The human lurking in the robot, a fable by Samanta Schweblin

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Is it better to be or to have? In the world of Kentucky, Samanta Schweblin’s dystopia, this philosophical question poses an unprecedented dilemma: those who “own” a kentuki are the owners of a connected plush toy, mounted on wheels, equipped with a camera and endowed with a certain autonomy. Creatures halfway between the pet and the voyeuristic gadget, they respond to the commands of those who choose to “be” a kentuki. Through a mobile application, hidden behind a viewing tablet, these people take up virtual residence in these toys that the whole world is tearing apart. The exchange, unequal and potentially excessive, opens up dizzying narrative tracks.

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