We all agree that this is not going to be another summer. Most of us will not go beyond the Pyrenees and those who go to the beach will discover that they have to use an app that informs them about how much space they can occupy on the sand and for how long. The mask will accompany us to the edge of the pool and “safety distance” has all the roles to become a musical hit. With these ingredients, reading will serve to move us away from that dystopia in which it seems that we have lived for months.
As usual in recent years, at MCPRO we want to recommend some of the best readings you can take to disconnect. On this occasion we propose five “technological” novels that point to the future of Artificial Intelligence and what it is that defines us as human beings. Good reading!
Machines like me (Ian McEwan)
In what has been one of the literary sensations of last season, Ian McEwan poses a world in which machines could come to think like human beings.
The action of «Machines like me» takes place in the eighties of the last century, in a dystopian and alternative London, in which the United Kingdom has lost the Falklands War and the scientist Alan Turing has not only not committed suicide but who has dedicated all his energies to the development of Artificial Intelligence and the first “synthetic” human beings: practically perfect beings, without the fissures but also without the moral nuances of true human beings.
Agency (William Gibson)
Since William Gibson published his “Neuromancer” in 1984, he has become one of the leading science fiction writers. In his new novel “Agency”, he introduces us to Verity Jane, a beta tester who is tasked with trying out a new product: a digital assistant accessed through smart glasses.
Of course, nothing is as simple as it seems and «Eunice», which is the name of the AI that the new glasses incorporate, is not just any assistant; in fact it turns out to be so smart that it doesn’t seem to have been programmed by any human being. At the same time, the action moves to a different timeline in which in what could be a scenario out of “The Hunger Games” everyone is fighting for the big Jackpot.
Modified Carbon (Richard Morgan)
The plot of “Modified Carbon” earned Richard Morgan that in 2018 Netflix premiered “Altered Carbon” on its platform. The novel collects some classic ingredients of the genre, also introducing some of the premises that we have already seen in other series such as “Black Mirror” (Netflix) or in the fun “The Upload” (Amazon Prime Video).
The action takes place in the year 2384 and we are at a time when human identity can be stored on a digital medium and transferred from one body to another, allowing human beings to survive physical death by ensuring that their memories and your consciousness is “inserted” into new bodies.
With these premises, Takeshi Kovacs, a former member of the special military units, “will be reborn” in a new body to investigate his own murder.
Armada (Ernest Cline)
Ernest Cline achieved world fame with “Ready Player One”, a dystopia that made virtual reality its main element and which ended up being taken to the cinema by Steven Spielberg in 2018, becoming one of the biggest box office winners of the year.
In his second book, «Armada», Cline returns for his privileges in what is another declaration of love for video games. In this case, he introduces us to Zack Lightman, a geek who does not leave his computer and who spends his day dreaming in a world of adventure that seems totally remote from his reality.
Of course, one day you see from your window a flying saucer you did not expect. And that you have to use everything you know about the world of video games to save the planet, much less.
Never abandon me (Kazuo Ishiguro)
That an author who is able to recreate the English aristocracy like no one else in the magnificent “The Remains of the Day” marks a dystopia lady in “Never abandon me” deserves a Nobel Prize. In fact, the jury of the Awards agreed and the English author won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017.
At first glance, the youngsters studying at Hailsham Boarding School are just like any other group of teenagers. They play sports, or have art classes where their teachers are dedicated to stimulating their creativity. It is a hermetic world, where the pupils have no other contact with the outside world than Madame, as they call the woman who comes to take away the most interesting works of adolescents, she represents one of the few figures that puts them in contact with the world real. The reader will discover that in Hailsham everything is a performance where young actors do not know that they are, nor what is expected of them.