Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Looking Back Since Killer in the Retroscape Was Published in 2018

I’m not sure if George Orwell, Margaret Atwood, or Aldous Huxley ever looked back five or ten years after publishing their seminal dystopian novels, but curiosity got the best of me. Obviously, I knew that Killer in the Retroscape: A Near-Future Mystery had foretold the challenges of the COVID pandemic more than a year before they occurred. As one reviewer put it, it accurately anticipated “… the effects of a pandemic on the population - social distancing, lockdowns, masks, and all the other precautions people were forced to take in 2020 – 2021.” The fiction did, however, miss on the pandemic’s duration and so, it doesn’t speak to the COVID fatigue we are all facing today.

Killer in the Retroscape predicted a threat from declining world population. In all fairness, however, the population of some countries was already decreasing in 2018. Japan’s population, for example, has been going down since 2008. But the issue has certainly received a lot more attention recently, with Elon Musk declaring that "Population collapse is the biggest threat to civilization" in a 2022 Twitter post. I’m not sure I’d raise it to the “biggest threat” just yet, but unfortunately, it's climbing the charts.

The book also foresaw workers coming to accept intelligent machines … albeit after some resistance. And are we starting to see that? According to one tech company, Zebra Technologies Corp, while some remain wary, many warehouse workers “… credit AMRs [autonomous mobile robots] with helping to increase their productivity (80%), reduce the number of mistakes they make (73%), and facilitate advancement to new roles or opportunities (65%).” And these are autonomous units rather than pre-programmed machines, which in many ways is the holy grail of artificially intelligent robots.

Of course, there are a few predictions in the book that have me concerned. In it, for example, the world beats climate change. I hope that one isn’t slipping away from us. As for the rest of the events that led to the downfall of humanity? Well, discussing them would make this note one gigantic spoiler, wouldn’t it?

So instead, I’ll let you find out for yourself for less than a dollar, now through August 12.


No comments :

Post a Comment