Cas is a startlingly ordinary young man. Social interactions are a defect for him, to the point of preferring to lock himself up at home for whole days to live in a virtual reality – even if it means sleeping little, eating poorly. Few friends, no stable romantic relationship, and a scattered family life, far from ideal. He half realizes himself in his work, dislikes physical exercise apart from a few bike rides – and a disastrous experience of swimming in the sea.
More than anything, he seems inhabited by a void that he doesn’t know how to fill.
Such a profile, at first glance, does not doom him to be indoctrinated in the insurrection movement of the Imperfect, these beings who live on the margins, without Gena, without connection to the system of government. Nothing in his own Gena’s observations seems to point to such a conclusion. However, the reality is quite different.
Over the chapters, this artificial intelligence reveals Cas’s youth, as well as the months, weeks, days that preceded his disappearance, his total disconnection, in the hope of understanding how things turned into a nightmare.
This novel by Ewoud Kieft tackles several very popular themes, and for good reason: they affect our society as we already know it in 2022. First of all, like many science fiction stories by the past, the fear of technology and its potential to control humans. Gena advises, needle, always benevolent – but what about the information collected without our knowledge? Injunctions that encourage maintaining a certain social propriety in all circumstances? Of this impulse towards an unattainable perfection?
The author also addresses the indoctrinating power of cultures, of conspiracy theories, of those great orators who manage, in a few beautiful twists, to make people believe in crazy ideas. Or are they so mad? Do they finally fail to communicate even an ounce of truth? ” A code. This is what you are, nothing more than a code. A code that they have deciphered for a long time, integrated into their system, converted into advice, measures, soothing slogans. »
At the heart of a perfectly organized, controlled, excessively systematized society, how do you find your own identity? How do we fight an influence that we are taught to trust completely? Or more simply: should we even imagine being able to, having to fight it?
Without criticizing Cas’s thirst for freedom, Gena’s explanations present each event with an almost disconcerting objectivity. We therefore discover two opposing points of view. On the one hand, the human psyche and our way of convincing ourselves, of believing what we want to believe, at all costs – to the point of losing all nuance. ” This shows how rigid their convictions are once they have adopted them, and their tenacious prejudices. From the moment they believe in something, it is almost impossible to turn them away from it. »
On the other, this visceral rationality of the government, which wishes to preserve an organized, healthy society. Because after all, the creation of Gena responds to a real need: to save the human race, to keep it out of reach of self-destruction, to make it aware of ecological and environmental issues. Create, therefore, model citizens, within a utopian civilization.
It’s really only at the end of this novel that the author seems to suggest that we take sides, all suggestively and with a certain irony… A fine invitation to reflection.
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The Imperfects: hyper-controlled society and artificial intelligence
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