Ray Nayler, author of the excellent The Mountain in the Sea, in conversation with Eliot Peper.

Paul Virilio famously said, “when you invent the ship, you also invent the shipwreck.” I would add to that: when you invent the ship, you invent the shipwreck, you populate the islands of the Pacific and Australia, you write The Iliad, The Odyssey, you enable colonialism to extend its reach across the Atlantic, you drive the whale nearly into extinction, you kill off the dodo and the Steller’s sea cow, you invent the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade, you turn millions of humans into sailors and create cultures around the sea and seafaring that never existed before, you invent naval warfare, Viking piracy . . . this list can go on for as long as we want it to. The point is that the consequences of technology are predictable only in the near, and at best the medium, term. In the long term, technology will do things that fundamentally alter the capabilities of humans, but also alter what it means to be human in the world, because it will alter what we can do, think, tell stories about—everything.

Nayler’s novel is great near-future scifi about consciousness and communication and artificial intelligence and the shifting definition of what it means to be human. Also, there are shipwrecks. Go read it.