31 December 2022
This is the tenth and last episode of Your Performance Review. Michel and Commander Field are reunited and reconstruct the failed lunar mission that changed both of them forever.
Michel has had two chapters in his life as a bot. A before when he was doing the bidding of admin (basically following orders from a higher-level AI), and an after, when he realized that the orders he was following were wrong. In this episode, he regrets these mistakes and wants to make amends. But he may never have the chance. The Investigator, Hillary, is on her way to destroy him.
For those of you who listened to Mission of the Lunar Sparrow, this episode connects the dots between the two series, taking you backward to remember what happened on the moon mission, and forward to a resolution from Commander Field and Michel.
One of the deeper aspects of AI will be how the machines will talk to the machines without any human control or intervention. Beneath the surface of cities, corporations, and nations, AIs will talk to other AIs to make things run smoothly. For humans to remain in the position of control we enjoy now, we will have to stay aware of where that road leads. It will be tempting to rely on the wisdom of bots and let them run things for us, and those in power will encourage that temptation.
One of the experimental aspects of this series was to see what would happen if a bot were the main character of a podcast. I learned that getting listeners to care about a non-human actor is incredibly hard! It’s all in the writing, since the bot reads the lines the same way every time. For variation, we look to the humans cast in this series. I am grateful and amazed at the skills the actors bring to these episodes. They made the scripts come alive in ways I never imagined.
Another experimental aspect of Your Performance Review is its secret purpose. I have used several episodes to workshop characters and themes that appear in my novel Surrender, which will be released in February. Some of those characters will be in the sequel novel, Resist. It’s weird and fun to experience characters like Michel and Commander Field as speaking parts and also as characters in a novel.
Happy New Year, everyone! This is the last newsletter of 2022.
I wish you all the best for a prosperous, healthy, and futurist 2023.
The GIF used in this newsletter is by Metin Seven, a visualizer, illustrator, and 3D designer. Find him at metinseven.nl or on Mastodon at @email@example.com. If you want to follow me on Mastodon, I’m at @firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c) Lee Schneider 2023. Take care of each other. Subscribe.