The idea that super-smart Siri-like machines might rise up is hardly a new one in fiction… but what if they didn’t revolt? What if our Artificial Friends did exactly what they said on the tin, and upheld their obligation to serve us faithfully?
This is new ground for “dystopian” literature, and naturally it is being trod by Nobel prize-winner Kazuo Ishiguro. The fine folks at Faber Books were kind enough to send me a copy of his latest, Klara And The Sun, for review.
The story is told from the perspective of Klara, an Artificial Friend who satisfies herself with what she can see from the store window until a child selects her to take home.
The title is not metaphorical: Klara comes to worship the sun, being as she is solar-powered, and it takes on mythic proportions for her.
It’s a fresh take, but the themes are undeniably Ishiguro-y: memory, duty, and sacrifice, all of which exist in an uncanny valley too-near our own reality.