In a pandemic set in the future, can a technologically-obsessed people regain their agency, or will they lose it forever?
What is ZoT?
Zombies of Things, or “ZoT,” is an upcoming fictional book series about the effects of technologies such as Virtual Reality, Internet of Things, and Artificial Intelligence on how people will live, play and work in the future. Set in the mid-2040’s, the books extend the technologies that are already being prototyped and experimented with in the present and takes their impact out to their logical conclusion in the future.
The basic concept of ZoT can already been seen — many people are visibly “zombies” to their electronic devices in the present. Pedestrians, for example, can be so absorbed into their smartphones that they mindlessly walk into traffic, often with deadly consequences. Video games have become so compelling that they fully immerse players in virtual worlds for hours on end to the exclusion of other life activities. Smart speakers answer a question without any larger understanding or further research required. A person need not even venture out into the real world as products simply appear on front doorsteps like magic. As the technology improves, the zombie-like sacrificing of human agency can only be expected to intensify.
The future laid out in the upcoming books, however, is not specifically dystopian like so many books in the futurist category. As it does today, technology a quarter-century from now will also deliver immense blessings in material wealth, the ability to connect with friends and family, and the delivery of products and services. The shock to the system in the ZoT series comes in the form of a strange and deadly pandemic that appears in 2044. Looking at lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic, this fictional one in 2044-2045 will allow for the exploration of society’s responses given the growth in technology. Can people utterly absorbed in their digital worlds effectively come out and respond to a real-world crisis, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in a generation? Can future technologies enable a superior response than what happened with COVID-19?
This WordPress site will be used as a blog about the book series and related concepts, in conjunction with the associated Twitter feeds. Check back here for updates and background articles.
In addition, as the books are being written and finalized, the author, Marco Metz (@authormarcometz), will use his background in online events and the Internet of Things (“IoT”) to create a series of national days known as the “Holidays of the Future.” The purpose of these days will be to promote concepts in the book and to get people ready for observances and events that will be made inevitable with the increased adoption of IoT and other technologies. The first in the series, “Deepfake Awareness Day,” aims to raise awareness of the dangers of Deepfakes, which are growing exponentially and figure prominently in the ZoT books.
Hopefully, the books will be a source of discussion and insight, in addition to being as immensely fun to read as they are to write.