In the hothouse environment of a desert camp in Kenya, where biologists are using robots to 'green the desert,' the Universal Robotics Corporation is conducting a corporate experiment to introduce its newest product, humanoid empathetic robots, into domestic situations. But do they know what they have unleashed?
Sheila and Derek Boyd’s marriage is falling apart but the attempt to fix it by introducing ‘Hughie’ the HU robot into the household goes spectacularly wrong. And when Derek Boyd gets his own robot, Andie, the results are even more disastrous.
Also participating in the experiment, camp agronomist, Stella Roberts, tries to come to terms with what will become the new norm. However, the more interaction she has with robots the more worried she becomes, unlike her fellow guinea pigs, HR manager Guy Trenhaile and computer technician Hod. On her return to the UK she finds that the technology has permeated every aspect of life and gradually the disturbing implications for the future start to become clear.