Sunday, April 2, 2017

Preferences, by Cat Rambo

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(Near-Future SF) Alanna and Howin take a cruise to forget their recent loss, but Alanna gets annoyed at the way the ship anticipates the things she wants. (1,800 words; Time: 06m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

"Preferences," by (edited by David Brin and Stephen W. Potts), appeared in (RSR review), published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: The twist at the end is the best part: Alanna only thinks she had a spontaneous shopping trip; the little ship logo inside the puzzle box tells us that the ship’s software figured out what she wanted and faked it for her—but was too stupid to hide the fact.

This, by the way, is an excellent description of how a real AI system might work. The one problem with it is that the system is too perfect. Real systems always have an error rate—things they suggest that you don’t like, and things that you would have liked, but the system failed to suggest them.

Con: The narration is very heavy-handed. At its worst, it descends into “show and tell.” This distances us from the protagonists and makes it harder to feel any emotion toward them.

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