The Algorithm Will See You Now by JL Lycette
ISBN: 9781685131494 (Paperback)
ASIN: B0BLD16W7T (Kindle edition)
Page Count: 273 (print) | 303 (digital)
Release Date: March 2, 2023
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Genre: Fiction | Science Fiction
The most dangerous lies are the ones that use the truth to sell themselves.
Medical treatment determined by artificial intelligence could do more than make Hope Kestrel’s career. It could revolutionize healthcare.
What the Seattle surgeon doesn’t know is the AI has a hidden fatal flaw, and the people covering it up will stop at nothing to dominate the world’s healthcare — and its profits. Soon, Hope is made the scapegoat for a patient’s death, and only Jacie Stone, a gifted intern with a knack for computer science, is willing to help search for the truth.
But her patient’s death is only the tip of the conspiracy’s iceberg. The Director, Marah Maddox, is plotting a use for the AI far outside the ethical bounds of her physician’s oath. A staggering plan capable of reducing human lives to their DNA code, redefining the concepts of sickness and health, and delivering the power of life and death decisions into the hands of those behind the AI.
Even if the algorithm accidentally discards some who are treatable in order to make that happen…
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“I’ve been waiting for a book like this: a full-frontal assault on the dangers of artificial intelligence and the failures of our mangled health care system, all wrapped up in a clever, ripping thriller. Jennifer Lycette is an author to watch.” — Rob Hart, author of The Paradox Hotel
“In her debut, Lycette explores the darkest realities about the healthcare system and what generations of the near future could potentially face if power shifts to the wrong hands. Perhaps even more gripping is how she delves into the ways grief can shape someone, causing them to make questionable decisions in the name of redemption. With nuanced characters and a truly terrifying premise, The Algorithm Will See You Now is an ambitious debut that delivers.” — Heather Levy, author of Anthony-nominated Walking Through Needles
“Both tense and topical, The Algorithm Will See You Now is a meticulously researched and deeply informed novel about the perils of where healthcare is likely heading, and the agonizing human costs involved. There are no easy decisions here, and Lycette paints a wonderfully complex portrait in an exciting debut.” — E.A. Aymar, author of No Home For Killers
“Full of intrigue and smart thrills, The Algorithm Will See You Now is an incisive vision of a tech-driven future, amping up the contemporary horrors of our healthcare system to the extreme. Lycette’s mastery of the medical field shines through, and her empathetic storytelling invites us to examine where we are headed and how we treat each other as human beings.” — Victor Manibo, author of The Sleepless
“An AI is putting profit over life. And patients are dying. The Algorithm Will See You Now is a tense, terrifying ride that dives into prescient themes of power, control, and the corruption of Big Medicine. Here’s your wake up call. This disturbing future is closer than you think.” — L.P. Styles, author of The Molecule Thief
“Get ready to be enthralled! Dr. Lycette poignantly lays out the future of healthcare with impeccable lucidity when AI becomes the center stage of medicine. While AI is promised to improve operational efficiencies, streamline tasks and cut down human error, it comes with its own challenges like overlooking personal preferences, fears and economic restraints for patients. A brilliant book with vivid characterizations!” — Rajeev Kurapati MD, MBA, award-winning author of Physician: How Science Transformed the Art of Medicine
“Bringing the reality of the imminent threat to the healthcare system and the patient sovereignty disheartenment to life… the epitome of patient care sceneries at the end of the slippery slope towards which we are headed.” — Dr. Adam Ray Tabriz, MD Medium Author, Physicians Are Working Like Robots for Robots
Jacie shoved her glasses up her nose. “For those not selected, when PRIMA gives its report, or whatever… and if it says the treatment won’t work, how do you tell the patient?”
“We don’t.” Hope paused. “That’s the nurse’s job, of course.”
Cecilia gave her a reproachful glance.
Hope backpedaled. “I mean, PRIMA has proven that training the nurses in the triage and delivery of test results allows the physicians to be more efficient. Physicians only meet the patients who’ve been properly identified as responders. Patrons, I guess we’re calling them now. That allows us to focus all of our medical skills on the people we can truly help. PRIMA trains the nurses to inform those we can’t help.” She tilted her head at Jacie. “You should understand this.”
“Oh, I understand.” Jacie’s voice was soft, but her jaw remained set. “So PRIMA doesn’t have to pay for the cost of their care, you mean.”
Hope couldn’t believe her ears. “What? That’s not the driving force. Not at all.”
Jacie shrugged a shoulder. “Don’t you worry even a little about their motivations? To make a profit?”
Hope’s head went hot, and she spoke in a carefully controlled voice. “Doctors gave my mom chemo—before they had the tech to know she’d be a non-responder. Do you know what happened? All she did was suffer. That’s the driving force. PRIMA helps us prevent unnecessary suffering.”
