30 July 2011

Post 409: a general update

So, I went to the library earlier this month and picked up two books. Then I got them home and I was like, hm, I detect a theme. Which prompted a second library trip to get two more books on the same topic. So here we're going to have a random robot themed week here at Lib's LIB, because why the hell not. I mean, I'm going to be replaced by robots anyway, so fuck it. Good luck getting an automaton to wipe your fines. PS: please pronounce robots as "row-butts" for an increase in entertainment value (or just read the entire thing as Dr. Zoidberg). You're welcome.

Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson.
Son of a bitch, I just realized I've been tweeting the title as "Robocalypse." Oh well. Shoot me. Wilson can get a refund on whatever money he paid me to advertise his book (that would be nothing, by the way). So yeah, it's like World War Z only with robots. Some of the characters are written like stereotypes of stereotypes, but complaining about wooden characters is like complaining about Arnold Schwarzenegger's acting in... well, anything. You picked up the action movie version of a book, so what you're getting is a compelling plot and some explosions and some special effects. What, you want more? It does its job. If you want acting, go rent Bicentennial Man (no seriously, it's aged remarkably well and is a good movie despite the cheese factor). Also, shout out to a fellow Tulsan, whoo! Go T-town!

The Most Human Human by Brian Christian.
Not exactly about robots, but about the thing we would put into their "heads" if we were going to build the ultimate robots. I first saw this on the Daily Show (which I need to start watching again, but even the funny news is fucking depressing). Have I always italicized that? I don't know, it's a blog, you get consistency in pieces, not the entire thing. So this is a book about a competition to create the most human computer, but humans also compete to be crowned the most "human" human, hello title. So it'll be interesting to read about what characteristics people see as being more human than others and what computers do well as far as mimicking us. Computer programmers, I dare you to write a program that will write my blog posts for me. Bring it, bitches.

Genesis by Poul Anderson.
It is nearly impossible to find anything at my library in Alabama. Their catalog is a mess and their collection is also a mess. So I just kind of had to hope and pray that I could either stumble across something about robots, or that what was in the catalog was actually in the collection and where it said it was. I didn't quite get I wanted (I really wanted some Philip K. Dick, but who doesn't want Dick?), but I got something. This covers the uploading human consciousness into computers (and I am assuming robots) thing. The cover is a bit wacky, but then sci-fi covers are kind of like that.

Rapture for the Geeks by Richard Dooling.
This was published in 2008 and I'm sure it became obsolete almost as soon as it was published, but hey, someone's gotta write this stuff. You poor technology writer bastards. In this slim volume, Dooling theorizes what might happen when computers get smarter than us. Personally, I hope they turn us into pets and perform upgrades. I so want robot hands, like a Jedi boss. I'm pretty sure this is the first time this book has circulated. Popping library book cherries kind of makes me sad, because it means I'm the only one who has enjoyed or suffered through them. Please put a smile on a librarian's face and de-virginize a book... um, not literally. That would make me do the opposite of smile. Also, paper cuts.

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