This episode outlines how the US government attempted to use systems analysis and game theory to develop strategies to control the nuclear threat and nuclear arms race during the Cold War. The focus is on the men of the on whom Dr Strangelove was allegedly based: Herman Kahn, Albert Wohlstetter and John von Neumann. These were people who believed that the world could be controlled by the scientific manipulation of fear - mathematical analysts employed by the American RAND Corporation. In the end, their visions were the stuff of science fiction fantasy. Features several interview segments with Sam Cohen outlining his experiences at RAND. He is the inventor of the neutron bomb and was with RAND 1947-1975. Also features George Ball, the Under-Secretary of State in the Kennedy administration 1961-1966, and William Gorham, RAND Corporation Asst. Sec. Dept. Health, Education & Welfare 1956-68.
Includes an interview with science fiction author Larry Niven, who was instrumental in the creating of the Star Wars policies of Ronald Reagan. Also features Robert McNamara, Thomas Schelling, Edward Teller and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Similar material is also covered in the "Fuck You Buddy" part of Curtis' later series, The Trap, but To The Brink of Eternity has the focus entirely on the nuclear and military aspects of Cold War strategy. John Nash is not mentioned and the psychological and economical aspects of game theory are not included.
Pandora's Box, subtitled A fable from the age of science, is a six part 1992 BBC documentary television series written and produced by Adam Curtis, which examines the consequences of political and technocratic rationalism. The episodes deal, in order, with communism in The Soviet Union, systems analysis and game theory during the Cold War, economy in the United Kingdom during the 1970s, the insecticide DDT, Kwame Nkrumah's leadership in Ghana during the 1950s and 1960s and the history of nuclear power. Curtis' later series The Century of the Self and The Trap had similar themes. The title sequence made extensive use of clips from the short film Design for Dreaming, as well as other similar archive footage.