What is it?
Since 2009, Comma has been coordinating a series of science-inspired short story commissions, inviting authors and research scientists to collaborate on stories around particular areas of technology, theory, treatment or science history. So far, the project has produced five anthologies, pairing writers with scientists to produce scientifically accurate stories accompanied by short, explanatory afterwords, written by the consulting scientists themselves. Beta-Life was the fourth book published as part of the series, focusing on A-life and futuristic technological advancement.
‘Computers are changing. Soon the silicon chip will seem like a clunky antique amid the bounty of more exotic processes on offer. Robots are changing too; material evolution and swarm intelligence are creating a new generation of devices that will diverge and disperse into a balanced ecosystem of humans and ‘robjects’ (robotic objects). Somewhere in between, we humans will have to change also… in the way we interact with technology, the roles we adopt in an increasingly ‘intelligent’ environment, and how we interface with each other. The driving motors behind many of these changes will be artificial life (A-Life) and unconventional computing. How exactly they will impact on our world is still an open question.’
But in the spirit of collective intelligence, this anthology brings together 38 scientists and authors, working in pairs, to imagine what life (and A-Life) will look like in the year 2070. Every kind of technology is imagined: from lie-detection glasses to military swarmbots, brain-interfacing implants to synthetically ‘grown’ skyscrapers, revolution-inciting computer games to synthetically engineered haute cuisine. All artificial life is here.’
Why this book?
With the upcoming release of the sixth instalment of this series, Thought X, we thought it only right to include some of it’s predecessors (inc. Spindles and When It Changed) so you can get a taster of what’s to come. Artificial intelligence is still a hotly debated topic as we move into an age where our life revolves around our gadgets and we rely more and more on our tech.
Who should you buy if for?
Publishers Weekly said of Beta-Life it ‘will appeal to any fans of futurism’. Fans of films such as Ex-Machina or Chappie, that explore robotics and human-robot interaction will love the blending of fiction and fact this anthology brings together.
Buy it HERE.
Listen to Claire Dean’s ‘Making Sandcastles’, from Beta-Life, on MacGuffin HERE.