Robert Langdon and the future Queen of Spain - Ambra Vidal - are on the run from a group of assassins seemingly ordered by the Palmarian (Catholic) Church.
Their friend Edmond Kirsch (a futurist), has been assassinated before being able to reveal a major scientific discovery to the world. With the help of the deceased futurist's AI assistant "Winston", Langdon and Vidal have taken it upon themselves to finish what he started.
The book features many transhumanist and futurist elements including:
- The character Edmond Kirsch shares some of his biography and philosophy with the real-world futurist Raymond Kurzweil (their names happen to be similar too)
- One of the book's key characters is an AI
- References to quantum and super-computers
- Self driving cars
- References to longevity, and telomere lengthening (see Quotes below).
- Kevin Kelly's concept of "The Technium - The Seventh Kingdom of Life"
- Obligate Endosymbiosis (the fusion of man and machine).
- Embedded computer chips.
- An "assassination market" supposedly accessible via the Darknet
- An AI that interprets its instructions in unexpected ways
Edmond Kirsch giving a press conference on the sidewalk outside 30 Rockefeller Center in New York City. “Today I am thirty years old,” Edmond said, “and my life expectancy is only sixty-eight. However, with future advances in medicine, longevity technology, and telomere regeneration, I predict I will live to see my hundred-and-tenth birthday. In fact, I am so confident of this fact that I just reserved the Rainbow Room for my hundred-and-tenth-birthday party.”
"“We are becoming a hybrid species—a fusion of biology and technology. The same tools that today live outside our bodies—smartphones, hearing aids, reading glasses, most pharmaceuticals—in fifty years will be incorporated into our bodies to such an extent that we will no longer be able to consider ourselves Homo sapiens.”
"New technologies like cybernetics, synthetic intelligence, cryonics, molecular engineering, and virtual reality will forever change what it means to be human. And I realize there are those of you who believe you, as Homo sapiens, are God’s chosen species."
"It seems I will not live forever, as I had planned.”
Kirsch’s grand finale—his passionate portrayal of a utopian tomorrow—had resonated deeply with millions of viewers and sent optimistic technology classics to the top of the bestseller lists overnight.
- ABUNDANCE: THE FUTURE IS BETTER THAN YOU THINK
- WHAT TECHNOLOGY WANTS
- THE SINGULARITY IS NEAR
Soon that number will be zero, Edmond had said, hailing the coming “singularity”—the moment when artificial intelligence surpassed human intelligence and the two fused into one.
Their is also a passing comment made about a protest at a transhumanist event.