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Machines Like Me av Ian McEwan
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Machines Like Me (urspr publ 2019; utgåvan 2020)

av Ian McEwan (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
9014418,259 (3.65)20
"Machines Like Me occurs in an alternative 1980s London. Britain has lost the Falklands War, Margaret Thatcher battles Tony Benn for power, and Alan Turing achieves a breakthrough in artificial intelligence. In a world not quite like this one, two lovers will be tested beyond their understanding. Charlie, drifting through life and dodging full-time employment, is in love with Miranda, a bright student who lives with a terrible secret. When Charlie comes into money, he buys Adam, one of the first batch of synthetic humans. With Miranda's assistance, he co-designs Adam's personality. This near-perfect human is beautiful, strong, and clever--a love triangle soon forms. These three beings will confront a profound moral dilemma. Ian McEwan's subversive and entertaining new novel poses fundamental questions: What makes us human? Our outward deeds or our inner lives? Could a machine understand the human heart? This provocative and thrilling tale warns against the power to invent things beyond our control"--… (mer)
Medlem:RichCarter
Titel:Machines Like Me
Författare:Ian McEwan (Författare)
Info:Vintage (2020), 304 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:Ingen/inga

Verkdetaljer

Machines Like Me av Ian McEwan (2019)

Senast inlagd avBenTreat, privat bibliotek, Rennie80, NataliaFic, iambibliophile, RaulGonzalo
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engelska (38)  italienska (2)  tyska (2)  spanska (1)  nederländska (1)  Alla språk (44)
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Der lebensechte Androide Adam bringt die Beziehung von Charlie und Miranda, denen er gehört, ganz schön in Unordnung.
Das Buch hat einige gute Momente, die aber sehr an andere Bücher über Andrioden erinnern - dass der Androide gerechter und klüger ist als die Menschen zum Beispiel. Witzig ist die Szene, als Mirandas Vater Adam für den Menschen und Charlie für den Roboter hält. Insgesamt ist das Buch aber zu unausgegoren um ein großer Wurf des Autors zu sein, trotz einiger guter Ideen. ( )
  Wassilissa | Oct 10, 2021 |
No score, because I couldn't handle the droning, whining narrator anymore and, around a third of the way in, I threw in the towel.

This book is wretchedly boring.
  TobinElliott | Sep 3, 2021 |
As you’d expect from a master novelist, a finely balanced opening sentence flows to a well-written paragraph. Before you know it, you’ve been drawn in. It is England, in the “autumn” of the twentieth century. But we quickly realize that this will be alternate history. England has lost the Falkland War. And rather than hound Alan Turing to death, it has knighted him. And one more thing: the first artificial humans, “Adams” and “Eves,” come on the market.
Thanks to a timely inheritance, Charlie is one of the early-adaptors. He is the protagonist; the story is told through his eyes, even though — oddly — he is not the “me” of the title. An early interest in electronics is perhaps why he spends all he has on his Adam. Charlie has not made much of life so far. Despite having little ambition, he gets a law degree but is soon disbarred for his involvement in a tax scam. Now he spends his days in front of a computer in a two-room flat in run-down Clapham and has indifferent success as a day-trader.
The other flat in the house is occupied by Miranda, an attractive but secretive history student. Once delivered and fully-charged, Adam makes three. Working out the implications of having an electronic possession much more competent than its owner takes up much of the plot. That phrase “electronic possession” is, however, inadequate. Adam is self-aware and insists from the outset that he has feelings. Charlie assumes that Adam means he has been programmed to express appropriate responses. Still, Adam insists it is more than that. Soon, Charlie accepts him at his word.
An indication of Charlie’s dim imagination is that it takes him a while to tumble to the obvious, namely, that Adam is better-suited to day-trading than he. Charlie stakes him to a small nest-egg, then begins to enjoy a higher standard of living. There is a problem: Charlie had little inner-life before this. The addition of leisure doesn’t change that. He has time to read, attend concerts, go to museums. But he doesn’t. His life, rather than being fuller, is revealed in its emptiness.
Meanwhile, Adam spends his surplus processing capacity roaming the internet and ruminating on philosophy and Shakespeare. “My mind was empty, his was filling,” laments Charlie. This doesn’t prevent Adam, however, from having a similar feeling of unfulfillment: “but there are times when I think that I ought to know better what to do with it” (“it” being “self-aware existence”).
Despite his awareness of Adam’s prowess, Charlie feels superior. When Adam warns Charlie, who contemplates initiating an affair with Miranda, that she might be deceitful, Charlie assumes Adam’s wiring is faulty. Charlie never learns to appreciate the rigorous logic Adam applies to every situation. It doesn’t help that Adam lacks the social grace to soften his observations, such as: “From a certain point of view, the only solution to the problem of suffering would be the complete extinction of humankind.”
This is a tightly plotted book, little is in here that is extraneous. When McEwan describes Charlie’s switch from physics to anthropology at the university, this is not just an illustration of Charlie’s aimlessness. The author tells of Charlie learning that there is little that is absolute, universal right and wrong. Later, in the fate of Mariam, we have a specific instance: the Pakistani way of dealing with her dilemma, and the English.
In the end, Adam unmakes the future Charlie and Miranda plan. Despite his convincing insistence that he is alive, he is not, in the end, human. For him, these absolutes of right and wrong do exist.
Ultimately, Charlie asserts his ownership rights in a brutal way. The climax of the plot evokes earlier attitudes toward slaves. This had already been an undercurrent, as Charlie enjoyed leisure financed by the productivity of his possession.
Is McEwan a great novelist? His novels are masterful achievements. They tackle important moral and philosophical issues, play them out in dramatic plots. He researches his topics assiduously. When he references Bayesian logic, readers divide into three groups: those who immediately understand the reference, those who stop to look it up, and those (my group, I’ll admit) who pass over it and read on.
He writes well. Wording, syntax, pacing, chapter breaks all impeccable. But sometimes his attention to detail calls attention to the author, not the character in whose mouth he places those details. When Miranda tells of her childhood friend Mariam and her family, she describes the cooking of Sana, Mariam’s mother: “I ate curries for the first time and developed a taste for her home-made puddings, brightly-colored, extremely sweet laddu, anarsa and soan papdi.” I’m sure the names are correct, but I can’t imagine Miranda speaking that sentence. Even less can I see, smell, or taste those dishes.
Hmmm. Perfect writing skills combined, at times, with a lack of empathy for the reader. Perhaps McEwan’s novels are the product of a highly-advanced program. ( )
  HenrySt123 | Jul 19, 2021 |
What does it mean to be human? Is mere sentience enough? Is it just the ability to think? Or, as is posited in the very engrossing book, "[w]ithout self-awareness, it wouldn't be thinking at all so much as data processing." There seems to be something about the way Ian McEwan writes that clicks for me. I find him more accessible than many literary writers and this book was an entertaining read that really raised a lot of questions for me. It also provided a lot of answers. Since we are currently living in a time where nuance is dead, I was able to identify with the problems of viewing the real world through the binary world of AI. There is a lovely phrase that may seem like an insult but to me was praise of our complexity as humans, the character of Alan Turing in the book references our "well-charted defects of cognition" in discussing our interactions with one of the machines referenced in the title. I love the way the book follows the development of "Adam" in what feels like a very realistic manner. McEwan is not really interested in the technical side of how it is created and works but in the implications of the existence of machines that are like us. I was involved with all the characters, including Adam, and the story is compelling and dramatic. The story takes place is a slightly different world, for instance Alan Turing did not die in the 1950s, and those small changes are used judiciously and effectively. Often I find alternate histories to be too wild and crazy. That is not the case here. The changes work to illustrate ideas and points in the narrative. In the end there are very important questions about right and wrong, and the absolutism of ALWAYS telling the truth. Seriously, try doing that for even a few days and you'll see the folly of it. Reason is important but it is not everything. Move too much in that direction and we'd be in a horrible Ayn Rand universe. No thank you! This book reminded me of the wonders of humanity, even in it's messy and often bad reality, and that is something I really needed. ( )
  MarkMad | Jul 14, 2021 |
Ian McEwan’s command of the English language and his skills for storytelling still shines through in this latest novel. However there are just a few too many issues and themes this story tries to cover (as the Guardian review also notes) - consciousness, the role of chance in history, AI, and of course, the biggest theme of all - moral choice.

