Monday, October 14, 2019

The Death of Fire Station 10, by Ray Nayler


(Emergent AI) When it sees its neighbors torn down, a smart building appeals to the government not to let it die. (5,784 words; Time: 19m)

"The Death of Fire Station 10," by (edited by John Joseph Adams), appeared in issue 113, published on .

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

Review: 2019.585 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: It does a fairly good job of showing just what difficulties a truly intelligent AI would cause. It’s no surprise that the story reports that people now went out of their way to avoid creating anything intelligent enough to have to give special treatment.

Con: Having spent my career in AI, I find it impossible to suspend disbelief for a story involving emergent intelligence. It’s like reading a children’s story where a train jumps off the tracks and runs through town past disbelieving people until it gets to the park where it joins its friends (a bulldozer, a truck, and a crane) for a picnic. As a pure fantasy, it could actually be fine, but as something we’re meant to take seriously, it doesn’t work for me at all.

I might be able to look past that if the story didn’t keep rubbing my nose in it. For example, the AI that wrote a suicide note. Or the plan to put the AI from a building into a human body (complete with beating heart).

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