Is it possible that a world can be divided by memory retention instead of race, wealth, or religion? Felicia Yap tells the story of a psychological thriller in Yesterday, centered around murder and a society where there are only two classes – Monos, those who can remember events from the past 24 hours; and Duos, those who retain up to 48 hours of memory. We speak to the Malaysian born author about her debut novel.
Technology is fast-moving and constantly changing. What do you imagine a future for monos and duos would be like, with new tech that will help benefit their condition (aside from the iDiary?)
I wanted Yesterday to hold up a mirror to ourselves, to our own digital obsessions. We are all eager to photograph precious moments in our lives, to record these on electronic devices before they are gone forever. This, I believe, is linked to the deep-seated (but very human) fear of forgetting. I wanted the iDiary to act as a metaphor for how we are all increasingly reliant on technology (such as our smartphones) to hold on to the past, to remember what matters to us.
This is why I believe that the future for Monos and Duos will revolve more heavily around iDiaries, not less. Future Monos and Duos are likely to become more dependent on electronic Diaries (these will be super hi-tech devices with predictive functions). Future iDiaries will be capable of predicting what Monos and Duos are most likely to do each day, based on the data they have accumulated. These devices will also get it right, most of the time. I envisage a future where Monos and Duos will do exactly what their iDiaries tell them to do – only a brave few will ignore electronic predictions.
We already see some of this happening in our own world. The train app on my smartphone currently tells me where I’m likely to be heading next, based on the journeys I’ve previously made. It even gets it right, sometimes (which is a little scary).
I also believe that voice-operated gadgets will become ubiquitous in homes of the future, in the Duo/Mono world (as well as in our own world). Voice recognition technology is likely to become an integral part of people’s lives. Future kitchen appliances such as coffee machines and blenders will be triggered by voice commands, for instance. I can picture future iDiaries issuing remote instructions to coffee grinders each morning, whether their Duo/Mono owners like it or not.