If you’re into the whole old-school SF idea of planned/constructed societies and all that -and if you haven’t read much SF of the 30s though early 60s, you’ve missed out – you really need to read about Synco (a.k.a. Project Cybersyn) in Chile during the Allende administration, before the Pinochet coup d’etat. Because they tried it, for industrial production.

The Wikipedia article gives you an overview, but THIS WAS REAL, NOT A MOVIE SET:

The Opsroom or Operations Room: a physical location where [nationalised industry] information was to be received and stored and made available for speedy decision-making. It was designed in accordance with Gestalt principles, in order to give users a platform that would give them a chance to absorb information in a simple and comprehensive way.

They didn’t get finished before the coup d’etat – the screens were used, but they had to have slides prepared each day rather than getting the data straight from the computer. But they were using the data – successfully, in many cases. All the major production facilities were, in fact, connected, via a massive network of telex machines, and data was flowing to the central computer, which was modelling and predicting based on daily data, and heuristic decisions were being made and acted upon and everything.

The goal was to have it all be realtime, as their computer capabilities ramped up. Keep in mind: this was in an era when moving this kind of data around and collating it within a single company in most countries could take took weeks, and decision-making could take even longer. They were doing it daily, with an eye towards continuously.

The difference between this and the Soviet and Chinese experiments is that it was intentionally decentralised. They were specifically avoiding those systems and trying to come up with something both socialist and rationalist and distributed – some of the factories had started setting up their own mini-facilities like this central one.

I’m fascinated by what they might’ve come up with, without Pinochet and his military dictatorship. They had the entire system destroyed – Pinochet was about authoritarianism, and had no time for this distributed-authority bullshit.