A common tension in Science Fiction is the question of potential outcomes: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. This is the ground on which One in Ten stands when it comes to the science and technology within it. Yes, the government has a program that “works” but should they really use it?
Consider these MIT robots. Should this be? If you’ve seen Black Mirror’s “Metalhead” you know the answer.
Yes, while the “Cheetah” robots look adorable and might get rated a 13/10 on We Rate Dogs with “would give all the pets”, in my stories I tend to look beneath the positives and expose the negative. The same is true in One in Ten, and the science it’s based on begs for such exploration.
Consider the fact that the opioid epidemic (pills and heroin and synthetics) have cost the US $2.5 trillion dollars over the past four years. Yes, that’s trillion with a “t”. The incentive to cure–or at minimum produce a better treatment–is not only a social issue, but a financial one. And when there’s money, there’s bound to be corruption.
Therefore, it wasn’t a great leap to consider how technology could be used to provide that cure/treatment, and with my background, having technology running part of the body was an easy and logical fit.
The country may now be at odds with the Boomers, but thanks to their longevity, we are witnessing a rise in medical devices, especially implants. From new hips, to pacemakers and defibrillators, to stents, and even as you see above, implants to help restore memory. So, why not use technology to cure/treat heroin addiction?
VR and magnetic stimulation are already being used to treat addiction, so what about something implantable, with capabilities embedded into the code that are more powerful than human desire?
Back to the original consideration.
If we could do something like that, should we? What does it mean to interrupt the process of breaking addiction through artificial means? Who is the individual now, if part of the brain (or maybe all) is being run by a machine? Are they still themselves, or a cyborg self? Are they still addicted? And what happens if the technology glitches or just stops working?
The essential question being asked is how much of our humanity should we surrender to technology? You’ll have to read the novel to find out.