Ishiguro and the rise of techno-pessimism

Ishiguro and the rise of techno-pessimism

I had to verify that Kazuo Ishiguro had not written a android protagonist before. His characters are emotional white people who favor the cut-off diction of police reports in a gendarmerie safer than the average. Dozens of pages may pass before the reader discerns an inner tension, at which point the strained prose takes on sublime meaning as characterization. No writer gets more effect while seeming to do so little.

So the solar powered “artificial friend” in his new book is sort of a career achievement. Klara and the Sun depicts the bond between the titular servant and a mysteriously ill girl in the near future in the United States.

Ishiguro is too cool – also like his own characters – to write an outright dystopia. When Klara performs the biomechanical challenge of sitting on a kitchen island, we see that here, even after the Nobel Prize, there is an ironist at work. Yet a quick tabulation of the horrors predicted in this book includes: the obsolescence of most workers, the mistreatment of sensitive machines, environmental theft, mad genetic surgery, and childhood corruption. When Klara sees people engrossed in portable “oblongs,” the book is about to wonder why we aren’t talking to each other. more.

In a young century, attitudes towards technology have shifted from gullible optimism to scattered doubts to what is now overwhelming gloom. Only the intermediate phase was proportionate to distance. Last month, MP for Tobias Ellwood described …

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