The book is still an enjoyable read, and would probably be a good candidate for a film adaptation.

Oh, and the mention of P vs NP problem was certainly fun. ( )
  geoff79 | Jul 11, 2021 |
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McEwan thinks his literary novel about A.I. is superior to a genre that surpassed him long ago.... If McEwan had read some of the genre’s best treatments of this theme, Machines Like Me might have been a better book....the novel is larded with long, tedious passages of potted history.... he could start this lazy, flimsy novel over, only this time with the humility to learn from those who have boldly gone before
tillagd av danielx | ändraSlate.com, Laura Miller (Apr 29, 2019)
 
There is a Cassandra tendency in McEwan’s fiction. His domestic dramas routinely play out against a backdrop of threatened doom. Since the portent-laden meditation on war and terrorism, Saturday, in 2005, he has also turned his gimlet attention to climate change in Solar. The opening lines of that novel – “He was running out of time. Everyone was, it was the general condition…” – have sometimes sounded like his fiction’s statement of intent. The New Yorker called his work “the art of unease”. It was ... therefore only a matter of time before he got around to the looming ethical anxieties of artificial intelligence.... McEwan has an abiding faith that novels are the best place to examine such ethical dilemmas, though he has little time for conventional science fiction.
tillagd av KayCliff | ändraGuardian, Tim Adams (Apr 14, 2019)
 
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But remember, please, the Law by which we live,
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They couldn’t understand us, because we couldn’t understand ourselves. Their learning programs couldn’t accommodate us. If we didn’t know our own minds, how could we design theirs and expect them to be happy alongside us?
Machines aren't capable of transcribing human experience into words, and the words into aesthetic structures.
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"Machines Like Me occurs in an alternative 1980s London. Britain has lost the Falklands War, Margaret Thatcher battles Tony Benn for power, and Alan Turing achieves a breakthrough in artificial intelligence. In a world not quite like this one, two lovers will be tested beyond their understanding. Charlie, drifting through life and dodging full-time employment, is in love with Miranda, a bright student who lives with a terrible secret. When Charlie comes into money, he buys Adam, one of the first batch of synthetic humans. With Miranda's assistance, he co-designs Adam's personality. This near-perfect human is beautiful, strong, and clever--a love triangle soon forms. These three beings will confront a profound moral dilemma. Ian McEwan's subversive and entertaining new novel poses fundamental questions: What makes us human? Our outward deeds or our inner lives? Could a machine understand the human heart? This provocative and thrilling tale warns against the power to invent things beyond our control"--

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