Communist China and America each proclaim artificial intelligence (AI) as the new battleground for primacy on the global stage. Yet complex technology advances in miniaturization and functionality occur dizzyingly fast, are difficult to grasp, and happen behind the scenes.
Fortunately, respected retired journalist John Moody’s newest political thriller, “The World We Wish” (Brick Tower Press, Sept. 20, 2022, 334 pages), depicts these issues facing the world via tried-and-true storytelling.
While fiction, his writing reflects a professional dedication to authentic research and reliable sources. He shows exactly how China’s quest to pursue dominance in semiconductors and artificial intelligence has succeeded.
Moody’s premise is that while American politicians pursue an ideal world grappling with diversity policies among cultural licentiousness, the Chinese regime has already stolen intellectual property, weaponized personal data, and harnessed the best minds to create an entirely new world of technology-based warfare and escapism.
Moody’s nuanced key figures share a common goal: power over people. China’s unmanned attack drones demonstrate capabilities to destroy entire armies through preprogrammed software. Eventually, AI empowers battlefield decisions with little to no human oversight or intervention.
That is frightening, yet nothing close to the alternative: escape into the metaverse, a virtual world solely based on feelings and the idea of how the world ought to be.
As addicting as drugs, this type of escapism is indeed being built today by Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta (previously Facebook). Moving from heavy headgear to contact lenses to eventual implants in order to make this artificial world instantly accessible, it is no longer a game.
China’s version of this fantasy world comes at extreme cost, as described in this excerpt:
“There’s no such word as no in the metaverse. The world they wish is the one where they can live. … They can be free. And they can be happy, forever, in the metaverse. As long as they don’t try to leave it.”
The option Moody presents is stark: fight for freedom or flee into feelings forever.
Crafting that dilemma perfectly, the reader is thrust into the gruesome plight of enslaved Uyghur Muslims in China’s western outskirts, their bodies horribly tortured and then harvested for organs. Miniaturization of semiconductor chips for inhalation and attachment to the human nervous system is disconcerting, and coming soon.
Yet Moody also offers contrasting lighthearted flights of fancy, from Abbott-Costello-like comedy to poetic musings about a beautiful woman. His minor characters border on caricature, reflecting a telling skepticism of America’s technological superiority, long usurped.
Artificial intelligence begets artificial intimacy, so the technological experts grapple with an untrustworthy world of their own design. Borders between reality and fantasy blur, while the Chinese Communist Party and its holographic leader, Xi Jinping, remain laser-focused on AI’s supremacy in today’s digital world.
Thus, the story unfolds with the ongoing temptation of brutal power via science run amok, balanced against the enticement of individually created utopia and a sort of soporific, self-determined euthanasia. Lifelong battles or eternal peace. Red pill versus blue pill.
Moody’s decades of covering politics and world affairs bring a fine polish to the plot’s subtleties, a parallel to choices facing today’s voters. Progressivism or MAGA, globalism or nationalism, Moody pulls no punches in making sure that communist China’s inhumane practices and unwavering push for world dominance are on full display.
Similar to this novel’s prequel, “Of Course They Knew, Of Course They …,” the ending is as ambiguous as the premise, as anti-climatic and unsettling as the world we live in, though probably not the world we wish.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.