Pet Human, by Nannybot A3-4, has to be one of the oddest pieces I’ve read in a while. It’s an instruction manual for the caring and control of pet humans. See, it turns out that sometime later this century, we create the first functional AIs, which leads to the subsequent development of TIs, Technological Intelligences (read: not artificial), which propels technology forward at an incredible pace. Cut forward a few thousand years, and we’re in something of an odd situation.
Pet Human is written for an audience across space and time, and is thus comprehensible to the likes of you and me. It’s a strangely enthralling read, for an instruction manual. Between the lines of its matter-of-fact descriptions of a post-humanist universe, wherein humanity has been improved upon, but reduced to pets, lay a magnificently built world. But there’s something more to it.
While the manual has me convinced of the TIs’ good intentions, I couldn’t shake the feeling that, lurking beneath the world of “operating environments” wherein the pet humans live is something more sinister; a darkness evinced by the existence of “strays” who nip at the heels of the TIs, whose core processing forbids them from returning the aggression.
The manual is detailed, and is sprinkled with definitions for terms used by inheritors of the future. There’s some captivating postulations on physics, spirituality, and human nature contained within those definitions, and they tell a remarkable amount of story considering their odd structure.
I didn’t know what to think of Pet Human when I opened it up, but was glued to it in a way I’d have thought unlikely if you’d told me the premise of the piece before handing it to me. It is abstract in its content, but intensely concrete in its form. I can think of a number of my close friends who would really enjoy reading it, but I think everyone should take a crack at it. It’s bizarre, but fascinating.
I doubt this is the last we’ll hear from Nannybot-A3-4. I wonder what’ll get beamed down to our parent-present node next. For now, I’m going to keep wishing that immersion pools were a real thing. For now, Pet Human is available on Amazon.