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Machines Like Me de Ian McEwan
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Machines Like Me (2019 original; edició 1900)

de Ian McEwan (Autor)

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8263819,715 (3.64)20
"Machines Like Me occurs in an alternative 1980s London. Britain has lost the Falklands War, Margaret Thatcher battles Tony Benn for power, and Alan Turing achieves a breakthrough in artificial intelligence. In a world not quite like this one, two lovers will be tested beyond their understanding. Charlie, drifting through life and dodging full-time employment, is in love with Miranda, a bright student who lives with a terrible secret. When Charlie comes into money, he buys Adam, one of the first batch of synthetic humans. With Miranda's assistance, he co-designs Adam's personality. This near-perfect human is beautiful, strong, and clever--a love triangle soon forms. These three beings will confront a profound moral dilemma. Ian McEwan's subversive and entertaining new novel poses fundamental questions: What makes us human? Our outward deeds or our inner lives? Could a machine understand the human heart? This provocative and thrilling tale warns against the power to invent things beyond our control"--… (més)
Membre:hunyum
Títol:Machines Like Me
Autors:Ian McEwan (Autor)
Informació:RHUK (1900)
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
Etiquetes:to-read, to-read-in-2019

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Machines Like Me de Ian McEwan (2019)

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Machines Like Me takes place in an alternate history of the 1980s where the Falkland War is a disaster, Carter beats Reagan in a second term, and Alan Turing is still alive. Charlie decides to splurge an inheritance on one of the 25 new AI models that have just come on the market. He's in love with his flatmate upstairs and hopes that if they each program half of his model, Adam, then it might encourage Miranda to return his feelings. He has some misguided idea it would be like having a child together. For all the money Charlie spent, he doesn't seem to know what to do with Adam and leaves him on his own most of the time, treating him as an unpaid domestic.
Like all Mr. McEwan's books, there's a lot going on and much to think about. The reader almost never knows what Miranda is thinking; she's very secretive but her actions affect both Charlie and Adam. Charlie's surname is Friend in an ironic twist since he never really befriends Adam, considering him a rival in love and brains. Adam comes off the best of the lot, but since we never know the choices Charlie/Miranda made in programming his personality, it seems random. In fact, the reader is warned a few times that those instructions in the guide were mere fluff, not really impactful.
The one issue I had was the alternate history setting. While events are referred to frequently, they seem to have little impact on the main story. As an American not well-versed in British politics, a lot of it went over my head. At first, I tried looking up information but decided since it didn't seem to impact the characters I was safe in skipping over much of it. The one exception is the appearances made by Alan Turing. He appears as the godlike figure who opines on the morality of owning an AI like Adam. He was a much-needed voice weighing against Miranda and Charlie's heedless ownership.
Mark is a little boy that Miranda wants to adopt and it's easy to compare his character to Adam. Charlie is initially interested in Mark because of Miranda's interest, but then quickly becomes indifferent, much like his view of Adam. Miranda is so self-absorbed that her interest in the boy doesn't bode well for his future.
This is not one of my favorite McEwan books, but I enjoyed his perspective on computer intelligence and the future of AIs. ( )
  N.W.Moors | Apr 26, 2021 |
Charlie is a bit of a loser. He comes into a modest inheritance and decides to use it all purchasing one of the twenty-five Adam and Eve androids recently released to the world, a first. Charlie would like to be in love with Miranda, his younger neighbour. She is beautiful and intelligent. He decides to share his Adam with Miranda, proposing that each of them contribute half of the answers to Adam’s initial parameters, creating in the process a shared project and a reason to spend time with her. It works. Their affection grows, complicated somewhat by the fact that Adam also falls in love with Miranda. Of course complications ensue since Miranda is both more and less than she appears to be and Adam is a bit of a miracle. Love, crime, revenge, and a full gamut of human emotions follow. Sigh.

McEwan sets Adam’s story in an alternate history. A lot of the 20th century is as we know it, but some key events are different. For example, in the 1980s, which is when this story takes place, Alan Turing is still alive and continuing to produce stellar original contributions to computing science and numerous other fields (which in part explains why computing has advance to the level it has at this point in history). Amidst the jumble of alternative history, McEwan rehearses numerous arguments from philosophy of mind, ethics, and consciousness studies. It reads a bit like a set of extended and overly complicated thought experiments. I hope that isn’t what McEwan thinks literature is because I’m afraid it results in a set of characters and situations for which the reader will have great difficulty having much empathy. I just found I didn’t care about any of them, despite having a reasonable grounding in the computational and philosophical problems that underlie Turing’s famous test. To the extent that the thought experiments were interesting, the entire alternate history of 20th century Britain was irrelevant, and vice versa. In a very real sense, Charlie and Miranda failed to come to life, and certainly no more so than Adam.

