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Rich and Strange: "In Loco Parentis" by Andrea Phillips

January was full of settling back in to life in Canada — or rather, figuring out ways to navigate remaining thoroughly UN-settled, as my life has been such that I’ve still not found time to unpack my suitcases — and January extended into February, but here, nevertheless, is a new instalment of Rich & Strange.

“In Loco Parentis” is a near-future story where children have AI presences—called “minders”—injected into their heads at a young age, supplemented with glasses that allow the children to interface with a variety of internet. These minders are meant to complement a biological parent’s authority until such time as the child is ready to graduate beyond them, swapping the glasses out for optic implants and integrating the minder with their own personality, or wiping the minder clean to start afresh as an adult. Yakova, a young teenager, is at an age where all her friends are getting the optic implants—but her mother, Meirav, doesn’t think she’s ready, and dislikes the influence Yakova’s friends are having on her.

I loved this story, and am still mulling over a few of its implications. I’m always grateful when a story leaves me feeling good, and I was grateful to this one. Please do, by the way, check out Phillips’ other work, linked in the original post — she’s just wonderful.