TIFA presents Autonomy author Victoria Hetherington in conversation with Olga Ravn (The Employees) for the Do Androids Dreams? panel.
In their latest novels Canadian author Victoria Hetherington, and Danish poet and novelist Olga Ravn feature worlds struggling to harmonize human life with artificial intelligence (AI).
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In a near future ravaged by illness, one woman and her AI companion enter a dangerous bubble of the superrich.
It's 2035: a fledging synthetic consciousness “wakes up” in a lab. Jenny, the lead developer, determined to nurture this synthetic being like a child, trains it to work with people at the border of the American Protectorate of Canada. She names it Julian.
Two years later, Slaton, a therapist at a university, is framed by a student for arranging an illegal abortion. She follows the student to America and is detained at the border, where she meets Julian in virtual space. After a week of interviewing, he decides to stay with her, learning about the world, the human condition, and what it means to fall in love. Meanwhile, a mysterious plague is spreading across the world. Only the far-seeing and well-connected Julian can protect Slaton from the impending societal collapse.
Autonomy is an ambitious philosophical novel about the possibilities for love in a world in which human bodies are either threatened or irrelevant.