World of 2K38 -

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It is 2038. In our data-driven future, data has been firmly established as an economic asset and new, data-driven smart technologies can change the way we live, work, love, think and vote. What could be the true implications of the ‘data economy’? How will future information law look like in the age of AI? And how can privacy laws, like the European GDPR, stimulate or harm those developments?

Welcome to 2K38, an experiment in science fiction writing exploring this data-driven world.

Please, explore the world. Read the timeline below. Or start with the award-winning story A New Intelligence.


After the Brexit, Scotland presents its case for independence. A heavy-handed e-Privacy Regulation threatens advertising-based services, and an unexpected boost to AI is given by turmoil in US politics.


The first Zustimmungzentralstelle appears, opening the scene of private GDPR enforcement. TheMALL/HERE opens as an e-commerce alternative to the Internet. A messy impeachment disrupts US politics.


“Me” jewelry is introduced, allowing a new way of balancing privacy and personal expression. The Chinese Communist party adds to the international unrest with a surprise announcement. Sensor technology is on the rise in city networks and surveillance.

The rebel province

A short story

The “peaceful reunification” of Taiwan with the mainland is announced, causing military tensions between China and the USA.


Two GDPR activist groups team up to create not just a German-style consent office but a so-called Legitimate Interest Advisory Board. These LIABs add to the GDPR enforcement chorus. Pranksters disrupt AI-driven tramways. A new political party promises to change the USA and flexes its online power.


Legal and political developments further separate Europe and the USA. GDPR enforcement by LIABs is gaining traction, but hits a snag when it comes to national security. Carebots are on the rise in Asia.


As privacy rights continue to swell, the sale of 'Me'-jewelry enabling personal expression booms. Cyberwar of sorts breaks out between Russia and Estonia. The US government is paralyzed after Mark Zuckerberg is elected President.


After an international hacking incident, interest in the public internet dwindles. The Asian subcontinent is faced with both a large-scale cyberwar and a disturbing announcement by North Korea.

The first cyberwar

A short story

The Asian subcontinent holds its breath after Taiwan's internet connection is cut in military action, leading to what many call the first cyberwar. A troubling announcement from North Korea escalates tensions even more.


Japan recognizes legal personhood for AIs that pass the Turing Test. In Europe, startups struggle in dealing with personal data as ZZS and LIABs take enforcement even further. Chinese involvement ends the Korean Dead Man's Switch - if it ever existed.

The odd machine

A short story

The Korean Dead Man's Switch AI must be disabled before it wreaks havoc on the world - but can intervention come in time?


ZZS and LIABs gain more power thanks to several rulings by the European Court of Justice. In Singapore, AIs gain legal personhood. A new leader grabs power at SpaceX.


A smartphone manufacturer may have triggered the end of US involvement in personal data from European citizens.


Broad filters are imposed on all internet traffic through court action by a Dutch LIAB under a new name. A Swedish startup triggers a backlash against smaller companies working with personal data.


Carebot hunting causes a spur in new laws for autonomous being's legal status. The various GDPR enforcement organizations rename themselves DSPB and make it easier for citizens to claim damages.

An Interview with Alister Zamyatin

A short story

An exclusive interview with the secretive SpaceX CEO reveals insights into space transport but raises many new questions for the future.

Carebot hunting

A short story

A disturbing report on a graphic 'sport' accelerates the debate on human rights for autonomous beings.


Several scandals involving decision-making Artificial Intelligence bring the DSPBs to ban any such technological involvement. This also affects the popular shopperbots.


SMEs providing AI-powered services see their customer base dwindle and investors fall away. AI is now limited to public transport and security services.


New rules for usage of personal data in Europe are so strict that few newcomers can comply with them. Great Britain re-applies for membership of the EU. Privacy violators find themselves unwelcome in apartments and hotels.


The accession of Scotland into the EU causes civil unrest in Catalonia, prompting military intervention by the central government. The Korean DMZ is turned into a wildlife preserve which quickly becomes a huge tourist attraction due to its extremely lethal AI predators.

Into the zone

A short story


Artificial Intelligence is virtually out of sight in Europe. A somewhat weakened GDPR may be in the works to allow US-European relations to be restored.


A young entrepreneur provides a rude awakening for privacy guards through her introduction of a very powerful personal assistant.

A New Intelligence

A short story

A young entrepreneur finds herself battling uphill against GDPR enforcement organizations in an effort to bring her AI personal assistant to the market. Can her technological wits outwin the legal shortcuts these organizations have in place?

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