The concept for Absence of Mind came out of wishful thinking. I wished that I had my smartphone implanted directly in my brain for easier use. Imagine all the functionality of your smartphone, but with the screen being a heads-up display and all of the commands activated by eye movement or thought. And so the primary technology interface in the world of the novel is a brain implant called a Navi (Native Audio-Visual Interface).
There are substantial implications for mental health care as well, because your new companion can detect through your behavior when you need cognitive therapy and provide it immediately—any time and any place.
The more I wrote about the Navis, the more I wanted one myself. And then I started thinking about what could go wrong.
Actually, part of what’s wrong with Navis in the novel is the same thing that’s already wrong with our use of technology today. Technology is incredibly addictive, and it’s an addiction that supplants physiological human interaction like touch, proximity and eye contact. I wrote this book in part to explore these issues and how a society communicating via Navis might look. It isn’t completely dystopian, but… you’ll have to read it and see.