By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter
Longtime Palisadian Scott T. Grusky’s latest literary achievement focuses on the future in his novel, “Zero Percenters.”
The new release is a story about Anja Lapin, a conservationist whose personal rebellion against her father’s discovery and profiteering have led to being one of the only two humans not to use her father’s invention, an algorithm enabling humans to digitize their bodies and consequently, become immortal.
Artificial intelligence is the knowledge of human beings coded, the Castellammare resident explained to the Palisadian-Post.
“I feel like it’s important to ask the difficult questions,” Grusky shared. “If we can have everything, what is it that we really want?
“It’s also extremely important to think: What’s the greatest possible outcome so we can try and achieve it? What’s the evolutionary process that would bring humanity to the best place?”
In “Zero Percenters,” the main protagonist is confronted with a major conundrum, which is whether she wants to digitize even though almost the entire human population has, Grusky explained.
It’s even harder for her since she’s coming to a decision late, and “since her father is the inventor and they have had some friction,” Grusky added.
In the novel, there are robots called “concierges” that help people with their decision to digitize as the number of people who haven’t digitized continues to decrease.
To digitize means “basically you can live the life of 1,000 years in a day,” Grusky said.
The novel asks the question: How will people find meaning when artificial intelligence solves all of our basic problems?
Anja forges a relationship with a professional skier who hasn’t digitized, and they end up climbing a mountain peak in Argentina, the tallest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere.
Anja, the main character, also finds that meditating is a way to help her analyze the situation, Grusky shared. However, Anja finds the only place she can do that is on the top of the mountains.
Novelist Grusky plans to integrate some of his book readings with hikes to beautiful vista points because he thinks it would be a fun way to commemorate the novel.
Grusky has lived in the Palisades since childhood, even marrying the girl who would look out the window from across the street while he played basketball at his best friend’s house on Las Casas. As kids, Grusky and his future wife, Marjory, only knew each other in passing.
Years later, Grusky met Marjory through a website he was reviewing from a technological standpoint, and she wrote to him. At first, Grusky didn’t realize who she was and didn’t reply.
Then, when Grusky went on a trip to New Zealand, he had some free time, so he replied and they connected through the Internet.
The couple now has a 9-year-old daughter, Clarisse, who also loves to write. All three attended Marquez Charter Elementary School. Grusky’s parents are also longtime Palisadians.
Grusky, who went to Palisades Charter High School, credits his English teachers for sparking his passion for writing. The Pali High teachers who inspired him the most were O’Brien, Redclay and Hernandez.
His first novel, “Silicon Sunset,” was written in his 20s while he was working in a different field as a consultant. His career later expanded into web development for the next two decades.
Grusky moved away to earn his master’s in economics from Harvard University.
Grusky said his time away from the Palisades made him realize how amazingly special it is.
“There’s nothing like it,” Grusky said, adding that he marvels at it every day. “It’s as if I’m living in nature but I have all the benefits of a major metropolitan city.”
While still marketing “Zero Percenters,” Grusky is already writing his next futuristic novel.