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Artificially intelligent

A new query for you well-read folk.  What works of fiction short or long, new or old, about artificial intelligence (broadly construed) do you most admire, amused/alarmed you, gave reason to think, convinced?   AI could in this instance include machine-enhanced human imteligence; conscious (ar apparently conscious) non-human-shaped machines, androids, human-shaped robots.  The limit might be that whatever it is  be human-engineered, but even that is tentative.   


( 71 comments — Leave a comment )
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Nov. 21st, 2013 12:13 pm (UTC)
The Machine Stops by E M Forster is a good early example of the dangers of handing over control to AI's.Helen O'Loy was a wonderful story by Lester del Ray which made you think about what was human after all,and she was such a lovely robot too.
Nov. 21st, 2013 12:16 pm (UTC)
Well, my two favorites are Neuromancer and the Stanislaw Lem story "Non Serviam" (which originally appeared in The New Yorker under the title "Experiment"). And for movies, the original theatrical release of Bladerunner.
Nov. 21st, 2013 01:53 pm (UTC)
Galatea? I guess it's emphasis was more bodily.
(no subject) - nightspore - Nov. 21st, 2013 01:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - proximoception - Nov. 21st, 2013 02:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mrwaggish - Nov. 21st, 2013 02:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - crowleycrow - Nov. 21st, 2013 03:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ortho_bob - Nov. 21st, 2013 06:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 21st, 2013 12:30 pm (UTC)
i like the AI in Lyda Morehouse's LINK Angel series who converts to Islam.
Nov. 21st, 2013 02:47 pm (UTC)
Yes, her AIs (and the whole series) were fascinating.
Colin Wernham
Nov. 21st, 2013 12:56 pm (UTC)
Tiny AI
Blood Music by Greg Bear is thought provoking. Forced evolution of lymphocytes inadvertently evolves nano-scale intelligence.
Nov. 21st, 2013 01:58 pm (UTC)
Re: Tiny AI
Yes - it's a kind of version of Lem's story. Great book.
Nov. 21st, 2013 01:19 pm (UTC)
While we're on the subject of conversion, how's about Anthony Boucher's "Quest of St. Aquin?"
Rodger Cunningham
Nov. 21st, 2013 01:19 pm (UTC)
That was me.
Nov. 21st, 2013 03:11 pm (UTC)
Never heard of it -- thanks
Nov. 21st, 2013 01:24 pm (UTC)
Gibson's 'Sprawl' Trilogy, while not perfect overall, has some intriguing thoughts on AI.
Nov. 21st, 2013 01:47 pm (UTC)
Someone already mentioned a Stanislaw Lem story but his whole oeuvre is full of great artificial intelligence portrayals. The Cyberiad is the most obvious example but there are tons.
Nov. 21st, 2013 01:51 pm (UTC)
Haven't read it, but The Goldbug Variations by Powers has been recommended to me a few times.

The Watchmen and Neuromancer seemed to be in dialogue with one another, though I forget which came first.

I'm fonder of Spielberg's A.I.

Engine Summer and The Deep weren't far from the topic.
Nov. 21st, 2013 02:00 pm (UTC)
Also Powers' Galatea 2:2, which is pretty good, though not great (IMO).
(no subject) - proximoception - Nov. 21st, 2013 02:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 21st, 2013 02:45 pm (UTC)
What, no mention of Vernor Vinge? Every time I read another article about Chinese hackers probing our network frontiers, I'm reminded of Vinge's novels.

Wandering from the point a bit, but someone else mentioned _The Deep_: every time I read that one, I think of D. C. Fontana's _The Questor Tapes_, a novelization of a pilot for a failed Gene Roddenberry TV series. Ever read it? Not a _great_ AI story, but I enjoyed it when I was a kid and an uncritical reader. _The Deep_ was the better book, but the notion of an amnesiac android in search of his creator and purpose was similar.
Nov. 21st, 2013 03:13 pm (UTC)
Thanks for this -- never heard of it (that phrase is going to pop up on this topic a lot from me)
LR Fredericks
Nov. 21st, 2013 02:49 pm (UTC)
Iain M. Banks, the late, the great. The Culture novels, with their sentient artificial planets etc. gave and give me hope for humanity.
Nov. 21st, 2013 03:28 pm (UTC)
You've Got Murder by Donna Andrews. This was marketed as a mystery, but it's as plausibly sf.