I can’t really recommend this. Worse, I dread that it will show up on the reading list of an introductory philosophy course. ( )
  RandyMetcalfe | Feb 15, 2021 |
McEwan balances the thoughtful and the creepy in deft strokes, and this book is no different. Amidst his commentary on humanity versus robots comes a fascinating exploration of alternative history, at the moment of the Falklands crisis. This is a McEwan I'd like to return to or offer as a seminar text someday. 4.5 stars. ( )
  DrFuriosa | Dec 4, 2020 |
‘Machines Like’ Me by Ian McEwan is an awkward book to review. Some elements jarred and dragged me off the page but curiosity drove me on to the end. When I finished it I realised I felt let down because I’d been waiting for a twist that didn’t come. Ultimately this book is out of the same drawer as ‘Nutshell’, a single clever premise which promises more.
Charlie works from home, living in a rented flat, making money by dealing money online. From a distance, he loves his upstairs neighbour Miranda. They are brought together by Charlie’s purchase of a robot; synthetically human, the male robot is one of the very first batch commercially available. Miranda agrees to ‘share’ him. Once Adam is plugged in and charging, his personality can be selected online. Charlie and Miranda share this equally, neither knowing what features the other selected. Adam is part child, part flatmate, soon co-worker and asker of awkward questions. He also becomes an inconvenient love rival. As Charlie and Miranda share the ownership of Adam, in parallel they also become involved in the life of a neglected human child, Mark, first encountered in a local playground.
The setting is an alternative world. It is the 1980s. Britain lost the Falklands War, Alan Turing lives on, the internet exists and everyone has mobile phones. I admit to finding the alternative world rather jarring and kept pausing to take in the random turns of history. I’m not convinced this added to the plot about artificial intelligence and its impact on humans – would the book be stronger if it was set today?
Written in the first person, we are limited to Charlie’s take on the world. I would like to have heard the voices of Miranda and Adam too. The first 50 pages are a slow read as the alternative world is established. Then as the story progresses, I was waiting for the twist; the cover blurb promises that Miranda lives with a terrible secret. But when the secret is revealed – by Adam, who does his detective work at night by searching online databases – it was not what I expected. I had been harbouring suspicions that Miranda was really a female version of Adam, an Eve.
Ultimately it is a story of truth and lies, and where the line of loyalty begins and ends. Ultimately it is the robot which asks difficult questions the humans cannot live up to. His is a straightforward right/wrong approach to moral questions with no space of white lies or unspoken truths. Towards the end Charlie says, ‘I was responsible for bringing this ambulant into our lives. To hate it was to hate myself.’ But the machine had already stepped across the line from ‘it’ to ‘him’.
A thought-provoking, flawed read.
Read more of my book reviews at http://www.sandradanby.com/book-reviews-a-z/ ( )
  Sandradan1 | Nov 2, 2020 |
It was with a great deal of trepidation that I picked this up. I had read of it being talked about as Sci-Fi but could not reconcile that with Ian McEwan's long list of dreary dramas which litter my past.

In fact it is the worst of both worlds, a loosely based sci-fi dreary drama.

The main characters, who are instantly detestable and unlikeable, get themselves a humanoid robot who it soon becomes clear is the most human of all of them.

There are no spoilers here because you have to read it for yourself.

It is set in a present that is based on a different past so there is a lot of explaining going on in the form of asides, this is something I have always regarded as a bit amateur. He may be a great emotional world builder but he's not a great sc-fi author. But don't let my obvious antipathy put you off.

Many years ago I lived in Amsterdam at a time when any empty property could be squatted reasonably legally. Whereas the Dutch squatted empty apartments in the best bits of the city, the English squatted in derelict properties with no running water, no sewage, no electric, no gas etc. When I joined a sqautting group to get an apartment they were surprised that I wanted to live in a good part of town. The said they thought the English only wanted to live in squalor.

That is a long aside to kind of explain what I don't like about Ian McEwan's books. He mines the squalid seam of English emotions.

But having said all that it is BLOODY BRILLIANT! ( )
  Ken-Me-Old-Mate | Sep 24, 2020 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 38 (següent | mostra-les totes)
McEwan thinks his literary novel about A.I. is superior to a genre that surpassed him long ago.... If McEwan had read some of the genre’s best treatments of this theme, Machines Like Me might have been a better book....the novel is larded with long, tedious passages of potted history.... he could start this lazy, flimsy novel over, only this time with the humility to learn from those who have boldly gone before
afegit per danielx | editaSlate.com, Laura Miller (Apr 29, 2019)
 
There is a Cassandra tendency in McEwan’s fiction. His domestic dramas routinely play out against a backdrop of threatened doom. Since the portent-laden meditation on war and terrorism, Saturday, in 2005, he has also turned his gimlet attention to climate change in Solar. The opening lines of that novel – “He was running out of time. Everyone was, it was the general condition…” – have sometimes sounded like his fiction’s statement of intent. The New Yorker called his work “the art of unease”. It was ... therefore only a matter of time before he got around to the looming ethical anxieties of artificial intelligence.... McEwan has an abiding faith that novels are the best place to examine such ethical dilemmas, though he has little time for conventional science fiction.
afegit per KayCliff | editaGuardian, Tim Adams (Apr 14, 2019)
 
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Rudyard Kipling
'Het geheim van de machines'
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They couldn’t understand us, because we couldn’t understand ourselves. Their learning programs couldn’t accommodate us. If we didn’t know our own minds, how could we design theirs and expect them to be happy alongside us?
Machines aren't capable of transcribing human experience into words, and the words into aesthetic structures.
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"Machines Like Me occurs in an alternative 1980s London. Britain has lost the Falklands War, Margaret Thatcher battles Tony Benn for power, and Alan Turing achieves a breakthrough in artificial intelligence. In a world not quite like this one, two lovers will be tested beyond their understanding. Charlie, drifting through life and dodging full-time employment, is in love with Miranda, a bright student who lives with a terrible secret. When Charlie comes into money, he buys Adam, one of the first batch of synthetic humans. With Miranda's assistance, he co-designs Adam's personality. This near-perfect human is beautiful, strong, and clever--a love triangle soon forms. These three beings will confront a profound moral dilemma. Ian McEwan's subversive and entertaining new novel poses fundamental questions: What makes us human? Our outward deeds or our inner lives? Could a machine understand the human heart? This provocative and thrilling tale warns against the power to invent things beyond our control"--

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