A Thought Provoking Dystopian Story About Humans v Humans
Moneyland by Michael Botur
Updated August 2023
I’ve been thinking about this book, considering all the artificial intelligence developments and tools coming into play. Moneyland by Michael Botur was published in 2017, a year when AI was around but hadn’t quite got to the level it is today.
Set in 2037, the book describes a world where human jobs have been lost to AI. A scenario that is all too present and familiar now.
Personally, I think AI is the greatest threat to society. For example, there’s a talent crunch in many countries. India is the most populous nation on earth, having overtaken China. People are living longer. Technology is getting smarter.
AI can do jobs faster and more accurately all day and every day. We know there are problems with AI getting stuff wrong, bias, and being only as good as the datasets it’s fed, but imagine the day it gets things right.
Only the EU has progressed far down the AI regulation path and they’re two years ahead of everyone. Right now, AI is the wild, wild west where anything goes and Moneyland paints the picture of what might very well turn out to be true.
Moneyland by Michael Botur is set in the not too distant future and is about a group of twelve adults who have won the chance to participate in a bio-dome experiment for a year and get paid US$1 million dollars in cash within 24 hours of arrival.
Except the group finds the bio-dome is an island devoid of people but with plenty of deserted houses, cars, and shops. There is nothing to buy, no food, no drink, and they realize they need to live in a bleak existence where everything has to be scavenged.
Soon, the group of twelve splits in two with Adam Turing setting up his own camp, but gets Eden, our hero (the storyteller), pregnant.
Turing takes on somewhat of a Colonel Kurtz (Apocalypse Now) persona, although not quite to the same level of depravity or insanity, but close enough.
There are also elements of Stephen King’s Running Man and Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games in Moneyland. In that
The story has many twists and turns and is sometimes difficult to read because of the handling of specific subjects, making it a well-written work.
Moneyland takes the reader on a journey that has the potential to become a reality rather than a work of fiction. An enjoyable read with a satisfying build up, Moneyland’s grand finale and conclusion is both twisted and thought provoking.
This book has occupied the shelves in my brain for a long time. I keep thinking about how relevant it is now in this world of AI and how everything will change.
In that regard, Moneyland has scored a direct hit on story retention.
It’s August and I’m still thinking about this book every week. There’s something about the storyline that’s impacted my inner soul, which has never happened before. I’m not sure if this is to do with the story being set in the next ten years and could easily become a reality.