Saturday, December 31, 2011

THE PREDICTEDS by Christine Seifert

PROFILE is a scientific computer program that can predict future behavior.  Daphne's mother is the creator of this unique program, but Daphne never realized how it might come to touch her life.

Daphne wasn't sure if her mother resigned from Utopia Laboratories or if she was fired.  All she knew was they were moving to Quiet, Oklahoma, and she would be attending Quiet High.  Change is good, but fitting in in Quiet proves a bit more difficult than Daphne expected.

Daphne soon discovered that their move to Quiet did not mean leaving behind the controversial computer program.  The citizens of Quiet had approved the testing of most of the high school students, and they were impatiently awaiting the results. 

During Daphne's first weeks in Quiet, a student entered the school with a gun.  She ended up barricaded in a supply closet in the classroom where the shooter ended his attack by shooting himself.  Fortunately, he was the only victim, but his actions had convinced the town that finding which students might be a future threat was information they truly needed.

Anyone "predicted" by the computer program was supposed to be genetically prone to criminal or antisocial behavior.  Before the list of those predicted was released, Daphne could already "predict" how people in this town would react.  She could see the idea of good kids and bad kids was already dividing the town. 

THE PREDICTEDS by Christine Seifert is a frightening look at what could happen if scientific advances allow us to look into the future.  The computer program didn't take some things into account; for example, the question of whether fate supersedes free will is never consider in the testing or if personal choice can overcome genetic tendencies.  The behavior of the people after the list of predicteds is made public, unfortunately, reflects the prejudice that would most likely influence human behavior.  Scary, but true.

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