In “Wall-E", a film that came out in 2008, humans live in what could be described as a world of fully automated luxury communism. Artificially intelligent robots, which take wonderfully diverse forms, are responsible for all productive labour. People get fat, hover in armchairs and watch television. The “Culture" series by Iain M. Banks, a Scottish novelist, goes further still, considering a world in which AI has grown sufficiently powerful as to be superintelligent—operating far beyond anything now foreseeable. The books are a favourite of Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, the bosses of Amazon and Tesla. In the world spun by Banks, scarcity is a thing of the past and AI “minds" direct most production. Instead, humans turn to art, explore the cultures of the vast universe and indulge in straightforwardly hedonistic pleasures.