Recommendations sought -- hard SF with exploration of AI

papalazaru

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Hello all, apologies if this is posted in the wrong place, I wonder if anyone could point me to some novels that explore AI, I don't know if I can trust what they recommend on Google or Amazon : ) I used to read a lot of Sci-Fi back in the 80's, but have no idea of what to choose by modern writers. To give a clue to what I'm looking for, my favourite ever SF novel was Solaris, I was also well into Philip K. Dick, so what i'm looking for is hard, intelligent SF with a strong touch of strangeness, hopefully that makes sense?
 

hitmouse

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William Gibson: start with Neuromamcer
Iain M Banks: the Culture novels
Ann Leckie: Ancillary Justice
...and The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, of course.
 
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The Judge

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I can't think of any off the top of my head, but I will move this over to Book Discussion where it might gain a bit more traction from the knowledgeable (Book Search is really for those looking for a book they half-remember but can't think of the author or title). I'll also change the title of the thread, as that might help it attract more attention.
 

Rodders

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What about Colossus: The Forbin Project by Dennis Feltham Jones?

A story about a vast super computer which the Western World entrusts with their Nuclear weapons. There are consequences, of course. It's a bit old fashioned, but i think it probably would fit what you're looking for.

I must confess that i have only seen the movie and haven't read the book.

I would also recommend Adrian Tchaikovsky's "Dogs of War". Again, not AI, but animal species uplifted to consciousness by machines. It is a superb exploration into right and wrong.
 

BAYLOR

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The Humanoids by Jack Williamson written back in the 1940's but I think you might find to be of intersect in terms of strangeness. The Humanoids are robots designed to serve and protect mankind from harm , whether we liked it or not . It's cautionary tale and a classic
The Berserker Saga series by Fred Saberhagen spans several novels , The Berserkers Machines programmed to wipe any and all life in the universe , standing in their was is mankind.
Bolo and Rogue Bolo by Keith Laumer . Bolos are are giant powerful battle tanks, with AI's and Human like personalities. They are the master of the battlefield and dedicated to protecting mankind . The bolo series continued by other writers, David Weber, David Drake, William Keith ,Mercedes Lackey in an anthology series beginning with Bolos for Honor of the Regiment.
A Fire Upon the Deep
By Verner Vinge. Imagine a self aware computer program called a perversion which has the power to not only take over machines but living beings and entire civilizations
 

tobl

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A.i. - there's lots of syfy like that. do you want one were she exists or were she's a main character? in any casa, here: the synchronicity war, slaver wars
 

Ravensquawk

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"For a Breath I Tarry" by Roger Zelazny.

Zelazny perhaps writes "softer" science fiction than some of the authors who are scientists. But this story has machines with "levels" of computer sophistication. They communicate with each other in machine-like logic and reasoning, and say things like, "I am a Level Three brain. You are a Level Two brain; therefore I defer to your decision.".

Like Williamson's Humanoids, all of their entire programming and functioning -- from aircraft control and central entire-hemisphere controllers in orbit, to field-tending farm machinery -- is for the purpose of serving and deferring to humans.
Except that there are no more humans left on the planet.

Their interactions with each other in an attempt to serve their purpose for nonexistent humans drive the story.
 

Ravensquawk

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"Sci-Phi: Science Fiction as Philosophy" is a series of video lectures by Dr. David Kyle Johnson on science fiction themes that apply to philosophical questions. It uses films, not books, as examples, but the films can be hard science fiction, and some based on books.

Examples of lectures are "Transcendence and the Dangers of AI", "Westworld and A.I. Artificial Intelligence", and "The Thirteenth Floor: Are We Simulated?"
 

BAYLOR

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"For a Breath I Tarry" by Roger Zelazny.

Zelazny perhaps writes "softer" science fiction than some of the authors who are scientists. But this story has machines with "levels" of computer sophistication. They communicate with each other in machine-like logic and reasoning, and say things like, "I am a Level Three brain. You are a Level Two brain; therefore I defer to your decision.".

Like Williamson's Humanoids, all of their entire programming and functioning -- from aircraft control and central entire-hemisphere controllers in orbit, to field-tending farm machinery -- is for the purpose of serving and deferring to humans.
Except that there are no more humans left on the planet.

