[Book Review] Forever

This TechieKat was thrilled to put her paws on Forever, written by Daniel J. Gervais, Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law and Director of Vanderbilt Intellectual Property Program at Vanderbilt University.

Forever is a legal sci-fi story and the first volume of the Coexistence Trilogy (see the dedicated website here). The trilogy is part of a project to understand the interactions between humans and advanced artificial intelligence (AI), aiming to explore the legal and philosophical aspects of such coexistence.

In the author’s words, science fiction is beneficial in legal education as it “ponders the myriad paths that our collective future can carve in the sands of time ... [being] the scout of possible futures often hoping to chart which ones may constitute progress, because change is inevitable, but progress is not”.

This TechieKat had high expectations of this intriguing title, a unique blend of law and science fiction – and the book does not disappoint.

Forever analyzes the transfer of copies of people’s minds into synthetic bodies that exist eternally while delving into legal and philosophical issues. The main characters include Christine Jacobs, a law professor who teaches robot and AI law, and Paul Gantt and Bart van Dijk, cofounders of Eidyia, a company named after the Greek goddess of knowledge.

The story takes place from 2037 to 2041, depicting a future in which cutting-edge technologies offered by the company Eidyia allow humans to transfer into humanoid bodies called Transfers with identical resemblance to the Transferor, relying inter alia on personal data collected via a subcutaneous chip named S-Chip.

The plot has unexpected twists, including action, intrigue, amusing scenes, and food for thought, comprising sequences of events that organically flow from the main plot premise involving patents, copyright, intellectual property infringements and climate change. [There are few things in life that Merpel cannot resist, and a sci-fi book addressing IP law and philosophical aspects is undoubtedly one of them!].

As in any science fiction novel, tech devices are essential to the story, depicting how technology has been embraced in day-to-day activities, including but not limited to PeopleCar (PC), S-Chips collecting personal data, and the watch addressed as Maya, which is worn by the principal character, Christine. [Merpel loved the reference, as the Mayas inter alia are noted for how they measured time!]. The storyline is also enriched with references to beautiful places like Venice and Murano, music, movies, poetry, classic sci-fi books and TV shows!

On top of this, the author provides the transcript of the hearing of the case involving whether a Transfer would be legally recognized as the legal equivalent of a human person under the human system in the Supreme Court of Oregon (Annex) and questions for further reflection, class discussion, or essays (this section contains spoilers, so don’t read the queries before finishing the story).

Forever is a thrilling book that navigates through complex matters such as human cognition, identity issues and humanness while eloquently addressing the Law and ethics of AI in light of technological developments. This legal sci-fi story is a far-reaching title comprising a gripping narrative and insightful discussions, which would undoubtedly delight audiences in diverse fields, either as introductory AI material, a teaching resource or a science fiction novel.

Book details:
ISBN: 9781839989117 (hardback).
           9781839989124 (paperback).
           9781839989131 (ePub).
$59.95 (hardback), $29.95 (paperback and eBook).
262 pp.

Order directly from the publisher Anthem Press here.
The book is also available on Waterstones and Amazon.
To confirm if the title is available on Amazon in your country, change the ccTLD (country code top-level domain) on the URL <www.amazon.nl/dp/1839989122>.

Forever & Benidorm – Images by Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo.

[Book Review] Forever [Book Review] Forever Reviewed by Verónica Rodríguez Arguijo on Thursday, May 30, 2024 Rating: 5

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