RAS Administrative Committee Member, Carme Torras, publishes a Novel based on an imagined future with robots.
The Vestigial Heart
A Novel of the Robot Age
By Carme Torras
Translated by Josephine Swarbrick
A thirteen-year-old girl wakes up in a future where human emotions are extinct and people rely on personal-assistant robots to navigate daily life.
Imagine a future in which many human emotions are extinct, and “emotional masseuses” try to help people recover those lost sensations. Individuals rely on personal-assistant robots to navigate daily life. Students are taught not to think but to employ search programs. Companies protect their intellectual property by erasing the memory of their employees. And then imagine what it would feel like to be a sweet, smart thirteen-year-old girl from the twenty-first century who wakes from a cryogenically induced sleep into this strange world. This is the compelling story told by Carme Torras in this prize-winning science fiction novel.
Carme Torras, a prominent roboticist, weaves provocative ethical issues into her story. What kind of robots do we want when robot companions become as common as personal computers are now? Is it the responsibility of researchers to design robots that make the human mind evolve in a certain way? An appendix provides readers with a list of ethics questions raised by the book.
The novel has been published together with some ancillary materials to teach a course on Ethics in Social Robotics and AI.
Please see additional information here.