Take that, ChatGPT.

Those wonderful folks at Head of Zeus have reissued the Star Svensdotter trilogy in new digital editions featuring eye-popping new cover art. Excerpt–

“You’ve got your martyr’s expression on, Star,” Archy said. 

“The hell you say.”  Then, startled, I said, “How can you tell?” 

“Didn’t you know?”  Archy sounded surprised, but it could have been my imagination.  “Simon created a new program, Image Interpretation and Analysis.  Your ‘Martyr’ look is filed between ‘Mad’ and ‘Myopic.’”

“My eyesight is perfect,” I said indignantly. 

“I don’t think that’s what he meant.” 

I didn’t think so either.

“Now you look kinda pissed off, Star.”

I looked at the viewer, half expecting to see the face of a cockroach in a derby hat peering back at me.  “Who’s been teaching you that kind of language?  Never mind, I don’t want to know.”  

“Okay,” Archy said agreeably.  “Want to hear about mehitabel’s extensive past?”

I gave in.  “Sure, and put the coffee on while you’re at it.” 

I know it is theoretically possible for a computer to mimic the behavior of anything, but the trick is in defining the ‘anything’ to the extent that the computer has an unlimited number of responses to any given situation.  Most computer personalities I had encountered since the revolution in parallel processing began in the 1990’s were wooden and repetitive, if thoroughly competent, in response.  Archy was more original than most, but that was because Simon was a more original programmer than most.  He never stopped tinkering with Archy’s personality.  I remembered coming back from one trip to Terra to find Archy talking like Charlie Chan’s Number One son and sticking “honorable mother” on the front and back of everything he said to me.  When Simon started fooling around with Blackwell’s voice, Charlie taught her medical log to speak Tagalog, which effectively shut out Simon’s direct access, if not Archy’s.

I know, I was surprised, too, when I was looking for an excerpt to get your juices flowing and found that one. I was being just a tad AI prescient for a book written in 1992. Take that, ChatGPT.

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Dana View All →

Author and founder of Storyknife.org.

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