📖 Last Tango In Cyberspace - New ways to think about animals

October 13, 2020

 


Hi friends,
Welcome back! Just wanna share a few interesting things I've picked up from this book, Last Tango in Cyberspace by Steven Kotler.

Genre: Sci-fi, Mystery
Themes: Animal Rights, Ecology

There's nothing exciting to shout about for the plot or characters, but what I liked most from the book were some of the interesting perspectives offered.

A little background context for you. In this world, empathy has now evolved to become a powerful skill that lets you 'see' or 'feel' futures. Main character Lion is an em-tracker, working freelance for big corporations. For example, he tracks down 'cultures' or untangles mysteries such as which AI 3D printer initiated the move of printing another AI 3D printer.

He is also dedicated to the cause of saving animals in this devastating world where many of them are hunted to near extinction.


Since animals and trees do not communicate the same way we do, think of Empathy as a common interface for all. 

The book also raises questions of Tree Rights. Trees can communicate, and even help one another across the globe. What are their rights? In other words, the book invites you to think more about all living creatures on earth. (You can also consider the thought of whether AI robots have rights.)

(Sidenote: I love the highlight function on Libby! It comes in three pale colours similar to Zebra's Mildliner series.)


This chapter tells us why 'Jamaica Air' offers child-free flights. Not only because there are no screaming kids, and not because it's cannabis-friendly. In the book, Rastas stop having children because 'children is pretty much the single worst thing you can do for the environment'. Wow.


The main character is almost always on drugs, getting high or smoking. He makes this comment about 'the drop', where you stop feeling the 'oneness' with the world. It's a feeling people seek, isn't it? To feel like 'one'. I'm not interested in the drop but the 'oneness' feeling. Perhaps some people feel it when they are in the 'flow', or when they are doing yoga or meditation. It is probably a feeling of peace and content? Enlightenment? That's something for me to chew on.

Overall, I wouldn't recommend this book if you're looking for a thrilling sci-fi mystery. The plot is clunky and the characters are bland. However, you disregard these factors, and are interested in this empathy x eco business with a slant towards animals, it's still worth a read for its ideas.

The book is heavy in referencing pop culture - think Dune, Blade Runner, and even Temple Grandin. This sort of writing will either enamour a reader in the know, or alienate them completely. A very risky move. But then again, the book sometimes reads more like a vehicle for the writer to pour in his ideas about animals and the devastation of earth by humans, rather than an actual novel. 

Let me know what you think about the book!

Skye

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