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Favorite sci fi writing about artificial intelligence

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#1 Guest_fuzzywuzzy6_*


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Posted 05 November 2008 - 10:47 PM

:thumbsup: I looked over the last 12 pages in chat, and couldn't find this topic, so here goes:

What are your favorite science fiction writings about artificial intelligence? I just read Silver Screen by Justina Robson. Great book, short, does not read like space opera. Ms. Robson is a keen psychological and sociological observer. I don't want to say anything about the book except that the ending is a great surprise.

I also enjoy Iain Banks' Culture novels. I love the ships' names. The ships pick out their own names, which are often whimsical or absurd and may state religious or social philosophy.

I have read some books by William Gibson, but not yet Idoru I loved his book about the woman who was allergic to certain brand names.

Bruce Sterling is fun. but AI doesn't really play a large role in his work.

I prefer soft, or sociological, science fiction for the most part. Read a lot of C. J. Cherryh's sf work, not her fantasy. Some of it is quite brilliant. Also like Ursula LeGuin. AI does not play a major role as characters in these two authors.

Maureen McHugh: a great writer who tackles social issues. She spent some as a missionary in China, but you can't tell that from her writings. AI mostly plays a role in how some of her characters live their lives.

Mark Budz and Charles Stross: both very creative. Stross' take on AI is sometimes scary, sometimes hysterical. Budz' last paperback was difficult to understand, but very interesting. Use of computers plays a large part in his works.

Phillip K. Dick: I don't read him any more, but some of his work was brilliant. His novel, Do androids dream of electric sheep? was the basis for Bladr Runner. Not even Mr. Dick would have been able to do justice to the machinations of the Bush admin. He was the writer who was ridiculed for claiming he was on Nixon's enemy list because no one believed that there was one. He was right. There was a list, on he was on it. No one believed him at the time because he had a marked paranoid bent and was using psychedelic drugs (he later settled down). Two other pieces of his work brilliantly adapted: Minority Report and Through a Scanner Darkly (animated). He did not write much about artificial intelligence, unfortunately.

Robert Charles Wilson had one excellent work about AI. Can't tell you which one because that would be a spoiler.

Orson Scott Card in his Ender series has some good use of AI. Have to read the Shadow series, and I understand he's created a new thread in that universe.

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#2 DnDer


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Posted 12 November 2008 - 04:11 PM

(Was not here for the original topic, forgive if I repeat something already said.)

Aasimov and Clarke have created some of the most important moments in AI "history." Also pick a random author from Japan, and you're likely to stumble across any such cautionary tale about AI and the line between man and machine. Best pick to get started there would be Ghost in the Shell by Masamune Shirow - the manga, not the movie.

Kubrick, who brought Clarke's HAL to life, penned the script for AI, which isn't a bad watch. Up until you get to the part where Spielberg obviously started adding stuff... But that's not an issue to discuss in this thread.

Then, if you're going to talk movies, you have to look at the phreaker classic from the 80s, War Games. Good, old-fashioned fun there.

#3 Guest_fuzzywuzzy6_*


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Posted 24 November 2008 - 11:50 PM

Talking movies, I must admit to being quite sentimental at times. I shed a few tears during the last half hour or so of AI, even if that was just a downer version of Pinocchio. Still quite well done. Spielberg has done some brilliant cinema, but, following Capra's lead, he knows how to manipulate the old heart strings.

I am just now reading Accelerando by Charles Stross (about 1/3 throught it). It seems appropriate, especially now, when I seem to have subscribed to All the Web on firefox without doing so to my knowledge, and getting Google Chrome without having subscribed to it. The age of artificial intelligence and rapid multiple streams of knowledge inflow has caught up with me, and I am a ripe old 55. I love in Accelerando where downloaded lobsters have brought about an end to a moribund Microsoft (which has undergone a number of corporate incarnations by then) and will lead to a new era of civil rights activity for downloaded intelligences from all manner of formerly biological beings.

Also started Natural History by Justina Robson a while back. Didn't get too far into it, but it looked quite promising. A woman with quite a strong personality has had her intelligence and sensoria cyborged into an exploration ship. that's about as far as I got. Quite a far cry from "The ship who sang" by Anne McCaffrey, which is a lovely story for the tween and early teen female set.

Many writers have said that to be prepared for the future, one must read science fiction or run the risk of going into paralyzing future shock. I think the people at Mozilla and Google must be downloading cyberpunk and other hard science fiction directly into their brains, because, judging from my computer's behavior in the past 3 weeks, the cyberpunk-noir future is here already, with shades of Philip K. Dick and of John Brunner's The Sheep Look Up and Stand on Zanzibar. I flunked a turing test on my computer twice while trying to find out why I could not use my dormant while still nascent g-mail account and why i could no longer access my google docs. Unsubscribed improvements, that's why. And if you've signed up for Google Talk, read the EULA very carefully. Google is asking you to sign away your freedom from advertisements, your privacy and your first-born child. I opted out.

One more book I am reading currently is Virtual Soul by Kevin Teixeira, who is both a student and practitioner of AI and computer and internet applications. Very well written. The novel is about an em-printer, who is slowly losing his identity and psychological coherence as a result of practicing his profession, which is emprinting tubies (genetically engineered human-animal creations who are mostly human but supposedly have lesser intelligence) with personality traits and memories.

Some change is good. Thank G-d for science fiction; reading neurophilosophers, neurobiologists and some Daniel Dennett never prepared me for this.

Edited by fuzzywuzzy6, 25 November 2008 - 01:15 PM.

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