Their interactions with each other in an attempt to serve their purpose for nonexistent humans drive the story.

Fred Saberhagens Berserker series.
 

Toby Frost

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Harry Harrison and the AI scientist Marvin Minksy wrote a book called "The Turing Option" in the 1990s, which dealt with a computer becoming self-aware. I remember thinking it was rather dry when I read it years ago, but I might well be wrong about that. Perhaps worth a look.
 

J-Sun

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Greg Bear - Queen of Angels.

Also, Karl Schroeder's Ventus. and, to a looser extent, so to speak, Algis Budrys' Michaelmas. Also, much of Greg Egan's stuff, such as Permutation City and Diaspora, has artificial intelligence components, though more from uploads, downloads, sideloads, etc., than "ai AI" ("ab initio" artificial intelligence). And, of course, almost anything dealing with robots, such as Asimov's robot stories and novels, is actually AI, though generally taking that much of it as a given rather than exploring its mechanics or sort of metaphysics.
 

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I think you might enjoy the Murderbot series. It is intelligent, hardish, S.F. about a Cyborg who is able to break her? his? programming and develop relationship and a conscious in a very believable way.

Murderbot series by Martha Wells

Amazon lists the first 4 of these as singles. They are very short. But reading the first All Systems Red will let you know what you are in for.
 

Serendipity

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AI as a term was coined in 1956 to cover the topic of computers imitating humans. This proved to be too difficult for the researchers to even start to achieve and as an aim was abandoned in the 70s. But during this period there were plenty of stories published where AIs imitated humans in some form or other. Perhaps my favourite is Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress where the computer is learning to have a sense of humour.

Then along came Ronald Reagan's Strategic Computing Initiative in the early 80s - a sister initiative to the much more famous Strategic Defence Initiative (aka Star Wars). This tried to answer the question of what can computers usefully do? Then science fiction produced a reaction / dystopias of what could go wrong in computing and the movement became known as Cyberpunk - think Terminator, Neuromancer etc. After a brief flourish that movement died back in terms of fictional output when it was realised computers were under control and useful (and boy did the reading public get that wrong - but that is another story).

Computers have since become more capable in both capacity and speed. A lot of stories are (as science fiction does) extrapolating that bigger, better theme. But they are also looking at potential breakthrough into something else themes. We are currently in a another themed flourish of AIs - that of how and why computers gain sentience and the problems that poses along the way. There is plenty to read at the moment, but which will become the acknowledged classics of this theme? Certainly the Muderbot series has already earned that accolade.

But if are looking for what is coming next in AI, I think you will be disappointed. I've summarised the history of AI above to throw up the point that science fiction is always playing catch-up with real world themes. There is one notable exception - Asimov's laws of robotics way back in the middle of the last century. Yes, research is getting interesting results at the moment. No, the tech firms are not publicising what they are coming with until it gets to market - they are in the business of making money after all. And no, I've not seen this new research seriously applied to science fiction themes yet. But when the results start coming through, expect a massive reaction from the science fiction community - it will go through the usual what-can-go-wrong - how-can-we-solve-it - how-it-will-benefit-society cycle of new technology themes.
 

BigBadBob141

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The ultimate AI story on one page, "Answer" by Fredrick Brown.
Yes, now there is a god!I
There is a very sinister one by John Varley, I think it's called "Press Enter"!
And whatever you do don't forget "A Logic Named Joe" by Murray Leinster, true classic that foretold of the internet!
 
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papalazaru

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Very grateful to you for all those answers, I promise that I will carefully examine your recommendations, and will take some time to choose the books, unfortunately, since writing this, I've had a second minor stroke, and probably haven't got a lot of time to read too many books, but I love sci-fi, and think it is a wonderful way to spend my time. Also thanks to Serendipity, I love a philosophic account of anything, but a philosophic account of Ai is heaven to me.
 

psikeyhackr

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This is my favorite AI story. James P Hogan worked for Digital Equipment Corporation so it comes across as by someone who knows computers. So many AIs in novels are just neurotic humans in a box or humanoid body. If we ever create an AI it will be alien and probably not interested in being human.
 
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