Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Run Program by Scott Meyer (2017) review

Run Program will be released on June 20th, 2017



Run Program follows Hope Takeda, who works at a tech company as a lab assistant in an experimental A.I. development program.  The job is far less rewarding or stimulating than it sounds.  Or rather, it was, before the A.I. escaped.  What makes this different from any of the countless "A.I. on the loose" stories is that the A.I. (named Al) is the mental equivalent of a six year old human.*  His motives, personality, and intellectual abilities are akin to those of an average first-grader, if the average first grader could control airplanes with his mind and transfer vast sums of money through online banking apps.  Unsurprisingly, the government isn't too happy about this, and so begins the quest to locate and contain Al, who has plans of his own, dragging in everyone from disgruntled scientists, surprisingly profound soldiers, and a self-declared genius who has decided to call himself The Voice of Reason.


Run Program is a comedy, though not of the wacky Hitchhicker's Guide variety.  To get a feel for Meyer's sense of humor, you can check out his webcomic Basic Instuctions.  There's a lot of observational humor, and a lot of that is workplace humor, which isn't for everyone.  Really, go check out some of his webcomics.  I think that'll be the best indication of whether or not you'll like the book. 



* On a side note, the idea of raising an AI from childhood seems to have been getting more popular within SF in the last decade (and was handled extraordinarily well in Ted Chiang's 2010 novella, The Life Cycle of Software Objects).  Meyer doesn't go deep into the theoretical or technical background on this, but is more focused on the immediate impact of a child with practically unlimited power, and the odd results of that situation.






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