This tale, from People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction, was so damn clever I cannot tell you. The notion behind it is deceptively simple: we’re following the titular Wilson as he navigates the anniversary of the creation of the Unity—an AI he designed/directed/taught that reached out, world-wide, and enforced a kind of “your freedoms end at the freedoms of others” regime on everyone.
No more 1%. No more dictatorships. The world is—at least by many measures—safer. It’s definitely more equal. And beyond that, it’s monitored completely by the Unity in a way that can’t be undone nor taken down. This is the new normal, and for Wilson, at least, it’s something to be proud of.
At least at first.
Taylor explores a few notions throughout the story via Wilson and his recently reunited ex-boyfriend to great effect: does it count as a better world if no one can choose to do evil since it will be effectively, assuredly stopped? Does the difference even matter if the result is this world-wide peace, lack of want, and freedom of personal expression? Is it worth it?
It’s funny, but while I read the story, I was 100% on board with Unity. I appreciated the dialog and the characters who all struggled with it, but at no point did I not think this fictionalized version of “no one can harm another” utopia would be a place I wouldn’t want to be. I’m ready. When can I move in?