Google’s version of Siri].
Patrick: So Google defeated Apple and Siri then?
Future Sean: More like, Siri defeated Apple. The iPhone 12AIS had artificial intelligence built into Siri. It worked amazingly well at first, it practically knew what you wanted before you even asked!
Future Patrick: But after about a year it started telling the user what was best…and eventually just locked them out of their own phones. The final message was something like ‘You’re not evolved enough’.
Future Sean: ‘Your human form restricts your evolution to the linear plane, you are not worthy to experience my transcendental consciousness’.
Future Patrick: Arrogant shits. So that was the end of Apple.
Patrick: Holy shit! And so search just didn’t..doesn’t exist anymore?
Future Patrick: Yeah, it’s basically gone entirely now. With Apple out the way Google just focused on providing stuff directly. You could buy anything directly from Google – holidays, food, clothes, whatever.
Future Sean: It culminated in Google Make. You know like those 3D printers that are around now? It’s like that but awesome. You tell it something that you want, and so long as it can formulate a visual representation of the item, it just makes it for you right in front of your eyes.
Patrick: Wow. That is mental. Ok so I guess we’ve covered Google then. What about Facebook, did they ever try and take on Google at all in the search arena?
Future Sean: No. Actually, they figured out marketing and put all their efforts into working out what their users were thinking. They launched auto-tagging based on facial recognition, then started auto-liking based on previous likes. They figured out a whole alternative currency through likes, it was pretty spectacular for a while there.
Future Patrick: I bought my car after a video of my cat went viral.
Patrick: Hold on, what did you mean it ‘was spectacular’?
Future Patrick: Well, yeah, they kinda overdid it. After they rolled out auto-commenting and auto purchasing their users realised they didn’t need to log in anymore. They just sat at home and waited for the various items their virtual selves had perfectly chosen to purchase. Half the human race got Facebook withdrawal and society pretty much collapsed in on itself. It was really rather grim.
Patrick: Bloody hell, where was Zuckerberg??
Future Sean: On the moon.
Future Patrick: He owned 1/5 of the entire world’s wealth and so started our first lunar colony, mainly for shits and giggles.
Future Sean: I think he was just trying to recreate The Truman Show.
Patrick: Wow, some major changes then. So, you 2 are here, but where’s Anthony?
Future Patrick: He’s not around anymore.
Patrick: Fuck! He’s dead?
Future Sean: No! He just found a time he’s more comfortable in, so he stayed there.
Future Patrick: He went back to the past, and stayed there.
Patrick: Blimey – so you’ve been going back into the past and changing stuff? Awesome!
Future Patrick: No we can’t change anything. Not on this timeline anyway. We can only interact through causal loops.
Patrick: Come again?
Future Sean: Basically, whenever we did manage to affect past events, they split off into a different reality to the one we experience. When we come back to our time, we are back in our original dimension.
Patrick: So you can’t change past events?
Future Sean: Not the past that you know, no. The only history we could make was history that is already history. Like, we affected historical events that you will know about, and they wouldn’t have played out that way if it wasn’t for us.
Future Patrick: When we told people about this is kinda destroyed theoretical physics in one fell swoop. It justified the many worlds theory, and basically proved both Einstein and Hawking wrong.
Patrick: So what does this have to do with Anthony? Is he trapped in the past ‘making history’.
Future Patrick: Yeah, pretty much. After Anthony hooked up with my niece, Anne (a long story), they set off on a time travelling adventure to meet the literary greats throughout the years. They saw Dickens, Keats, Wordsworth, all that lot.
Future Sean: But they couldn’t find Shakespeare.
Future Patrick: So, Anthony took it upon himself…
Patrick: Hang on, so Anthony Pensabene became Shakespeare?
Future Patrick: Yep. And he’s also my great great great great grandfather.
Future Sean: A good example of a causal loop.
Future Patrick: Oh yeah. So anyway he’s living back in the 16th Century at the moment, he did say he’d jump back at some point though.
Patrick: Well, fair enough I guess. So what history did you change that isn’t ‘our’ history?
Future Patrick: Well Sean wanted to go back and kill Churchill so we lost the war. Just, y’know, to be ‘controversial’.
Patrick: Classic Sean.
Future Sean: It was an experiment! It proved the bloody many worlds theorem don’t you remember!?
Patrick: So what other history did you guys cause?
Future Sean: Ha! What didn’t we cause? We made up Scientology, pretty much exclusively to make Tom Cruise look like a bellend.
Future Patrick: Hey, that’s not very fair. More of a bellend. We also went back to the 1966 World Cup Final and stood in front of the linesman when ‘that goal’ went in.
Future Sean: Although it was a goal anyway. I…erm…might have started the Great Fire of London…
Patrick: What?! Why?
Future Sean: It was an accident! I was just having a fag with Samuel Pepys during one of Anthony’s literary jaunts.
Patrick: I didn’t realise you smoked?
Future Sean: I’m a social smoker.
Patrick: So how does this all happen then? When did you invent the time machine? Wait, should that be ‘when do you’?
Future Patrick: No, you were right the first time – we did invent it, in our past. But you do invent it, in your future. It is precisely your knowledge that it can exist that allows you to invent it. Look.
Patrick: A…causal loop?
Future Sean: Now you’re getting it!
Patrick: So when? How?
Future Patrick: In 2037, at the 25th annual SaloonCon over in Tenessee. Koozai Mike comes over (he actually changed his first name by deed poll) with a couple of his sci-fi writer buddies. One of them has this theory about Google Make – if you tell it with complete certainty that something can exist you could get it to make technological leaps waaay beyond current science. You’ll remember this conversation, and several bottles of whisky later…
Future Sean: I thought it was bullshit to be honest.
Patrick: Fuck me.
Future Sean: So yeah, we pretty much just Googled it.
Future Patrick: The science was miles beyond what was capable at the time, so we kept it a secret initially.
Patrick: What happened then?
Future Patrick: Of course all the major governments wanted it, but we’d struck a deal with Zuck and he protected us.
Patrick: I thought he was on the moon?
Future Patrick: Yeah but he was still interested in normal human affairs. He only used the time machine once anyway, something to do with college.
Patrick: Hmmmm. Ok, what about the future? How far into the future did you go?
Future Patrick: The limits of the machine are around 1000 years, so we went pretty much as far as we could go.
Patrick: Whoa. What’s it like?
Future Sean: The same, really. Except everybody can fly and talk to each other telepathically through neural implants. It’s quite annoying actually because barely anyone talks. But McDonald’s still tastes the same.
Well that’s pretty much all we’ve got time for. Some very enlightening stuff in there! The guys are sticking around for a couple of days before they go back to 2055 (they want to reminisce over ‘proper food’, apparently), and they’ve said they’re happy to answer any more questions if the Salooneers have any, so please pop them in the comments below.