Review: We, Robots by Sue Lange

Monday, May 26, 2008

We, Robots by Sue Lange (cover)

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.


- reddit, digg, facebook, stumbleupon, etc... please! ;)
posted by kaolin

33 comments; 0 subscribers

Monday, May 26, 2008 / 14:43:27
TO ENTER TO WIN OUR COPY of "We, Robots", tell us--HOW WILL YOU WELCOME OUR ROBOT OVERLORDS? Let us know in the comments below, and one lucky entrant will be selected at random to receive this collection so you can see if it trumps it. :)

Entries will be considered through Monday, June 9 (midnight, pacific time). Open to anyone in the US/Canada.
Monday, May 26, 2008 / 16:02:53
Just like anyone else that comes to visit. You are welcome in my home, but I will not wait on you.
Monday, May 26, 2008 / 16:51:09
I will welcome the robots with the understanding that they can't yet feel emotions, thus there are some things we people do that won't make sense to them. I will explain that sometimes we need to be allowed to make our own mistakes so that we can learn from them.
Monday, May 26, 2008 / 23:52:17
I'd welcome them with a can of WD-40 just to oil them up a little.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 / 05:28:48
a can of oil and a hearty hand shake
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 / 12:08:31
i'll welcome them to a party we'll get well oiled
Tuesday, May 27, 2008 / 14:10:20
mi casa su casa
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 / 00:20:56
by wetting myself
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 / 05:56:24
This sweepstakes has been featured on Sweepstakes Advantage, The Web's Largest Directory of Free Online Sweepstakes. Good Luck to Everyone!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 / 06:59:30
a gift basket of nuts and bolts and a tall cool glass of premium oil.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 / 18:29:08
Sounds like the ethics of cloning, but only with superior robots or machines! The Golden Rule says to treat others as you would have them treat you. That is exactly what I would do. Thanks, Cindi
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 / 18:57:50
With a hearty hand-clasp, a hairy jellybean, and a resounding, "GET AWAY FROM ME!"
Wednesday, May 28, 2008 / 23:20:44
A big meal ,a cold drink and a hug
Thursday, May 29, 2008 / 02:59:39
I would offer to defrag him.
Thursday, May 29, 2008 / 08:08:25
for meme. the last book i read was of course from Stephen King, i am not so much into art or theatre, unless it is frightening. i do however like this magazine, and its stories.
Saturday, May 31, 2008 / 19:09:18
I will take them to my leader
Saturday, May 31, 2008 / 19:24:23
I would welcome them by cooking them a steak and mashed potato dinner with cherry pie for dessert.
Saturday, June 7, 2008 / 14:58:03
with open arms, and a plate full of cookies
Saturday, June 7, 2008 / 20:09:51
I'd welcome them with a big steak and homemade french fry meal!
Sunday, June 8, 2008 / 07:28:36
I'd welcome them with a bloodcurdling scream.
Sunday, June 8, 2008 / 08:20:53
welcome them with a first aid kit - my craftsmans tool box!
Sunday, June 8, 2008 / 14:39:45
With open arms and hearty appetizers!
Sunday, June 8, 2008 / 16:38:21
I'd welcome the robot overlords with my whole family in attendance and a video camera at the ready :)
Sunday, June 8, 2008 / 21:20:21
First, "Greetings, I am a sentient citizen of the League of Peoples. I beg your Hospitality" before I start in taking pictures and asking goofy questions... Just have to hope they aren't rhodomagnetic humanoids, in which case life will get reeeally boring fairly quickly...
Sunday, June 8, 2008 / 22:27:14
If robots became our overlords, I would do what every free person would do. First I would install giant magnets all over my house. The sprinkler system would extent into my house and be controlled by remote control. Next I would have to watch old movies to see how they conquered them in the past. More thought is needed on this one....
Sunday, June 8, 2008 / 23:04:08
a can of oil
Monday, June 9, 2008 / 05:36:39
I don't know. I guess I would have to call the Geek Squad.
Monday, June 9, 2008 / 16:21:08
Two words:
Channeling Asimov.
Monday, June 9, 2008 / 16:57:25
My stepdaughter brought a guy here to stay for a couple of days who got drunk and stayed drunk the whole time, and urinated all over my bathrom floor. I'd welcome a robot!
Monday, June 9, 2008 / 19:59:32
As long as the Robots were nice guys and acted decent I'd welcome them like anyone else. If they come in and start taking over my house though, I'd just have to find a way to kill their battery or solar panels or whatever. I guess I'd be screwed though if they used ME as a battery though (ala The Matrix).
Monday, June 9, 2008 / 20:23:08
By locking myself in a room surrounded by salt water? Oh, the horror!
Monday, June 9, 2008 / 20:44:35
I would have a party and invite them to do The Robot Dance!
Friday, June 13, 2008 / 14:09:43
Congratulations to maweisberg--you're our latest review winner! And thanks to all for participating! Keep checking back as we're almost always running a review raffle!

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