True human nature is revealed from the perspective of a computer

A computer shares its resources on how to make the human pets all computers own happy and healthy in this hard science fiction novella [Photo Credit: Dreamsphere Books]

In the not-so-distant future, past the year 2030, technology has far surpassed intelligence humans only believed possible in science fiction or many more years in the future. Now, machines are building themselves and have their own consciousness, adapting and growing at a rapid rate. It has reached a time where humans are no longer building computers, but computers are raising humans and claiming their past creators as “pets.” To keep up with the ever-increasing human pet population, a computer known as Nannybot A3–4 has some information stored within its databanks on how best for future machines to raise and care for their own human pets.

As dogs are pets to humans, so are humans pets to computers in the science fiction novella, Pet Human. The title shares exactly what the story is about, with humans viewed as pets to advanced technology, and yet the reader will never know who the novella’s author is. The one to share this manual on how to care for one’s pet human is a computer known only as “Nannybot A3–4.” This makes the reading experience clever as it will feel like the novella reads more like information from a databank of a computer rather than a story told by a human writer. With this way of storytelling, this futuristic story reads more like a dictionary mixed with a “how-to” manual rather than a novella, but it contains an incredible amount of captivating information within its limited page count.

Pet Human would be best categorized in the hard science fiction genre, portraying a fictional depiction of a not impossible future. It is an incredibly realistic story and does an excellent job of expressing the precise nature of humanity from the perspective of a computer. If readers believe machines are complicated, Nannybot A3–4 is more than happy to tell readers just how truly complicated humans can be. To read from a different perspective about everything humans need, not just focusing on the bare essentials, but also on more personal and emotional essentials, such as companionship, entertainment, fight-or-flight responses, emotions, etc., is truly eye-opening, making readers more aware of their own human nature.

Some of the content can become repetitive. For example, it is constantly mentioned that technology needs to make their human pets happy and that technology has succeeded in many areas where humans have failed. However, when a reader really thinks about it, computers and machines have a tendency to be tediously repetitive and readers will also realize that, yes, humans do need to be kept happy all the time for if they’re not, they can act out aggressively. Another somewhat tedious, yet realistic characteristic readers will come across are large words only computers would really use in every other sentence. These unusual words may lose readers’ attention at times, but it does not make the novella difficult to understand. On the contrary, these large words add to the feel that it truly is a computer talking to the readers while also broadening their vocabulary.

With the advancement humans have made in technology and artificial intelligence, Pet Human is a hard science fiction novella that will most certainly mess with the readers’ imaginations. Technology is a rather large part of everyday life for humans of various ages, but it is one of those things people will either accept or completely reject. Depending on where one stands on the technology spectrum will depend on if a reader finishes this novella with a sense of curious fascination or terrifying realization. Pet Human is an intriguing quick read that is better to read aloud or to be read aloud to and is even a novella that could be used in college courses, mainly within English or Communication courses for exercises on what could potentially happen. What a wonderful debut for Dreamsphere Books.