Jacie didn’t meet her eyes. “I guess—”
“No, there’s no guessing about it. That’s the entire point of what we’re doing here.”
Cecilia cleared her throat, and Hope dialed back down her voice. “Besides, if someone doesn’t want treatment at PRIMA, they can go elsewhere.”
Jacie raised her eyebrows. “Do you really think that? Do you know how hard it is for the uninsured?”
“They have the market exchanges.”
Jacie mumbled something that sounded like, “Yeah, right.”
Hope looked at Cecilia to interject, but her mentor was studying Jacie, a curious expression on her face. Hope shook her head in frustration.
“The reality is someone has to pay for healthcare. You don’t know what it’s like, outside of PRIMA.” Hope thought back to her first year of residency before she’d transferred to PRIMA. “All those prior authorizations and denials. The insurance companies impede doctors at every step. But here, the algorithm guides our treatment decisions. PRIMA’s going to improve the system for everyone.”
“But…” Jacie trailed off.
Hope raised her hands in frustration. “But what?”
Then she recalled Jacie’s words on the unit yesterday—my sister. Hope was truly sorry if Jacie had lost a sister, but Jacie didn’t understand the suffering doctors caused by treating non-responders.
An unbidden image flashed through her mind of the first time she had seen her mom’s bald head—the unexpected smallness. She’d wanted to cup her hands around it and feel the fascinating smooth beauty of it, but she’d been afraid, her mom’s head so fragile, and her eyes so large without her hair to frame her face. So instead, she’d shoved her hands in her pockets and stared at the floor.
Hope forced those thoughts back into the compartment where they belonged. Jacie was making this unnecessarily difficult. All they had to do was perfect their medical skill-sets, and the algorithm would guide them. Yesterday had been an exception. That’s all.
But another part of her mind whispered that she had administered treatments to a non-responder without knowing it. The algorithm had caused her to do what she most dreaded—the thing it was supposed to protect her from.
Maddox’s voice echoed in Hope’s head. The AI doesn’t make mistakes. People are a different story.
Had it somehow been Hope’s fault?
“I almost forgot.” Cecilia interrupted her thoughts, holding out an envelope. “This came for you. I meant to give it to you at our last Saturday breakfast.”
Hope took the letter, palms damp with sweat, her dad’s handwriting visible on the outside. He’d long ago figured out mail had a better chance to get to her here, where Cecilia periodically rounded it up for her, than at her apartment.
It was the last thing she needed right now, and she shoved the letter into her bag without opening it. Cecilia was right. The best thing Hope could do was rededicate herself to her purpose.
An alert popped up on her tablet, drawing her attention, and she forgot all about the letter. She sucked in a sharp breath, not believing her eyes.
It had dropped, and she no longer held the top position. It now belonged to Leach. But the only person who could dock points was…
It wasn’t fair. The non-responder had been nothing under her control. She wanted to say something to Cecilia—to explain the unsettling interaction with Maddox.
The post-residency position. It should belong to you. I see it in you.
“Hope, if you could stick around, there’s something else I need to talk to you about—”
Cecilia broke off as, behind Hope, a change in air pressure rustled the papers on the floor, signaling the door opening.
Hope rotated halfway in her chair and froze.
Silver hair. A sweater, red as arterial blood. Maddox strode through the doorway, her gaze sweeping the room as if she owned the place.
Jacie said something, but Hope didn’t hear it over the rushing in her ears.
Maddox brushed past them both to get to Cecilia. A hint of her perfume assaulted Hope’s nose. That sharp scent again.
Cecilia rose to her feet, her face pale. “Never mind, we’ll have to talk later, Hope. I have another meeting.”
Excerpt from The Algorithm Will See You Now by J.L. Lycette.
Copyright © 2023 by J.L. Lycette.
Published with permission. All rights reserved.
This is a giveaway for one (1) print copy of The Algorithm Will See You Now by JL Lycette, courtesy of WOW! Women On Writing. This giveaway is limited to residents of the United States only. To enter use the Rafflecopter link below or click here.
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Meet the Author
Jennifer / JL Lycette is a novelist, award-winning essayist, rural physician, wife, and mother. She has a degree in biochemistry from the University of San Francisco and attained her medical degree at the University of Washington. Mid-career, she discovered narrative medicine in her path back from physician burnout and has been writing ever since. Her essays can be found in Intima, NEJM, JAMA, and other journals; at Doximity and Medscape; and her website https://jenniferlycette.com. She is an alumna of the 2019 Pitch Wars Mentoring program. Her other published speculative fiction can be found in the anthology And If That Mockingbird Don’t Sing: Parenting Stories Gone Speculative (Alternating Current Press). The Algorithm Will See You Now (Black Rose Writing Press) is her first novel.
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