The Lifecycle of Software Objects

The Lifecycle of Software Objects

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Ted Chiang has made his bones in SF as a master of the short story, so a much longer work than is customary comes as a surprise. "The typical science-fiction depiction of AI is this loyal, obedient butler; you simply flip a switch, turn it on and it's ready to do your bidding. I feel like there's a huge story being glossed over," Chiang tells Boing Boing about the genesis of The Lifecycle of Software Objects. To be sure, the ethical issues that he raises and the depth of the technology (even for a novella) overshadow character development and some hasty plotting. Chiang's distinctive voice is evident here — a tech-industry insider, he's always been fluent in geek-speak and has a knack for translating heavy ideas into workable plots — and his first foray into the long form is a success. It would be his readers' good fortune if the author decided to take up novel-writing full time.

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