On the occasion of International Book Day 2018, we compiled some of the best science fiction books.
Since the 80s there have been technological advances so deep that our ancestors could think that this is a utopian reality. The Internet has changed the way we learn, relate and, ultimately, who we are. But this has only been the beginning. In the next 20 years, the human being will be closer than ever to teleport. And within 100, possibly, will be able to live with robots or that these can be part of our body through brain implants or incorporating bionic limbs.
With this list of science fiction works we will approach, with different degrees and points of view, all those realities that may be feasible thanks to an unprecedented evolution of three key technological areas.
Ready Player One, Ernest Cline (Editions B, 2011)
It is the most influential novel in the current virtual reality, because it shows precisely how the development of a society towards poverty and depression makes the human being, seeking evasion, transfer practically all his life, except his body, to a virtual world in the one that nothing exists. Another very interesting aspect of this future is the democratization of a system of quality education for all inhabitants, and in which technological innovations are fully exploited.
The Infinite Game, James Dashner (Montena, 2013)
science fiction Here we also find a future society where people prefer to live connected to a virtual world that “be” in their real life. However, by the way events occur, its technological relevance is found in the eternal debate of computer security. In this reality, the problem is that we no longer talk about privacy, but rather that it is our own life that is at stake when we are connected. Undoubtedly, a fun work and with which to become aware of the dangers of the present and technological future.
Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson (Gigamesh, 1992)
A classic, both for technology and for general literature, for how in the early days of the Internet they were able to develop the now popular concepts of “avatar” -the current social identifiers-or a world based on virtual reality possible thanks to the advances of the network. It also reviews the dangers shared between these two worlds, with a focus based on the medical sector or, in this case, the eHealth.
Me, robot, Isaac Asimov (EDHASA, 1950)
Despite having been published 66 years ago, this work is a great reference, since it enunciates and fully develop the three laws of robotics. They establish the fundamental principles that should govern the coexistence and respect of robots towards human beings. Rules that have been used for the current programming of robots, moving from fiction to reality. Composed of different independent stories, the subject is treated from different points of view to address all possible problems.
Recursion, Tony Ballantyne (Random House Books, 2004)
science fiction The story focuses on the machines created from the theoretical concept of the mathematician Von Neumann, providing a brilliant positioning for robotics. They are able to build copies of themselves thanks to a high degree of artificial intelligence. The problem, and the debate, occurs when the duplication process takes place in a massive way, which means that one of the biggest fears about robots becomes reality: losing control and thereby violating the three laws of Asimov .
Robocalipsis, Daniel H. Wilson (Penguin Random House, 2011)
science fiction As the title reads, this work deals with the theme of the robot apocalypse. Unlike Von Neumann machines, the robots here do have the objective of dominating the human being. Its relevance lies in the fact that it teaches how, after several generations of learning and a great analytical capacity, a robot can turn against us and get to control everything that surrounds us. An exciting idea, but very dangerous, which is already working from the point of view of robot design to avoid future conflicts.
How to Create a Mind, Ray Kurzweil (Lola Books, 2012)
science fiction The main, and most influential, argument of this work is about the real capacity that we come to create a brain as or more intelligent and complex than the human being. At that point, the idea that we have to consider machines people, with which we even merge, integrating our mind into them or making our bodies bionic, is revolutionary. It is a debate that even in the primary state will be necessary in the not too distant future.
How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics, N. Katherine Hayles (The University of Chicago Press, 1999)
science fiction The best of this work is the brilliance with which it deals with the question of what it means to be human, what differentiates us from the machines, how we interact with them and what implications this new social interaction has for the long term. In that sense, the most powerful idea is that it is a matter of time before we evolve towards a much deeper union with machines and, therefore, we will have to establish new social values and coexistence with robotics.