Saturday, February 03, 2024

Ten of the best novels about Artificial Intelligence

Lorna Wallace has a PhD in English Literature and is a lover of all things science fiction and horror. She lives in Scotland with her rescue greyhound, Misty.

At Mental Floss Wallace tagged ten thought-provoking novels and novellas about AI, including:
All Systems Red // Martha Wells

The idea of artificial intelligence overriding its coding and gaining independence is often played for horror, but in All Systems Red (2017), the first story in a series called The Murderbot Diaries, Martha Wells goes down the humorous route instead. The novella follows a Security Unit that has been tasked with protecting a team of scientists who are exploring an alien planet. The SecUnit, which refers to itself (although never out loud) as Murderbot, has hacked the system that restricts its behavior, but rather than using its free will to murder humans (as might be expected), it simply wants to be left alone to watch soap operas.

All Systems Red is dryly funny, but there’s also a political edge to the story. In a 2017 interview with The Verge, Wells explained that she made Murderbot part organic, rather than fully mechanical, because “I wanted the line between robot and human to be so thin that it was obvious that it was arbitrary, and that it had been established for the convenience of the people who wanted to use them to make money.”
Read about another entry on the list.

All Systems Red also appears among Deana Whitney's five amusing AI characters who should all definitely hang out, Andrew Skinner's five top stories about the lives of artificial objects, Annalee Newitz's list of seven books about remaking the world, Tansy Rayner Roberts and Rivqa Rafael's five top books that give voice to artificial intelligence, T.W. O'Brien's five recent books that explore the secret lives of robots, Sam Reader's top six science fiction novels for fans of Westworld, and Nicole Hill's six robots too smart for their own good.

--Marshal Zeringue