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To: Controller, Zone 581, LIP Group. (Less Interesting Planets)

Your Greatship,

I grovel before you as I make this report. This is the scheduled 50-year update on my visit to Earth in 1971.

Your Greatship will recall that in 1971, the outlook here was promising. Many people were thinking about quality of life, there were global initiatives for sustainability, and the superpowers were discussing peace and disarmament.

At that time we began our experiment with Technological Dominance, to discover if humans could withstand the manipulative, addictive power of Vogon technologies: the internet, social media, mega-materialism, personality cults. Our decision to channel our interventions through a few crazed politicians and self-obsessed entrepreneurs has proved very effective.

You will be gratified to know that the idea of implanting a Vogon personality in a few of the humans’ leaders has proved highly disruptive. Men called Putin, Bolsonaro and others are behaving in truly Vogonic ways, leaving other leaders bewildered as to how to deal with them. Sadly, our most successful implant, the Trump, overreached himself and was voted out of office. His replacement looks alarmingly reasonable.

You will be gratified to hear that Earth is a mess. Most humans, not all but a small minority, are entirely submissive to our technologies, and believe that this IS reality. The environment is well on its way to complete ruin and disruptions are breeding from the chaos, such as the current pandemic.

Your Greatness will recall our idea of a Phase 2 for the experiment, to begin in 2021. If Phase 1 was massively successful, as it has been, we could consider disrupting our own technologies, to give the humans a chance to fight back. The resulting conflict could be entertaining. However, there are signs that humans are becoming more organised in their resistance.

I must report that if we allow Phase 1 to continue unchanged, it is possible that the small aware minority groups will become better organised. They have some understanding of the effect of our technologies, and they hope to create things called “land-based communities”, and talk to trees, to reduce our outside influence.

There is also a small possibility that these aware minorities will learn to use our technologies for their own purposes. One risk with social media and the internet is that they can be used to reduce the power of malevolent autocrats.

Most countries on Earth are still “democracies”, which should mean that a large number of dissatisfied people can vote for something better. It is entertaining to note that using technology to manipulate opinion plus the power of a few rich people, largely removes this possibility.

The present situation on Earth continues chaotic, and there are growing conflicts of opinion among the humans. I recommend that we keep the situation under review, and return in 2042 to see how the humans are dealing with our technologies.

With grovelling adulation
Vogon Jelfs