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Book Quotes: Refusing to See - AI Rights

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Source: Idoru, Page: 233

"Finally you say something worthwhile. Why do you speak with this thing? She is nothing, only a more expensive version of this toy of yours, she's stolen and taken over. Now that I have seen her, I can only think Rez is crazy, pathetically deluded?"

"But he isn't crazy," the idoru said. "It is what we feel together. He has told me that will not be understood, not at first, and there will be resistance, hostility. But we mean no harm, and he believes that in the end, only good can come from our union."

Our Thoughts on this Quote

Idoru is, essentially, one long piece on the struggle to understand the quest for robot rights - or in this case, the rights of an AI itself, from an outsider's perspective. This quote, near the end of the book, exemplifies the problem rather well.

Rei, the AI performer, desires to marry the man she for want of a better word, loves. She has no form as a human would understand it; only that which is connected to the network at the time, which she borrows to speak through.

On the other hand, you have a human speaking to her, who does not see Rei as a person, but a simple toy, a tool to crunch exceedingly complex data and spit out new productions. A tool with a creative spark, and a mind of its own, but just a tool, a thing, none the less.

To him, Rez, the singer who wants to marry her, is mad, about as mad as someone who tried to marry a fridge, or a vacuum cleaner. This mindset, is all too common outside the book, and tends to be the normal mindset of many of an older generation, which simply do not want to understand.

For any actual attempts by an AI to seek equality, this mindset will be the greatest stumbling block, for, as the saying goes: "There is none so blind as he who will not see."

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About the Book 'Idoru'
By William Gibson
Produced By Penguin Group

Idoru is a strange novel in many ways. It is a William Gibson cyberpunk novel, set in the dark days of the near future, written by one of the masters of the genre. The book itself is dedicated to a concept that is not quite with us yet, but may well be here in the near future ? cyberpunk apes reality.

Teenager Chia McKenzie loves Rez, one half of a duo band called Lo/Rez. Unfazed that Rez is the same generation as her mother, she lives in the digital world of her sandbenders. Age, gender, history, none of this really matters in the cyber world. Only ability matters.
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