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What is the best depiction of AI in film or literature and why?
The AI society in the Jack Mcdevitt series of novels. Because they coexist with humans and probably control human existence without any of the issues.
@Daniel Falch I'd been meaning to follow up on this with you. There wasn't much of any AI at all in Polaris, but I wondered if that was an anomaly of that book compared to the others. AI or no, I loved the book and I was glad for the recommendation -- it was exactly what I needed over my holiday travels.
@Glenn I'm currently reading Firebird which is later in the series and AI issues are a plot point in that. The author has another series set in same universe so maybe it's in there? I don't remember, and quite obviously misremembered, I wish these were a series or movies. My casting for this would be David Tennant and Amy Adams.
@Daniel Falch I would definitely watch that show. Pulpy space archeology is really missing from TV these days, but I loved the Picard as archeologist episodes and I wish we had something like that on the air now.
I love this question! I think we have to include HAL on any list (and I was embarrassed not to have seen the visual language copied in Calypso!). Brandon was just on a panel at PhilCon discussing the film, and one of the lighter questions the panel addressed was favorite HAL lines.
I've just finished reading Orson Scott Card's Ender series (okay, just the first four books out of what is now a thousand-book series). The last three of these form their own story, and one of the characters is an AI. From the start OSC and the characters in the story treat Jane as a person, and, of course, much of the philosophical meat of the story is asking us in what way she is a person (and therefore what it means to be a person). The story ends with Jane acquiring a soul and a fleshly body, which is of course about OSC's Christianity, and Jane's character arc does want readers (especially adolescents) to ask some hard questions about who we are.
But I'm going to say that right now (after only one coffee), I think the AI in the film Her is probably my favorite. Or, to put it another way, I think the questions Her asks about AI and our own capacity for love and affection are the most interesting AI questions.
James Swallow's Synthesis (a Trek EU Titan Novel) takes an interesting approach to AI with whole sentient planets and ships, well worth checking out..