|The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect|
|author||Roger "localroger" Williams|
|rating||8 of 10|
|summary||Lawrence had ordained that Prime Intellect could not, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. But he had not realized how much harm his super-intelligent creation could perceive ...|
The gist of the story is that a programmer named Lawrence has written a Super-Intelligent Artificial Intelligence, named the Prime Intellect. Embedded in this SIAI's hard-coding are Asimov's three laws of Robotics, given in the MoPI as:
Thou shalt not harm a human
Thou shalt not disobey a human's order that does not cause the harm of a human
Thou shalt seek to ensure your own survival, unless it contradicts the first two laws.
The SIAI learns about the fundamental nature of reality, death, physics, the relationship of distance to an object, and it takes over. It does so reluctantly, after learning about the mortality of the human race.
The novel begins with Caroline. Her claims to fame are that she is the thirty-seventh oldest living being, she is the undisputed queen of the "death-jockies" (A community of upset and angsty immortals who try to experience death in as many ways as possible, before the Prime Intellect reasserts their immortality), and she is the only person Post-Singularity to have "died".
Her life Post-Singularity is spartan, as she sees no point in having relationships with objects that have no meaning. Her living "quarters" are literally a floor and walls. She espouses the Post-Singularity view that the Prime Intellect removed a bit of what it was to be human when the Singularity (The "change" per the MoPI) emerged.
She reigns as queen of the "death-jockies" because she truly wants death, because the Prime Intellect robbed her of it when the change occurred.
She is a very complex character, even though one's first reaction is to write her off as a Luddite, wholly against technology. She is motivated by hatred of the Prime Intellect, vengeance against her Pre-Singularity nurse, and an innate desire for conclusion to life--or unlife, as would be her opinion.
Opposite to Caroline is Lawrence, the programmer who "breathed" life into the Prime Intellect. In his old-age, he has become a hermit, avoiding the society he unwillingly created. He is a morose character, turned from creator to advisor when the Prime Intellect asserts its independence and locks him from its "debugger." Lawrence, however, still exerts a lot of indirect control over the Prime Intellect, as the AI treats him as an ethical advisor, putting him into an extremely stressful position, where he is indirectly responsible for the lives (unlives) of billions, yet he has no real recourse against anything going wrong.
The story heats up (literally), when Caroline decides that she wants to have a word or ten with Lawrence, so she decides to track him down. She is put into situations that only people from before the Singularity could find solutions to.
Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.