Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Emily Eternal

Scientists predicted the sun would die, just not how soon that would be. At MIT, the dedicated few are working on an artificial consciousness, able to access the minds of her subjects and help them come to terms with their issues. She's a virtual therapist. Facing extinction, some start to think Emily holds the answer to the future of humanity.

Emily has been shaped by her interactions with humans, encouraged to think and behave like them. Nathan creates her a dorm room and a simulation of the campus so she can live as much like a person as she can. She appears to exist to anyone wearing an interface chip, without the chips or her simulation, she blinks out of existence.

Later in the book, you see how important Emily's upbringing is. Without her perspective of humans, she would think of purely logical solutions, maybe ignoring the moral implications. She is quite naive at times, her life has been short after all and her world limited to the campus.

I'm an artificial consciousness (AC), which is totally different from artificial intelligence (AI) (Kind of? Sort of? To me at least), and was in the fifth year of this experiment when the sun began to die.

Of course, her cushy existence comes crashing down when someone tries to seize the technology. Emily goes "on the run" but she remains determined to find a way to preserve the human race in some way. She likes humans, sees herself as one.

I can get behind the idea of a neural interface being able to alter perception, even maybe controlling muscles and hormonal excretions, but the direction of the story gets a bit too far-fetched. There are good ideas in there but there is a big leap from what current biology is capable of to what Emily does towards the end.

I also found the whole chip part wishy washy, it just gets placed on your skin and then Emily has access to your whole brain processes. Oh and she is capable of doing her thing via any networked electrical device. I know we're not sure exactly how the brain works, but I had a hard time just accepting this considering it was trying to be scientific.

Since Emily has been shaped to think and behave like a human, it's understandable she might want to try a romantic relationship. She makes a mistake when going into the mind of her infatuation. What she does is a huge violation and I'm not sure I'd be so forgiving. The secondary characters weren't fully fleshed out so I didn't get behind them. I didn't believe in their love, and the sex part, well the mind boggles. Just remember, Emily doesn't exist physically.

Emily just needed some limits to her powers. It got to the point where it seemed she was capable of anything and that ruins a story for me.

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge: 17. A book set on college or university campus

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Book Source: Purchased

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