Unlike my other recommended reading articles, I may add more short stories to this one as I see fit and feel the want. Further, this is the first such recommendation that concerns fiction, which I don't partake much of.
The short stories being recommended are ``THE ROBOT AND THE BABY'' by John McCarthy, found here; ``The Machine Stops'' by Edward Forster, found here; ``Manna'' by Marshall Brain, found here; ``The Gig Economy'' by Zero HP Lovecraft, found here; and ``Computers Don't Argue'' by Gordon Dickson, found here.
Starting with my favorite among these, ``THE ROBOT AND THE BABY'' is a story concerning a rather realistic future setting involving a household robot caring for a baby. Being written by a pioneer in AI, it provides an interesting perspective, including an excerpt of the robot's symbolic reasoning for its actions, political influences on the design and distribution of such robots, and the various human bureaucracies formed in response to such societal changes. It is easily the most optimistic of these stories and could seem prescient in many respects, having been written in the 1990s, yet with several asides being modern concerns. It is an excellent short story concerning AI written by a man who spent decades on the topic.
Continuing, ``The Machine Stops'' tells of an indeterminate future in which mankind is wholly dependent on a machine of its own creation. Given that this story was written in 1909, it is an acute imagining of a future as machines ever advance. The story is longer and split in three sections. The first serves to introduce, the second to elaborate, and the third is titular. The story describes an amusing degeneration and the descriptions of the machine itself are also exciting.
Thirdly, ``Manna'' is a story of humanity's future when faced with ever more widespread automation, initially due to the titular management software. I believe this is the longest of these short stories, spanning eight sections, although it may be bested by the following that is recommended. The story gives a disconcerting account of incremental automation that slowly deskills labor and, more importantly, removes the ability for mobility through expertise. It is a harrowing story of increasing dehumanization at the behest of an increasingly advanced collection of algorithms lead by knowledge, heuristics, and statistical analysis. The subtitle ``Two Views of Humanity's Future'' is self-explanatory and, in my opinion, both are horrifying and dystopic, but one less so than the other. This story is of interest in part due to the large corporations that now employ several of the techniques and practices discussed therein, yet this was written in 2003.
Fourthly is perhaps the longest short story, ``The Gig Economy''. This story is the most contemporary, being published in 2018. This is an unsettling mix of ``social media'', cryptocurrency, lesser-known Internet subgroups, modern capitalism, ``startups'', spirituality, cellular automatons, and ``machine learning''. I was initially wary of recommending a story that concerns itself with mindless, memetic, mechanical monsters, but simply know this is a story designed to instill a sense of unease; this is a horror story. If you similarly find yourself perturbed, my advice is to realize and accept the idea that a human mind isn't a formal system that can be emulated by a machine, to perhaps use it as an excuse to distance yourself from superfluous computer use in lieu of more reliable mechanisms, and to remove yourself further from greed. In this way, it is similar to ``The Machine Stops''.
Lastly, ``Computers Don't Argue'' is a particularly brief story told in the form of mailing messages. It is a harrowing read that warns of dependence on unmanned and unoverridable automation and is rather prescient, given it was written in 1965. It is a downward spiral that feels increasingly realistic in the modern world.
It should only require a day or so for someone to read all of these stories.