Over the last week or so, since releasing our Working Futures book of science fiction stories about “the future of work,” we’ve been profiling each of the stories in the book. The first three stories were profiled here, and the second three were profiled here. Here are the next three stories in the book:
Joan Henry vs The Algorithm by Randy Lubin is a modern retelling of the legend of John Henry vs The Machine, but where the machine is an algorithm and there are a few additional twists in the story.
Prime of Life. This is my own second story in the collection, and I talked a bit about it on yesterday’s podcast. This was my attempt to look at how more and more services are coming with subscription models, and picturing a world (and new kinds of jobs) that might come about if we were to create subscription services for almost anything. But, that also raises questions, such as whether or not you’d want to turn your whole life over to one company. And then what happens if that company decides you should no longer keep that life. But… also what happens if there were real competition in the market to provide such services.
The Auditor & The Exorcist by N. R. M. Roshak which is a story that explores the future of work in a near-future world with AI-mediated social credit. Unfortunately for everyone concerned, software bugs are still a thing in the future. If you have nightmares about the lack of security on IOT (and also about the possibility of a social credit score), this one is for you.
I like that these three stories are together in the collection, because despite all three being very different, all three present protagonists with jobs that clearly don’t exist today… but which don’t seem at all unlikely depending on how technology and society evolve over the next decade or so. All three also highlight how these futures we’re discussing are neither dystopian nor utopian (or, arguably, they can be seen as both dystopian and utopian depending on whose perspective you’re looking at. These are worlds where amazing things are possible, but those amazing things also have costs and consequences that should be considered. Thanks to everyone who has already purchased the book — and for those who haven’t yet, please check it out.