December 17, 2008 2 Comments
Well, bless her little heart. Lucy the robot orangutan captured a lot of people’s interest and she turns up in quite a few popular science books and academic works, but I was recently amused to learn that she also helped inspire a novel!
An editor at Quercus in the UK kindly sent me a copy of Genesis, by Bernard Beckett, which they’re publishing next year in several countries. He said I’d be sure to find it interesting, and he was darn right. Not only is it about a strangely familiar-sounding robot orangutan, which was brought up and educated like a child, but it’s also an intriguing philosophical story with some neat twists. I won’t give away the plot, and obviously the robot in question is nowhere near as stupid as Lucy, but it deals with some big questions about man, machine and consciousness in a clever way.