“The perfect crime is that of an unconditional realization of the world by the actualization of all data, the transformation of all our acts and all events into pure information: in short, the final solution, the resolution of the world ahead of time by the cloning of reality and the extermination of the real by its double.
This is precisely the theme of Arthur C. Clarke‘s short story ‘The Nine Billion Names of God‘. A community of Tibetan monks have for centuries devoted themselves to transcribing these nine billion names of God, and once they have accomplished this the purpose of the world will be achieved, and it will come to an end. The task is a tiresome one and the weary monks call in technicians from IBM, whose computers do the job in a few months. In a sense, the history of the world is completed in real time by the workings of virtual technology. Unfortunately, this also means the disappearance of the world in real time. For suddenly, the promise of the end is fulfilled and, as they walk back down into the valley, the technicians, who did not really believe in the prophecy, are aghast to see the stars going out one by one.”
Jean Baudrillard, The Perfect Crime, trans. Chris Turner (London: Verso, 2008 ), 27.