The advent of the 4th Industrial Revolution inspired the Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) Journalism programme alumnus, Khulekani Magubane to pen his latest book titled: This Love Thing: A New Age Love Story.
“I was inspired by the new innovations of the fourth industrial revolution, technology and how it has changed the way we live. Our cell phones and the mobile applications on them, help us with so much of our lives that we depend on them to form opinions about reality. Bots which spread misinformation on social media networks are still widely blamed for manipulating societies, allegedly bringing about the Trump US election victory in 2016 and Brexit,” said Magubane.
He said his latest literature offering is about a trio of university IT students who build a cell phone application for the graduate year project that helps people with dating. “However, one of them is in a long distance relationship and wants to keep tabs on her boyfriend. She secretly codes an artificial intelligence into the app that makes it in tune with the algorithm of truth. Others who download the app find themselves exposed for cheating and all hell breaks loose,” he said.
The young author of more than 20 books said even though writing this book presented its own challenges, he did enjoy the journey. “I just love telling stories. It’s something that I was born to do,” he said.
Magubane said the target market for this book is mainly teenagers and young adults. “I want to get them thinking of our reliance on technology and how to live more holistic lives, without necessarily getting us off our phones, but at least to acknowledge that the phone is just a device designed to make life better and that a phone is not a better life,” he added.
The passionate author and journalist said he intends to continue writing, and one of his aspirations is to put together a comic book.
Synopsis of the Book
This Love Thing is written as a comedic fable and romance satire. Mbali, Courtney and Lillian are three information technology students at the Gauteng Central University, who must create a cell phone application for their graduate assignment.
They decide to develop an online dating application to help people meet others with common interests and ease the daunting experience of dating. However, their various experiences with love begin to compromise the application itself.
Courtney Su is in a long distance relationship with Jerome Castle, who has taken up a teaching job in Hong Kong. She does not know where she stands in the relationship and, out of desperation; she secretly decides to enlist the help of a hacker to program functions into the app that allow users to keep tabs on each other.
Meanwhile Lillian (who suggested the idea of an online dating app) sees this as the perfect opportunity to reconcile with her ex-boyfriend, Bulara Maswanganyi.
Mbali is the only one of the three ladies who has never been in a serious relationship. Her roommate and drama student Cadence Mackenzie advises her to use the app to start dating, quipping that Mbali might find the love of her life through her own creation.
When the mobile application is released on a pilot basis, users who download it are asked to forward a link to ten of their contacts in order to start using it. Those ten are asked to forward a download link to ten others and so on and so on, until the application goes viral.
However, when the surveillance components of the mobile application go haywire and the application begins to become attuned to the algorithm of people’s truths.
This means the mobile application causes various functions on users’ phones to malfunction. For instance, it will disable WhatsApp, barring users from viewing their messages, which causes tension in people’s relationships.
However, the application also causes other kinds of chaos, such as automatically sharing images from users’ photo gallery on their Facebook and Instagram accounts publicly. This is just a nuisance if you are an honest person, but if you’re receiving nudes from your side chick, it’s a crisis.
The three ladies must try and mitigate the damage that their Frankenstein creation is causing, but in the process they must also face their fears, doubts and insecurities when it comes to matters of love.
Can they save the relationships that their application has put in jeopardy? Would it be right for them to even try? More importantly, will the application reveal any inconvenient truths about the relationships that they are in or are going into?
Pictured: Khulekani Magubane (Photo Credit: Lotte Manicom).