Day million is not your usual typical love story although it may seem so at the start
Day million is not your usual typical love story although it may seem so at the start. Soon will you realise that the supposed female lead is actually genetically male. It is about the “love story” of Dora and Don, not the usual love story in our world but a weird love story thousand year into the future. Dora is seven feet tall and have all features of a woman but is considered a male. Don, the male lead is somewhat like a cyborg and is a space traveller.
It is a very different world from ours. Day million challenges our preconception and views as it gives a new possibly future that we may or may not accept currently. The author is constantly engaging the readers by raising a lot of questions which highlights the theme of this story: present vs future. Dora is able to choose her gender and see which fits best which might be possible in the near future and this raise another question of whether humans should play the role of God. This is closely related to genetically modified humans which raises ethical issues. In our current world, CRISPR has the technology and the world first genetically modified embryo had been created. However, with our current technology, things can pretty well go wrong. The issue here is not whether the technology is safe but rather creating such babies can possibly increase their immune system, reducing illness. In an idealistic world like Day million, it can be achievable.
In addition, the ethical issue involved can be very worrying. If humans can be genetically modified and made better, healthier, smarter, wouldn’t there be a huge disparity among the superior and less superior? I assume that this technology should cost a bomb and that only wealthy ones can afford it. This can create a much larger poverty gap than it has already been right now. Well, let’s say the technology is fair and that everyone is entitled to it. This makes everyone equal but again this creates another problem. There will be less competition if not no competition and it does hinder humans’ progress. Without tight competitive spirit, there will not be any room for improvement.
Moving on, Don is a cyborg-like being and this is closely related to the issue of artificial intelligence (AI) taking over the world. People fear that one day AI will be that powerful and can function on its own such that humans are no longer needed. In Day million, even feelings are derived from mathematical formulae. This is indeed worrying as feelings is something unique to humans together with our ability to think. If AI can do both of these, then humans can possibly be eliminated.
In Day million, the couple meet and married abruptly without our “standard procedure”, which consists of a chasing phase, dating phase, boy-girlfriend phase and then marriage. Everything happens so fast and the process is neglected. As humans, this process is extremely important to us, to see if we are suitable for one another, and the feeling of happiness, bitterness, and many more are what makes us human. Without all these, we are just an alien species. With our current technology, AI cannot operate on its own as they follow commands and coding programmed by its operator. AI is merely a tool which speeds up our labour process and they run in a loop over and over without knowing why they are doing so. The future world will be a dull and boring place as there will not be feelings and emotions anymore. It will probably be way more efficient and our world could be the most advanced species in the entire universe but this holds no meaning when there is no joy to any achievements. However, this could be very effective when used in the Army, where discipline is key. With AI, the Army will be way more systematic and disciplined and things can go smoothly as there will not be any disobedience of order.
The author raises many questions in Day million to point out views about our current society, one of which is that we are narrow-minded and not as accepting. The appearance of Don and Dora will be outcast by our society today but in the future world, their appearance is just perfect. This reflects that people today are very judgemental and less acceptance and appearance matters a lot. This will be somewhat like calliagnosia in Ted chiang’s “Liking what you see”, whereby people do not feel any difference regardless of appearance. In this context, people with poorer appearance do not feel any less superior to others which makes the whole society healthier. Ideally, this creates a more fair and equal society and people generally feel happier.
Day million points out many worrying concerns about our future vs present and many possibilities of how our future can be and of which we will be more accepting towards. This story emphasize a lot on humanism and pictures a future world with perfect humanist.