Saturday, May 25, 2024

Better Living Through Algorithms, by Naomi Kritzer

Clarkesworld, Issue 200, May 2023

Linnea starts hearing about a new--from her friends, online, news stories--called Abelique. It prompts them to make changes, mostly small, in their lives. The users all seem to think it's great, but it sounds creepy to her.

Eventually, her boss, Keith, mentions it, and doesn't just mention it. He wants her and everyone else in the office to use it. "It's not a productivity app!" he insists. "It's a wellness app!"

Having already been downchecked once for being "not open to new processes," she figures she better try it.

It's not just an app. It's also the start of a very human social network.

It's also the start of a wild ride, as Abelique connects people who would never have met, and prompts new habits of behavior and thinking in its users.

It's a lot of fun.

This is a 2024 Hugo Awards Best Short Story Finalist.

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