My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A complex, ingenious, philosophical, and thoughtful work.
A story set two centuries out in the future, ‘Robots Like Blue’ builds on ideas of robotic sentience. Anthony Deeney constructs a plausible and engaging environment for advanced robotic development. He creates intrigue, adds industrial, commercial, and legal challenges, and lets AI-driven robots loose. In a future where they communicate not only with humans but with each other. In a rather human fashion.
For fans of Isaac Asimov, this work is a delight. There are no references to intrinsic laws in ‘Robots Like Blue,’ other than that no harm come to humans. The plot is interesting, and the characters are vivid as they develop to the extent they do in the story.
For law, ethics, and philosophy buffs, Anthony provides ample, digestible material. He takes readers through a court trial – one that asks for release of the robots from governance – culminating in a surprising decision. Humans take a backseat in this story. A reader, a science and fiction buff, finds the robot protagonist Robbie rather sympathetic. Anthony succeeds, with brilliance and cleverness, in efforts to display intelligent exchanges between robots.
I liked the work – a lot! It grabbed me, and I looked forward to reading it to its end.
It was easy to look past hints of religion, of which there were a good few. “In the beginning, there was the word,” and references to duality, for example. For a scientist, it is not as much the “word” as the “deed” that manifests life. For instance, energy manifests motion which is, in turn, energy. A circular relationship, which, in sustainable self-organization, manifests in nature everywhere. And at all observable levels. A hint – of sentience arising from some “word,” or of an existence of Cartesian duality – detracted from the story. But the author moved rather adeptly over questions of soul or of identity, the enigmatic “I.”
Repeated references to Free Will and its discussion are quite clever within. Anthony’s robots are rather anthropomorphic, as is their quest for sentience through Free Will. The work, to me, thus seemed more of a discussion on philosophy than a synthesis of robotic sentience.
Other references I found curious include the ‘green flash’ that rises up in the sky – recall “Pirates of the Carribean?” A touch of the metaphysical again, perhaps, but enjoyable all the same.
Again, fans of Isaac Asimov (I’m one) will find this work by Anthony Deeney quite enjoyable. Recommended to all science and fiction buffs!
(I picked a copy up on a free promotion, but the book’s worth every penny or pence paid!)