Happiness for Humans by P. J. Reizin

Writing: 4 Characters: 4 Plot: 3.5

New for me: neuromorphic chips – Microprocessors configured more like brains than traditional chips could soon make computers far more astute about what’s going on around them.

A very readable rom-com with slashes of thriller / nightmare – all mediated by artificial intelligences (AIs).

34 year old Jen has a job helping to socialize Aiden – a pretty cool AI being groomed to serve humans in a variety of capacities. What nobody realizes is that Aiden has managed to escape his Silicon confines and has multiple copies of himself exploring the Internet. He has been spying on Jen and her miserable excuse for a boyfriend, Matt. When Matt unceremoniously dumps Jen for a younger, prettier model, Aiden decides to help Jen find the love of her life without letting on who is providing the help. Enter Tom, a successful and divorced ad man who lives on another continent with his “therapist” – a rabbit named Victor.

In the process, Aiden discovers and befriends another escaped AI (Aisling), and everyone’s life (both organic and silicon) is threatened by another AI, Sinai, who has been sent out to rein in the escapees but seems to have his own agenda around getting “even” with humans for “insensitive” remarks be a little unstable himself…

Plenty of action, romance, and philosophy (as the AIs discuss the meaning and evolution of consciousness and their purpose in life). The AIs are heavily anthropomorphized, so this portrayal of machine intelligence is far more literary than scientific, but it’s a fun read. Good pacing, interesting characters, bizarre scenarios The ending was a bit anticlimactic, with a deus ex machina move swooping in to damp out the thriller portion of the story and get back to the rom-com but given that I much prefer rom-com to thriller I had no issue with that!

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