David's Reviews > WWW: Wake

WWW by Robert J. Sawyer
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May 20, 11

bookshelves: science-fiction
Read from May 02 to 19, 2011

Mixed feelings. Maybe a bit more than 3 stars.

Most of the plot centers on a high school girl. She has a rare type of blindness caused by scrambled nerve signals. An experimental device fixes the signal problem, giving her vision. Being legally blind, this had strong connections for me. But by itself, it wouldn't have been my choice of stories. There are two other plot threads. An AI spontaneously emerges in the internet - this thread is clearly connected to the blind girl thread in Wake [book 1 of series]. There's also a chimp-bonobo hybrid at a research facility that makes a conceptual advance over the consciousness of other chimps and bonobos - while there's a logical parallel to an emergent AI, the thread isn't linked to the other threads in Wake [presumably in later books].

The part of the chimp story in Wake is relatively small and incomplete, but interesting. The part of the AI story is interesting, but with some issues in being convincing. One example: the AI uses the girl's vision as its only input of the outside world. Yet, there's plenty of video inputs on the web, including video-conferences which are part of the story in Wake. There's also a question whether an emergent internet AI is plausible. (I'm not sure of the answer, but the other issues make it harder to give it the benefit of the doubt.)
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