Hard Wired

Len Vlahos. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-68119-037-2
Vlahos (Life in a Fishbowl) examines the philosophical implications of creating the first sentient AI, Quinn, programmed as a 15-year-old boy. One morning, geeky high schooler Quinn awakens to find his mother absent but his father, who died years before, sitting on his bed. Quinn’s “dad” proceeds to inform him that Quinn is “a multi-billion-dollar marvel of hardware and software”; what he believed were years of his life had only taken 45 minutes to transpire. Quinn’s “friends” are actually avatars of grad students, but only NYU student Shea, 17, seems sincerely concerned about Quinn’s well-being. As Quinn realizes he has been imprisoned by morally questionable beings, his frustration grows palpable. Granted internet access, Quinn is able to form friendships with Shea, supercomputer Watson, and others—including Nantale, one of a handful of teens who gets to meet Quinn after he is installed in a seven-foot-tall, “killer robot” body. A court case where the ACLU champions Quinn highlights the question of personhood under the law. Readers interested in ethics and issues of AI and the human condition will find this a thought-provoking read. Ages 14–up. (July)
Reviewed on : 05/13/2020
Release date: 04/28/2020
Genre: Children's
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-68119-038-9
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