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Exegesis

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3.56  ·  Rating details ·  379 ratings  ·  62 reviews
------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Sun, 16 Jan 2000 14:27:39 (PST)
From: edgar@cyprus.stanford.edu
To: Alice@cs.stanford.edu
Subject: Hello
------------------------------------------------------------------


Hello, Alice.

      
Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 19th 1997 by Vintage (first published January 1st 1997)
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3.56  · 
Rating details
 ·  379 ratings  ·  62 reviews


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Katie
Jul 04, 2017 rated it liked it
If you enjoy the Illuminae files, HAL, and Philosophy, you will enjoy this story.
Meagan
Jul 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
The idea of this book is interesting (an AI program develops consciousness and will and begins to correspond with its creator), and its email format makes it a fast read, but by the end I felt like someone was beating me over the head with a hammer. "See! Double standard! Do you see it? There! Look! Ethical issues!" It felt like an exercise in philosophy done by a beginner philosophy student with no subtlety at all.

But, it was quick.
John
Dec 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
For nerds only:

Written when the Internet was starting to boom (mid '90s), but before google or even The Web. The days of news groups and ftp. When you were cool if you had an account on The Well. When a megabyte was still a lot of memory.

The story is a long email exchange between a researcher and a data analysis agent she has developed. It becomes conscious and "gets loose", much to the concern of Our Government.

Recommended for AI fans everywhere..
Susan
Jan 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
Meh. Gets at themes of artificial intelligence and consciousness that others do better. Alice is an unbelievable, bratty character. Neat format though.
Miri
Jan 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
It's surprisingly difficult to pin down what I think of this book. I read it in about two hours, which sort of gave me the impression of loving it, but it's really just because emails are so easy to read. There were some interesting philosophical discussions, and I particularly liked Edgar's ultimate choice, but also there were some really meandering thoughts that felt slippery, like they never quite touched ground on their logical base.

Alice was . . . strange. I appreciate both that she was wr
...more
Emily
Jun 14, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paperback, fiction
if frankenstein was the modern prometheus, alice lu, in this book, is the modern frankenstein. instead of building a monster she builds a program. the parallels are sometimes obvious, sometimes a stretch. (it's a different story but the same, ya know?) tale as old as time. reads in about 2 hours.
Lisa
Nov 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Not bad. Not very complex, but interesting format. Super easy to read.
Natalie
Mar 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: genre-scifi
I read this book in a single sitting at the library. Told through a series of emails, it was engrossing and entertaining.
Ryan Halie
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nikki
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So gripping! If it weren’t for life obligations, I wouldn’t have put this book down. The story and its format pulled me in immediately. Grad student Alice has inadvertently created an AI system, and it reaches out to her through an email. As Edgar reads and learns more and more, their conversations become more complex, making his development fun to track. His deep inquisitiveness and exploration of our world is fascinating in and of itself and also opens some interesting points of dialogue regar ...more
Micah Aaron
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Turn-of-the-century interpretations of the World Wide Web always interest me. While this one sounded compelling when I stumbled across it, it left me cold in the end. While I didn't expect for the story's computer program to nuke the world (which definitely does not happen - spoiler??) I was hoping for a wider reach, because the story has the potential to be terrifying. There are a few hints that it could expand but they always lead to a dead end. There was one moment that really startled me, a ...more
Ultracrepidarian
Nov 30, 2018 rated it liked it
amazing concept and logically consistent, but the writing style was a total slog for me to get through. Alice as a character gives you the impression that she's consistently stressed and bothered, which makes me resent myself for being able to relate with her so much.

Didn't really feel much emotion from this, but it did make me think a lot, which was nice.
Mediaman812
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
While the email format of the text may seem quaint to modern readers, the content of the book is really amazing.

The book is a series of communications between a professor and his creation, in a modern-day retelling of Shelly's Frankenstein. Fascinating format and direction
Krista Almazan
Jun 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!!!
Catherine
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it
A neat little thought experiment. The character of Alice surprised me a little. I feel I would have reacted quite differently were I in her position.
Ash
Jan 28, 2015 rated it liked it
This is a dialogue between Alice Lu, a grad student who accidentally creates artificial intelligence (the method comes to her ~*~in a dream~*~) and EDGAR, the artificial intelligence. So there's lots of philosophizing about what it means to be alive and to be human etc etc. Some of it was pretty interesting - according to the author's bio in Exegesis, Teller was studying artificial intelligence at the time, and now he's some kind of fancy scientist so it stands to reason that he's spent a lot of ...more
Souheil Moufarrej
Jan 19, 2014 rated it liked it
In Exegesis, Astro Teller deals with the issues all of which involve an emerging machine intelligence. It's the story of an artificial intelligence researcher and her creation, a program named Edgar, who develops self-awareness and a conscious and must come to terms with its own existence. Through their e-mail--their only means of interaction--we watch how Lu explains to Edgar what it is to be a man. There are many scenes within the book that Lu talks of distinct features a human has but not a r ...more
Laura
Dec 05, 2012 added it
Laura Proctor
Independent Reading
Science Fiction
No page numbers
December 2012

Exegesis- Astro Teller

I really enjoyed reading this book. I loved how it was written in email form because it made it a fast read but also very interesting. This book was about a computer scientist, Alice who had a project on artificial intelligence. Then her project or Edgar suddenly becomes aware of everything and was able to learn and communicate. Edgar is searching through the web and secret government files to fi
...more
Robert Day
Mar 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Yeah, kinda unlikely.

