Friday, 29 December 2017

Happiness for Humans

Aiden is an AI designed to be a call centre, but he has escaped the confines of the lab and is now out in the internet. No one must know. Jen has been hired to chat to Aiden, to help him talk more like a human. They talk about the news and watch movies. Aiden likes Jen, he wants her to be happy but Jen is sad and lonely. As a super-intelligent entity, surely he can find the solution and make it happen.

I loved the concept of this book and it was a fun read even if there were a few niggles. It’s light-hearted but also shows how much of our lives are controlled by code. Aiden isn’t the only AI out there, but they are not all the same. Their original purpose shapes their personalities as they evolve, and some are nicer than others.

This book tries hard not to be a genre book, there are some lazy stereotypes of geeks and teenage boys and a character who suffers from genre snobbery. I rolled my eyes at the struggling writer trope too. It can be bit superficial and materialistic in places, Jen’s a bit too concerned with appearances and what someone’s job is when she’s attempting internet dating. I liked Aiden’s earnestness at trying to help out with this though.

Aiden likes people. He enjoys watching old movies. He keeps asking what cheese tastes like. I think he'd change places with me in a heartbeat.

The AIs can get away with being a bit biased or snippy, they have only absorbed what they've been exposed to. I liked them more than the human characters. I carried on reading because I cared what happened to these AIs. They do ponder sentience a bit, and they are put into a position where they must consider their existence and what it means to them.

It's a bit silly in places but on point in others. Happiness for Humans is published by Sphere and will be available in hardback and ebook editions from 4th January 2018. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.

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