Childrearing in The AI Dystopia is a cold and heartless business in which women are allowed custody of their infants only up to age four, after which they must be handed over to a mentor for indoctrination. The process was designed to prevent the formation of a lasting bond between mother and child — a deadly form of bipolar selfism — and to instill a fear of becoming emotionally close to anyone. This does a remarkable job of preparing the people for a life with neither freedom nor human warmth.

The Manufacturing Process

Most children are bred-to-order by The Baby Company, with their birthing and educational expenses paid in advance by one of The Companies. Upon placing an order, the sponsor is allowed to select the child’s parents from a catalog, according to the desired genetic traits. The impregnation process impersonal and clinical: the mother-to-be will visit a medical facility, where she may be artificially inseminated or implanted with an embryo as governed by the breeding plan.

Once born, the infant is fitted with a neural interface, an ID chip, and the first of many biometric sensors. The company doesn’t exactly own them; they are more like serfs than slaves, bound to whichever company paid for their creation. Upon reaching adulthood, most will voluntarily go to work for their sponsoring company. Unsurprisingly, all of this is kept secret.


Most members of the birth-giver program live in the Middle Districts. They work directly for their sponsoring company, and receive a generous housing allowance. Many consider them to be little more than livestock, renting out their bodies to the highest bidder. Births outside of the program are rare; most men and women are surgically sterilized during the moderation process, and Matchmaker refuses to allow unmoderated individuals to use their services. Any ‘accidental’ pregnancies are therefore a result of willful criminality, and the infants will be taken from their mothers the moment they are born.

Pair-bonded couples retain the right to bear children, and sometimes choose to do so. They must, however, obtain corporate sponsorship beforehand or face severe penalties: they are financially responsible for both the support and education of their children, and all fees must be paid in advance at the time of birth. Failure to do so will result in the child being immediately taken away and given to UCE.

The Parting

By law, the birth-giver is only allowed custody of their infant for the first four years of its life; children are not the property of their parents, according to UCE doctrine, and are to be cared for by the community. By this, they mean that the child must be delivered to an UCE-approved child-care specialist called a mentor, who will ensure that they are given a proper upbringing.

The day of parting is frequently traumatic for both birth-giver and child, and the children, once they reach adulthood, find it difficult to trust others or to form human connections — exactly as intended. As for the birth-givers, many decide they never want to go through the pain of the Parting again, and exit the program after their first child. Some become morose and either go mad or end their lives in the Halls of Mercy. Many, however, love having babies; they are happy to send one off so they can get started on the next. Women of this sort are the only reason the species survives. There are not enough of them, and the population is slowly declining.

The next stage of the child’s life is covered in the next article, on education.


Some parents refuse to hand ‘their’ children over to a mentor and go into hiding instead. Of all the cults, they are perhaps the most hated and best organized. They have secret hiding places and safe houses that even the AIs don’t know about, and they are well-connected to one another via dark web social media. If caught, they face severe punishment, sometimes decades in jail.

UCE Practices

UCE Birthers spend most of their adult lives pregnant; they live a pampered existence in an industrial creche and may give birth to twenty or more offspring in the course of their careers. In order to avoid the development of emotional ties that would be damaging to both mother and child, they are only permitted to care for their newborns for a few days, after which the two are parted, never to meet again.

After being taken from their mothers, the newborns are brought to childcare centers, where they are raised with scientific precision by teams of professionals. They are taught to obey, and are indoctrinated with UCE orthodoxy to the point where they cannot imagine any other point of view. On occasion a child will show signs of selfism or rebelliousness; these are culled from the program and given the choice of ritual suicide in The Halls of Mercy or expulsion from the community. Most choose to die. Those who do not are treated as pariahs and sent off to do-nothing jobs, usually working for the government.

After a severe and uncompromising childhood, the now-adolescents will be formally inducted into the ranks of the Zealots, and be further assigned a vocation. Most are tapped for the people’s militia, but a chosen few are trained as nurses, spies, or cops. Slightly over ten percent (mostly women) will be inducted as Birthers. The rest will be moderated and surgically sterilized; after another three years of training, they will join the ranks within their assigned caste.