AI Possible Futures

Artificial intelligence (AI) has long been a part of our imagined future but is now finding its way into our daily lives. These works of fiction give a glimpse into the possibilities, challenges, and experiences AI might bring.

Compiled by:
Josh C

Annalee Newitz
SF Newitz

Earth, 2144. Jack is an anti-patent scientist turned drug pirate, traversing the world in a submarine as a pharmaceutical Robin Hood, fabricating cheap scrips for poor people who can't otherwise afford them. But her latest drug hack has left a trail of lethal overdoses as people become addicted to their work, doing repetitive tasks until they become unsafe or insane. Hot on her trail, an unlikely pair: Eliasz, a brooding military agent, and his robotic partner, Paladin. As they race to stop information about the sinister origins of Jack's drug from getting out, they begin to form an uncommonly close bond that neither of them fully understand. And underlying it all is one fundamental question: Is freedom possible in a culture where everything, even people, can be owned?

A Closed and Common Orbit

Becky Chambers
SF Chamber
Series: Wayfarers

Lovelace was once merely a ship's artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in a new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before. As Lovelace learns to negotiate the universe and discover who she is, she makes friends with Pepper, an excitable engineer, who's determined to help her learn and grow. Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that no matter how vast space is, two people can fill it together.

Emergent Properties

Aimee Ogden
SF Ogden

A powerful AI reporter investigating on the moon comes back online to discover they have no memory of the past 10 days—nor any idea what leads they were following—and tries to uncover the truth.


Iain M. Banks
SF Banks

This book explores a fascinating post-necessity future for human kind and the AI "minds" shape peoples' lives and meanings.


Iain Reid

Set in the near-future, Junior and Henrietta live a comfortable, solitary life on their farm. One day, a stranger from the city arrives with alarming news: Junior has been randomly selected to travel to space. What's more unusual is that arrangements have already been made for his journey, including who will keep Henrietta company. The person who has been selected is all too familiar...

House of Suns

Alastair Reynolds
SF Reynold

An exploration of identity and exploration, this book shows shows us how AI creations might engage on a universal scale.

Klara and the Sun

Kazuo Ishiguro

Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, is designed to be a playmate for real children. From her place in the store, she watches the behavior of those who come in to browse, and those who pass on the street outside. In conversations with the other AI and the Manager, she remains hopeful she will be chosen. When a possibility emerges that her circumstances may change forever, Klara is warned not to invest too much in the promises of humans.

The Lifecycle of Software Objects

Ted Chiang
SF Chiang

This is the story of two people and the artificial intelligences they helped create, following them for more than a decade as they deal with the upgrades and obsolescence that are inevitable in the world of software. At the same time, it's an examination of the difference between processing power and intelligence, and of what it means to have a real relationship with an artificial entity.

The Mother Code

Carole Stivers
SF Stivers

Kai is born in America's desert Southwest. His only companion his robotic Mother, Rho-Z. Equipped with the knowledge and intuition of a human mother, Rho-Z raises Kai and teaches him how to survive. As children like him come of age, their Mothers transform, too—in ways that were never predicted. When others decide that the machines who raised the children must be destroyed, Kai must fight to save the only parent he has ever known.

Sea of Rust

C. Robert Cargill
SF Cargill

Sea of Rust is both a harsh story of survival and an optimistic adventure. A vividly imagined portrayal of ultimate destruction and desperate tenacity, it boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, yet where a humanlike AI strives to find purpose among the ruins.