What's Next
by Geoffrey Keane

"I hear they feel like a real human being; their skin, their muscles, their body temperature, their touch?"

In the year 3017, the earth has a single government. Also, there are several man-made planets used to house a variety of humanity’s unsavory factions, and science is fast-reaching the point where humans will be able to transport into humanlike androids in order to travel from planet to planet safely. Another leap in development includes the extension of the human lifespan by hundreds of years. The future looks bright for Bill Symms, a marketing associate at U.S. Android and his science-teacher wife, Justina. They are the parents of boy and girl twins, Tommy and Alyssa. When given the opportunity, they make the intellectual decision to become part of a study of family android prototype units in which androids are connected to all four family members. However, emotions are not ruled by intellect, and when things go horribly wrong, the center of this seemingly stable family cannot hold.

This sci-fi trek into the world of the 31st century is a study of the great capacity that mankind may indeed have to advance in the science of artificial intelligence, and the emotional toll that advancement may take on the psyche when carried to extremes. It is an interesting look at what may become of humanity in a world in which androids are humanlike, and planets are built to rid the earth of those we wish to ban. Interestingly, the human capacity for jealousy, vindictiveness, and depravity remains even in the face of great advances. There is plenty to chew on here about the nature of humanity and what drives one’s behavior. Keane creates a world of fascinating possibilities that, for all its great advances, underscores the famous adage: The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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