Review: We, Robots by Sue Lange
Monday, May 26, 2008
We, Robots by Sue Lange
Aqueduct Press, 2007
98 pages, ISBN 1933500115
$12 / Paperback
As computers become smaller, faster, and more interconnected, I.J. Good's "intelligence explosion" becomes more and more a topic of conversation. First popularized by Verner Vinge as "the Singularity" and more recently made technologically pop-culture with futurist/transhumanist Ray Kurzweil's non-fiction, the "moment" of artificial intelligence has a celebrated past.
Sue Lange's novella, "We, Robots", is volume 16 in Aqueduct Press' "Conversation Pieces" series, a series aimed at "facilitating the 'grand conversation'." And "We, Robots" does a grand job of laying the foundation for conversation for someone not versed with the concepts; and it is an interesting story in its own right, told with somewhat of an Asimovian tongue.
"We, Robots" is a historical monologue delivered by Avey (an AV-1 robot, "[t]he latest in Parent Company consumer technology."). Avey was bought at a big box store by Chit and Dal--to shuttle their child to and from school, paid for by HR Bill 931-206 - "every kid in the U.S. guaranteed a safe environment to and from school". Avey watches over Angelina as she grows up, sometimes dropping straight into the story of it all, sometimes giving bits of post-Regularity thought.
The Regularity is Lange's conversational "What if?" Humans fear the Singularity and take Steps to prevent a robot rebellion. Their fear, of course, accelerates the process. If that whets your curiosity, definitely pick up a copy. It's a quick and easy conversational read with interesting thoughts interspersed throughout.
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