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What Will They Want?
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Here's a pretty cool overview of AI in fiction and movies, from SF author Ian Watson.

In the first part of the article he specifically focuses on the motivations of AIs represented in media.

In Nancy Kress' "Saviour" they want to live amongst themselves...they're bored with us.

In Harlan Ellison's "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" the AI is just pissed off that humans created him, and his only motivation is to torture a small group of humans for all eternity.

In The Terminator we don't know what the machines want, other than to kill all humans. And in The Matrix they want to use us as an energy source (which Watson thankfully points out is ridiculous...three cheers for the laws of thermodynamics!).

I've thought about this topic a lot, and I'm nearly always disappointed at the motivations of AIs in fiction, which always seem like a narrow subset of human motivations. Which is actually pretty dumb, since presumably their psyche's might very well be much more complex than ours.

This year I'll begin work on a new novel, dealing specifically with the emergence and aftermath of a race of AIs. It's entitled The New Machines, and luckily I've already got the motivations of the AIs all worked out.

Anyway, go read the Watson article and let me know what you think.

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