The Lifecycle of Software Objects
What's the best way to create artificial intelligence? In 1950, Alan Turing wrote, 'Many people think that a very abstract activity, like the playing of chess, would be best. It can also be maintained that it is best to provide the machine with the best sense organs that money can buy, and then... show more
What's the best way to create artificial intelligence? In 1950, Alan Turing wrote, 'Many people think that a very abstract activity, like the playing of chess, would be best. It can also be maintained that it is best to provide the machine with the best sense organs that money can buy, and then teach it to understand and speak English. This process could follow the normal teaching of a child. Things would be pointed out and named, etc. Again I do not know what the right answer is, but I think both approaches should be tried.'
The first approach has been tried many times in both science fiction and reality. In this new novella, at over 30,000 words, his longest work to date, Ted Chiang offers a detailed imagining of how the second approach might work within the contemporary landscape of startup companies, massively-multiplayer online gaming, and open-source software. It's a story of two people and the artificial intelligences they helped create, following them for more than a decade as they deal with the upgrades and obsolescence that are inevitable in the world of software. At the same time, it's an examination of the difference between processing power and intelligence, and of what it means to have a real relationship with an artificial entity.
Publish date: 2010-07-31
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Pages no: 150
Edition language: English
[Subterranean Press has made this available for free online. As far as I can tell, the entire text is included, although the illustrations are not.] The Lifecycle of Software Objects is an exploration of what might happen if AIs capable of learning, and possessing an unknown level of potential, we...
What I've found out from reading the Foundation and Dune series recently is that science fiction is more about the ideas than the writing itself. Asimov created a fascinating universe, but his stories were lacking; Herbert created a brilliant universe of his own, steeped with religion, politics, an...
The two main characters are hired by Blue Gamma (I was reminded of Blue Ant) to help create "digients" - digital entities built on an animal (and then robot) frame. Instead of having programmed behaviors, these learn, and a good portion of the novella explores the impact of that learning.I was remin...
Another home run from Ted Chiang. Almost long enough to be a novel, this is a story about AI, "sentient software", virtual creatures and our responsibility toward them. The idea is that if we are going to play gods and create sentient beings (even virtual ones) we have a moral obligation to ensure t...
Flat...The story feels more like a series of interconnected short stories than a comprehensive whole. The ideas introduced at the front of the book get plenty of attention as Chiang depicts both their implementation and downstream effect but toward the end of the book there isn’t enough time for the...