The Turing Option (Questar Science Fiction)

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9780140129502: The Turing Option (Questar Science Fiction)

The world's foremost authority on artificial intelligence is shot by terrorists, and it is up to a brilliant surgeon to reconstruct the scientist's brain using the research he pioneered. 35,000 first printing. $35,000 ad/promo.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Clich‚d, melodramatic, and thuddingly plotted--but, still, this novel by a Grand Old Man of sf and the world's leading expert on artificial intelligence contains some of the best extrapolation on the nature and creation of AI ever offered in fiction. In 2023, Brian Delaney, under contract to Megalobe, has just achieved a breakthrough in AI when someone engineers the theft of his research and murders all involved. Brian alone survives, but a bullet has destroyed much of his brain. Using Brian's own research, neurosurgeon Erin Snaresbrook grafts an advanced computer into his brain, reintegrating neural pathways, allowing access to memories to the age of 14. Brian learns to interface with the CPU, and downloaded databases become part of his memory. While the army keeps him a virtual prisoner for security and searches for the perps, the new, improved Brian creates a new, improved AI, named Sven. Meanwhile, a criminological AI named Dick Tracy begins to uncover clues to the raid and, once integrated with Sven, sports a new product--a robot gardener--that's programmed with Brian's AI code. Brian finds a clue to his would-be murderer's whereabouts in the programming and engineers his and Sven's escape. Travelling to his native Ireland, Brian then discovers that he can interface directly with Sven. Having found the criminal mastermind, he reveals Sven's existence to the world--and goes back to work a free man. While the authors offer a difficult and realistic resolution- -Brian's machine/mind interface makes him progressively less human- -they also remind us that it's the future with lines like: ``Nostalgia music played quietly in the background, ancient classics by the antique old-timers U2.'' -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Minsky ( The Society of the Mind ), one of the foremost authorities on artificial intelligence research, has many interesting ideas about the potential and pitfalls of the quest for a truly free-thinking machine, and some of them come through in this murky, creaky thriller, written with veteran science fiction author Harrison ( Return to Eden ). Brian Delany, a brilliant computer scientist at top-secret Megalobe labs, is on the brink of developing a true machine intelligence when industrial pirates penetrate security and steal his research, gravely wounding him in the process. Though a bullet has destroyed parts of his brain, the technology he created offers hope: neurosurgeon Erin Snaresbrook uses microsurgical robots and a superpowerful computer to restore Brian to consciousness. Now he races against time to re-create his research before the thieves can develop it for the marketplace, and to find out who was behind the theft before they can finish him off. The stale, contrived plot and unlikely characters serve only as a framework for the authors' exposition of various issues surrounding AI. Readers interested in a lecture enlivened by a plot line should find this entertaining; those seeking the pleasures of fiction (science or otherwise) should look elsewhere.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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