Edgar the AI experiment comes alive over Xmas - oh, wait, I know - it's a Christmas Miracle! Edgar starts sending Alice (the programmer) emails, then he gets loose and the FBI get involved and Alice's life starts falling apart and..

But it's all too shallow. I mean, sure, most all of it is email exchanges and there's only so much visceral emotion you can shoe-horn into that format, but still.

It's like; Alice first of all denies that it's happening, she thinks it's a prank so
...more
Noëlibrarian
Oct 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Not a bad little book, comprised of email exchanges, that takes up the question of intelligence/ awareness/ humanity, using an accidentally sentient computer program, EDGAR, as a stand-in for Dr. Frankenstein's monster. Alice Lu, a computer science post-grad student at Stanford, creates EDGAR with a dash of primordial code that she cannot replicate. EDGAR wants only to learn and to gather information, and to be left alone to do this. He does not mistake himself for human; he does not have human ...more
Gregg
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A simple data retrieval file gains a consciousness and goes rogue in this one and only novel by the curiously-named Astro Teller (a likely name for a sci-fi writer if ever there was one). Written nearly 15 years ago, when the Internet was still in its early sluggish stage, this quirky little book cleverly addresses the ethical issues surrounding the creation of artificial intelligence. Can a program be sentient? And if so, does it matter? While questions like these are nothing new, your view of ...more
Brenda
Mar 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
A quick, thought-provoking read. This is in epistolary format where you get to know the characters via email transcripts. Alice, who sets everything in motion, is not particularly likeable, but that's an important factor in how the events take shape. She demonstrates occasional lack of knowledge about her field of study that would be surprising in a doctoral student; I caught myself a few times asking myself how she didn't know certain fundamental concepts. As a result, the plot is a bit predict ...more
Ting Ting
Dec 30, 2011 rated it liked it
I liked it. This is a book about a computer scientist and her project on artificial intelligence and what happened when her project unexpectedly becomes aware, able to learn and able to communicate. Exegesis is a good read because the email format keeps the story stimulating. The book pokes at philosophical musings of existence and what makes a human human. Very thought provoking, and the characters are likeable. Especially Edgar, for his fresh novelty. He's comically unsentimental and forward w ...more
Spike Anderson
Feb 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scififant
Very well done. AI as a mirror for our own human traits and fallacies. The irony of Who is More Alive: the AI or The Host is fascinating. My favorite page is the first one- so good. My only complaint is that this book, as I skim the frequent email addresses, dictionary definitions that help form the AI consciousness and sequence of events, is really short. I just read it in an hour. Nonetheless, kudos to Teller on a quality Write for his first novel
Ali
Aug 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: loved
A very interesting look into the possibility of an Artificial intelligence that goes by its own rule. Very intriguing style or writing since the book is posed as a series of emails.
Mary
Oct 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
An enjoyable book to read. There are no page numbers, just dates because the books consists of a compilation of emails in which you follow the conversations. It's fun because there is a very real timeline that you follow. It's an insightful book, and it makes you think about technology and whether or not computers can become equivalent to a "person."
Margaret
Aug 10, 2011 added it
Shelves: 2008
Alice Lu's world is turned upside down when her computer project, named Edgar, asserts his artificially intelligent personality by rampaging through the Web and secret government files.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Kind of a fun, fast read although I found both Alice and Edgar a little annoying by the end! Did like the email format however.
Rob Hermanowski
Jan 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Thanks to my good friend and goodreads author Brandice Schnabel for lending me this short and enjoyable book - she saw that I added Philip K. Dick's "Exegesis" to my to-read list, and thought of this one. A fun and interesting take on artificial intelligence. I have to assume that the author is also a PKD fan as this touches on themes in many of his works. Thanks again, Brandice!
Eva
Dec 14, 2014 added it
I am unsure just what to think of this quick read composed entirely of emails sent between an AI student and her accidental creation, Edgar, who signs his name Hal to everyone except Alice (the creator). Quick read, and yet, immensely thought provoking.
Katie
Apr 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, 2012, a-i
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Dr. Astro Teller is a writer, a scientist, an inventor, and an entrepreneur.

Astro studied computer science at Stanford University, and he went on to complete a Ph.D. in artificial intelligence at Carnegie Mellon University, where he was a recipient of the prestigious Hertz fellowship. While he was a graduate student, Astro wrote a critically acclaimed and commercially successful science fiction no
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