"Science fiction is really sociological studies of the future, things that the writer believes are going to happen by putting two and two together."
Vulcan 3, an underground self-modifying supercomputer, uses unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to find out what's going on with the humans.
Take a look at what artists in 1960 thought a robot tracking device looked like in this first edition cover photo:
The same device attacked the leader of the resistance movement:
"...I found most of it." He triumphantly displayed a charred but still intact metal cylinder with an elaborate system of antennas, receptors and propulsion jets.
Here's what it feels like to live in this future society:
Madness, he thought. The ultimate horror for our paranoid culture; vicious unseen mechanical entities that flit at the edges of our vision, that can go anywhere, that are in our very midst. And there may be an unlimited number of them. One of them following each of us...
The existence of these devices is one demonstration of Vulcan 3's paranoia; ordinarily, it relied on countless human beings who provided it with information. Dick compares the provision of data to Vulcan 3 with slopping a hog - he refers to "data troughs."
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