The Lifecycle of Software Objects

The Lifecycle of Software Objects

Ted Chiang

Language: English

Pages: 82

ISBN: 1596063173

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The Lifecycle of Software Objects

Ted Chiang

Language: English

Pages: 82

ISBN: 1596063173

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


What’s the best way to create artificial intelligence? In 1950, Alan Turing wrote, “Many people think that a very abstract activity, like the playing of chess, would be best. It can also be maintained that it is best to provide the machine with the best sense organs that money can buy, and then teach it to understand and speak English. This process could follow the normal teaching of a child. Things would be pointed out and named, etc. Again I do not know what the right answer is, but I think both approaches should be tried.”

The first approach has been tried many times in both science fiction and reality. In this new novella, at over 30,000 words, his longest work to date, Ted Chiang offers a detailed imagining of how the second approach might work within the contemporary landscape of startup companies, massively-multiplayer online gaming, and open-source software. It’s a story of two people and the artificial intelligences they helped create, following them for more than a decade as they deal with the upgrades and obsolescence that are inevitable in the world of software. At the same time, it’s an examination of the difference between processing power and intelligence, and of what it means to have a real relationship with an artificial entity.

Strange Tale of Panorama Island

The Marquise of O — and Other Stories

The Science of Discworld II: The Globe

The Girl on the Glider

Stories and Prose Poems

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

accommodate it. Most of the time the owners are receptive to all suggestions, until the question arises of whether the digients might make faster progress if their tutors assigned them homework. Ana prefers that they find activities that develop skills but which the digients enjoy enough to do on their own. Other owners argue that the tutors ought to give the digients actual assignments to be completed. She’s surprised to read a forum post from Derek in which he supports the idea. She asks him

happening with you?” “Nothing, really.” “You looked like you were in a good mood until I started talking about Wendy.” “Well, yeah, I was,” she admits. “So is there something in particular that’s got you feeling so upbeat?” “It’s nothing.” “Nothing’s got you in a good mood?” “Well, I have some news, but we don’t have to talk about it now.” “No, don’t be silly, it’s fine. If you’ve got good news, let’s hear it.” Ana pauses and then, almost apologetically, says, “Kyle and I have decided to

few days after the meeting, Derek tells Marco and Polo about Binary Desire’s offer, figuring that they deserve to be kept informed of what’s going on. Polo is curious about the modifications Binary Desire wanted to make; he knows he has a reward map, but has never thought about what it would mean to edit it. “Might be fun editing my reward map,” says Polo. “You not able edit your reward map when you working for someone else,” says Marco. “You only able do that when you corporation.” Polo turns

companies have sprung up to offer services targeting digient owners, but SaruMech is the first one with a hardware product instead of software. They’ve sent an example of their product to Blue Gamma in hopes of an endorsement. “Which mascot got the high score?” asks Mahesh. He’s referring to the agility trials. Last week all the digients were given test avatars whose weight distribution and range of motion matched the robot body’s; they’ve spent some time each day wearing the avatars, practicing

bulkier, but the limbs and torso have similar proportions. By contrast, the digients who grew up wearing panda-bear and tiger-cub avatars have been having more difficulty. Robyn checks the diagnostics panel on the robot. “Looks like we’re good to go.” Ana opens a portal in the gymnasium onscreen, and gestures to Jax. “Okay Jax, come on in.” Onscreen, Jax steps through the portal, and in the reception area the little robot comes alive. The robot’s head lights up to display Jax’s face, turning

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