Author Robert Snyder creates a world that gives the reader a glimpse of what could be when we no longer depend on each other, but machines instead.
Cambridge, Massachusetts (PRUnderground) March 7th, 2019
People of Metal envisions a world in which intelligent machines do literally everything that has to be done, leaving nothing that biological humans need to do or be responsible for. It’s a timely issue that has sparked serious concern in the tech world.
Bill Gates and Elon Musk have recommended that a guaranteed income be provided to workers who are displaced by advanced technologies. Others, like Kai-Fu Lee, the author of Superpowers, China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order, have gone a step further and suggested that a guaranteed income alone might not be enough to sustain displaced workers’ will to live.
In 2065, a team at MIT brings to fruition efforts, already well underway today, to make functioning digital copies of actual human minds. When the mind-copies are installed in advanced robotic hardware whose functionality equals or exceeds that of the human body itself, the resulting “people of metal” can perform the same work as their biological originals—from carving a sculpture to performing brain surgery.
The well-intentioned leaders of China and the U.S. form a partnership to develop people of metal for every human vocation in every country in the world. People of metal proliferate, economic output soars, and the entire world prospers. It’s a new Golden Age.
Unfortunately, the new technology’s trajectory continues until it reaches its seemingly inevitable endpoint, and by 2190, people of metal, who are vastly more cost-effective than biological human workers, comprise the world’s entire workforce, except in Africa, where their use has been limited to providing personal services to the elites.
Displaced biological workers receive generous annual stipends, but in the 200 years that follow, birth rates plummet, alcohol and drug addiction soar and billions of dispirited humans opt to take their own lives rather than continue their purposeless existence. By 2400, biological humanity appears to have become extinct.
in 2527, however, travelers find survivors in Africa, held as slaves by brutal Russian overlords. People of metal from around the world join together in a compassionate, centuries-long initiative that frees the survivors and helps them build new lives.
The civilization that the metallics help the survivors build avoids many of the mistakes human societies historically had made, and the novel ends on a strongly positive note, which led one reviewer to describe the novel as “utopian.” But the broader story is quite the opposite if one takes account of the billions of lives that had been lost in humanity’s near extinction.
The message of People of Metal is that the future of the human race will likely depend in large part on its success in managing technology so that it stops short of rendering our successors obsolete.
Copies of People of Metal are available at all major booksellers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Black Rose Writing
Print and Electronic review copies available upon request
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