It was an exciting discovery when I read Condiciones Extremas by Juan B. Gutiérrez. Beyond the outstanding quality of the content, this digital novel also impressed me with its use of innovative technology. New technology has always amazed me. In this case innovation in literature with AI (artificial intelligence), immediately called my attention.

At the beginning of my PHD program, my advisor asked me what I wanted to focus on. I said I wanted to innovate and attract more interest in literature. I wanted to use my studies in literature and my passion for technology to attract the interest of new generations of college students towards literature. It meant a lot to me because I realized that it could also contribute to attracting more attention to the humanities.

The impact of technology on literature has opened new opportunities to create, transmit, and access literary works. After the printing revolution, digital media reached historic levels with unprecedented global adoption and demand for information transmission. This technology has transformed contemporary literature with literary works emerging from digital environments that have adopted characteristics which make them different from printed works.

Apart from just mere text, I was amazed by literary works using hypertext or multimedia elements such as animations, audio, or video. In Condiciones Extremas, its hypertext requires readers to decide the reading path interactively in each segment. It goes beyond hypertext by applying AI that adapts the sequence of the textual segments based on the interaction of each reader.

This book changed my perspective about technology. I had a romantic view of technology in where every innovation was supposed to be beneficial. I realized that its narrative has a critical perspective on the implications of the close relationship between society and technology. Its conflicts expose an elitist use of the most advanced technological power for the benefit of the wealthier social classes at the expense of the exploitation of the less favored social classes.

– Leonardo Alvarez Montes (Ph.D. candidate)