Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Analogue of Empathy, by Joanna Berry

★★☆☆☆ Not Recommended

(Robot SF) In an effort to push “Lena” toward real intelligence (and real empathy), the researchers ask her to write a log. Meanwhile, a rival researcher tries to shut them down. (8,080 words; Time: 26m)

"The Analogue of Empathy," by (edited by Andy Cox), appeared in issue 277, published on by .

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

Review: 2018.529 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: Dr. Harris wins his victory by inserting Lena into the Herakles system, making it something that won’t kill people.

Con: Several elements of this story make it hard to sustain suspension of disbelief. First there’s the persistent misuse of computer terminology: “Null program,” “End of line,” “File” etc.

Second, the behavior of the people consistently defies belief. A meeting to evaluate a robot from one program makes a decision to deny funding to a different program? Harris is up on a treason charge for getting a replacement hand from a junkyard?

Richardson’s behavior throughout (and Harris’s reaction to it) are just bizarre. They seem more like children than scientists.

The idea that Lena’s software could be put into the Herakles platform and just work is really hard to believe.

Other Reviews: Search Web, Browse Review Sites (Issue 277)
Joanna Berry Info: Interviews, Websites, ISFDB, FreeSFOnline

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