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Reader Discussions > Best Novel AI's

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message 1: by Joey (last edited Jan 22, 2015 09:05AM) (new)

Joey (mostlyjoe) | 13 comments I've been thinking about AI's in Space Operas. I'm trying to find a list of great AI characters. And they can fall into a few categories I'm looking for:

1. Main heroic protagonist.

2. Romantic interest.

3. Mentor character.

4. Comedy relief.

5. Post-human ubermachine.

6. Most humane character.

7. Reader POV.

Any suggestions would be welcome.


message 2: by Brendan (new)

Brendan (mistershine) Breq from Ancillary Justice immediately comes to mind as types 1, 6 and 7. Then there is every AI in the Culture series since they're all great.


message 3: by Joey (new)

Joey (mostlyjoe) | 13 comments I LOVE the Culture AIs. Their names (ship names) are the best. The whole 'family' of Gravitas names are hilarious.


message 4: by Packi (new)

Packi | 106 comments Do you mean 6. "Most" humane characters?

As for AI's the Culture is great. I prefer the drones to the ships though. :)

In Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep there are Transcendent post-human species. They seem to be AI's. They span from indifferent to malevolent.

Lem's The Invincible discusses non-sentient AI that is evolving by itself and how it’s sometimes impossible to communicate with really alien species.


message 5: by Joey (new)

Joey (mostlyjoe) | 13 comments Yes Packi, thanks.


message 6: by Betsy (new)

Betsy | 880 comments Mod
I really like R. Daneel Olivaw from Asimov. I suppose I'd categorize him as #6, but he might also go in #3, and even #1, since he's such a central character.


message 7: by Betsy (last edited Jan 22, 2015 04:05PM) (new)

Betsy | 880 comments Mod
Would you include the Brainships by Anne McCaffery? They would all have to be #1, and some of them had romance as well.

How about the AI introduced in Speaker for the Dead? I can't remember her name. I'd categorize her as #3, a mentor.

And then there is Lord Lynn Margaret, known as Maggy, the ship's computer in Hellspark, one of my most favorite books ever. But she is just an toddler in terms of sentience. She'd probably count as comic relief.


message 8: by Jason (new)

Jason Zavoda | 25 comments The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress Probably the first AI book I read.


message 9: by Anna (new)

Anna Erishkigal (annaerishkigal) I'd have to vote for HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Either that, or the once-human-now-AI woman whose consciousness was 'uploaded' to a probe sent to meet with an incoming alien ship at the edge of the galaxy ... can't remember the name ... think it was by Stephen Baxter.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Breq from Ancillary Justice is quite a unique AI, with the ability to control multiple dead bodies at once.


message 11: by Steph (new)

Steph Bennion (stephbennion) | 302 comments Anna wrote: "I'd have to vote for HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey..."

HAL was my first thought, too. There's something quite creepy about the precise, emotionless way it spoke. I'm reading one of Iain M Banks' 'Culture' books at the moment and the AIs all seem too human. Or is that the point?

The most interesting one I can think of is the AI discussed at the end of The Difference Engine - at least, the impression I got is that the mysterious punchcards were an AI.


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