This is a book I bought because it either came up as Amazon ‘deal of the day’ or it was a ‘you might also like’ recommendation. Either way this was not a book I’d otherwise heard of or knew of the author. But the premise sounded interested.
Neill works for a tech start-up in Silicon Valley. But he’s not a computer programmer. He was hired because the company is trying to create an AI – artificial intelligence – and to give them a head start and sound grounding information they’re using the diaries of Neill’s late father. As an ‘expert’ in the material it’s Neill’s job to train the AI, ‘talk’ to it and correct its missteps and stumbles on the road to self-awareness – if such a thing is possible.
Alongside this we get Neill’s own story. How he’s faring after his divorce. He’s met a new woman, two in fact, but it’s not all plain sailing and he needs help. That’s when he hits on the idea of asking his “father” to help. Together they try to put together A Working Theory of Love.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I read this book. It’s not overly fascinated by the AI technology although there’s enough detail for that to seem plausible. There’s more in it about Neill’s past, his real father, his mother, his current life and loves than a purely SciFi story would have had. I found it an enjoyable, easy read. Some of the themes are relatively serious – his father is dead and he’s trying to figure out ‘love’ after all – but it was never weighed down by that. I suppose if I had a complaint it would be that there seemed to be a bit of meandering before the novel got to where it was going. However it wasn’t an overly strenuous diversion so that wasn’t a problem.
7/10 – some interesting musings, and some interesting computer-human conversations.