This Week In… Working Futures
from the history-of-tomorrow dept
Techdirt is taking a break for the long weekend — and while we’ve still got the comments post coming tomorrow, today instead of the usual history post we’re looking forwards, with our new Working Futures anthology.
For those who don’t know or who haven’t had time to check it out yet, Working Futures is a collection of fourteen speculative short stories by science fiction authors, exploring the question of what work will be like in the future as artificial intelligence and other technologies continue to transform our world. If you want a taste, you can check out the first half of one of the stories, A Quiet Lie in our pre-launch teaser post. Since then, Mike has been sharing summaries and thoughts about other entries in the book: about how AI and humans could keep each other in check, and how private services and social credit could define our lives, and how the lines between human and machine could blur in fascinating and challenging ways, among many other topics.
This week, we also had a special episode of the Techdirt Podcast in which Mike was joined by three of the authors: Katharine Dow, whose story The Funeral Company portrays a society divided by its reactions to both climate change and ubiquitous surveillance; James Yu, whose story The Mummer gives us eerily real characters in a not-too-distant future running up against the darker side of our interaction with robots; and Christopher Hooton, whose story A Brief History Of Algorithmic Life: Introduction closes out the anthology with a moving, lyrical tale about about the first true human-AI friendship.
And of course, Working Futures also contains a pair of stories by Mike himself, who hadn’t tried writing fiction in a long time, but hit the ground running with two engaging possible futures: one in which increasing centralization has put our lives in the hands of a few big companies that compete to offer the services and products for your entire life, and another in which the return to a truly decentralized online world has led to an energetic and anarchic knowledge economy. We’ve also got a story by our own Tim Geigner, who has been at this for a long time (his earlier sci-fi novels Digilife, Echelon, and Midwasteland are available as pay-what-you-want ebook downloads in our Insider Shop) and who went straight for the core of the “future of work” premise with a story about working in corporate human resources for not-so-human employees.
I hope some of that piques your curiosity. Techdirt will be off on Monday, so if you’re looking for something to read, grab a copy of the Working Futures paperback or ebook to see you through! And if you do read some or all of the stories, we’d greatly appreciate a review on Amazon and anything else you can do to help spread the word.