It's the only story I've seen about how terrifying it would be the first time the AI is transferred to a different computer (covert AI, no previous test of transfer) and iirc, it was more sensible about computer security than most fiction.
Nov. 21st, 2013 04:43 pm (UTC)
Jack Womack
His novels are all excellent, the AI in "Ambient" was quite disturbing.
Nov. 21st, 2013 07:59 pm (UTC)
Re: Jack Womack
How could I forget Jack?
Re: Jack Womack - keith418 - Nov. 21st, 2013 11:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 21st, 2013 05:08 pm (UTC)
The books that most gave me reason to think were Gibson's 'Sprawl' Trilogy.

But one that hasn't been mentioned yet is Jane from Orson Scott Card's Ender books.
Nov. 25th, 2013 01:44 am (UTC)
*icon love*

Edited at 2013-11-25 01:44 am (UTC)
Nov. 21st, 2013 05:36 pm (UTC)
I’m always charmed by that Kurt Vonnegut story “EPICAC,” about the computer assigned to write love poems to the programmer’s girlfriend. Of course, it ends up falling in love with her. (As this is my first time posting, I hope it’s not inappropriate to add: thanks, Mr. Crowley, for writing all those great books!)
Nov. 21st, 2013 08:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you -- I don't know trhe story.
Nov. 21st, 2013 06:44 pm (UTC)
Cat Valente's Silently and Very Fast (you can read it online here in 3 parts, follow the link at the bottom of each part for the next one) is nifty. I like the way it positions metaphor and poetry as central to AIs that people can be in relationship with.
Nov. 21st, 2013 07:13 pm (UTC)
Well, do androids dream of electric sheep, or don't they? Speaking as an unrepentant middle-brow, I liked the movie more.
Nov. 21st, 2013 07:16 pm (UTC)
Falcon again:
"Memories! You're talkin' about memories!" always cracks me up.
Nov. 21st, 2013 07:23 pm (UTC)
Greg Egan
Greg Egan's novel "???" starts with a totally believable sequence detailing the birth of a new person into a community of AI-based people.
Also worth noting Charles Stross's "Saturn's Children" and "Neptune's Brood" which have no biological human characters.
Nov. 21st, 2013 08:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Greg Egan
Will look for the Egan, thanks
Re: Greg Egan - jackfirecat - Nov. 21st, 2013 09:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Greg Egan - William Winsor Reeves - Nov. 22nd, 2013 07:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 21st, 2013 07:40 pm (UTC)
Lucius Shepard
So - depending on your definition of human-engineered I could make a case for "Green Eyes" - soft machines and hosted intelligence. So much more then just zombies.
Nov. 21st, 2013 09:57 pm (UTC)
"Supertoys last all summer long" by Brian Aldiss.
Nov. 21st, 2013 10:24 pm (UTC)
This isn't fiction, but thats probably why it gave me the willies...

Nov. 21st, 2013 10:49 pm (UTC)
"RUR" by Karel Capek. The play in which he coined the term robot, in many ways still the most interesting exploration of the concept. Still reads as pretty extraordinary and uncomfortable today.

"Excession" by Iain Banks is his most fun in terms of AI, since it is set mostly among the Minds.
Nov. 22nd, 2013 02:21 pm (UTC)
RUR! Great idea. Those were actually androids, though the play called them robots (Czech "robotnik" = worker, i think).
(no subject) - dreadbeard - Nov. 25th, 2013 12:33 am (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 22nd, 2013 04:03 am (UTC)
I've just enjoyed Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. The central character is an AI that previously controlled a vast spaceship, but is now confined to a single mostly-human body.
Nov. 22nd, 2013 04:17 am (UTC)
Not a book, but...
The anime series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex contains, among other brilliant and thought-provoking features, a subplot involving programmed crabtanks that grow, over the course of the episodes, into something approaching full sentience. The series also features machine-enhanced human intelligence, characters getting 'hacked,' cyberbrains and many of the complications that come with being endowed with one of those. All advances engineered by human hands...at first.
Nov. 22nd, 2013 07:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Not a book, but...
I've wanted my own Tachikoma ever since my first introduction -


When Robots Reason: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BW_5E2Iwx3g
Re: Not a book, but... - dream__boat - Dec. 1st, 2013 01:03 am (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 22nd, 2013 07:32 am (UTC)
Justina Robson's debut novel Silver Screen is an extremely effective story of AI/human interaction. Recommended.

Did I miss mention of Heinlein's self-aware computers: e.g Mike in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

And Greg Egan: Permutation City. And Diaspora is an account of an AI civilisation.
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