Life and Times in Tech
Irreverent account of the invasion of the digital age as seen through the eyes of one small, shell-shocked being. From the early days of room-sized mainframes running on Fortran to present-day addiction to Instagram and Netflix, humanity has gone through mind-blowing changes in its love affair with technology. It’s a helluva story and should not be told without a sense of humor. Fortunately Sue Lange lived through it all and brings on the funny. This is not your grandmother’s memoir. If you’re a fan of Ellen Ullman and “Life in Code,” you will love RTFM.
The Perpetual Motion Club
Welcome to the high school of the future. The glee club is full of rock stars, the brainy kids hack permanent records, and the basketball players are as conceited as the cheerleaders. The walls are ablaze with six-foot-high logos of the hottest junk food, software, and clothing brands of the day. The popular kids are sponsored by Abercrombie, Microsoft, and Frito-Lay. You, on the other hand, can’t even get a return text from Clearasil. Your best friend is a witch, your boyfriend a twerp. Your geometry teacher hates you and your mom is gleefully counting down the days until graduation. Guess it’s time for another hit of iHigh.
Imagine a time in the not-so-distant future when robots are manufactured and sold commercially, occupying a space in nearly every human household. Sue Lange evokes this reality as a backdrop for her novella We Robots, which examines the painful transition of one particular robot named Avey from emotionless domestic servant to conflicted human companion. Two weeks prior to the long-anticipated arrival of the Singularity—the moment when artificial intelligence surpasses human intelligence—old robot models are recalled for the installation of a security upgrade that would allow the growing transhuman population to control them by way of fear tactics: a pain interpreter. This new feature introduces Avey to a cruel, unjust world, engendering a range of human emotions that include sadness, anger, compassion, and love. As robots across the globe collectively discover what it is to be human through the experience of suffering and longing, they inevitably begin to question their exploited existence. Will their joint uprising spoil the transhumans’ grand social experiment and release the robots from a life of servitude?