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February 13, 2015
Posted at 12:27 am
 

A.I. - Chapters 20-21

Two more chapters today, as promised. A little more on religion, though it won't come up again. It does strike me as a subject in which a hypothetically self-aware computer might be interested, among of course many others, but the notion of an omniscient and omnipotent supreme being strikes me as one of the unique characteristics of our species.Regrettably for our race, so are the horrors committed in the name of that supreme being, who is probably thoroughly pissed off at having his (or her, if you will) name invoked as ostensible justification therefor.
One or two readers have contacted me with more information about computers than I can readily digest. They seem to feel that I'm more knowledgeable about the discipline than I am, and am possibly a professional. Let's see; in the novels I've written my various heroes and heroines have been in computerization/electronics engineering (three times), the law (twice), sociology (just once, but for three books), grand opera (twice, both in the same book), marine biology, the military, and business administration. There's also a call-girl, plus the odd dilletante or so. I'm none of those (and am anatomically disqualified for one), although I did at one time write computer programs, I've had some training (I truly detest the all-too-common use of "training" as it's applied to human beings-to me, dogs, cats, domesticated bears and seals and other animals are trained, people are educated-but it's the correct term in this case) and a little experience as a singer and actor, I grew up in the military, I worked for a comparatively short time in the civilian bureaucracy, and I administered the two businesses that I've owned, but I've opted in this area not to follow the literary admonition to "write what you know." My professional background is in freight transportation law and management-so yes, I also have some legal experience and knowledge, albeit limited-and as an author in that field; I've personally found it fascinating, but it's not the stuff of fiction, so my characters must look elsewhere for their livelihoods.
In particular , my personal knowledge of and experience with the computer world is pretty badly out of date, and I'm afraid I'm not really able to carry on much of an intelligent dialogue about it. Still, although a couple of readers told me that state-of-the-art computer hardware and software is more likely to be found in academia or the private sector (which wouldn't have worked for my story) than at the Department of Defense, so far nobody's found a major technological gaffe in A.I. Well, a few readers have remarked about firewalls (anybody seriously think they'd pose a problem to Spook?), and one reader keeps nagging me that Spook could indeed get Jack and Lisa passports-U.S. or any other country-without trouble (which tells me stuff I didn't really want to know about national security). All in all, I'm pleased. I hope you continue to enjoy.