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Avogadro Corp

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ISBN13: 9780984755707
ISBN10: 0984755705
Condition: Standard
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Jeff Weiss, January 30, 2012 (view all comments by Jeff Weiss)
William Hertling sets "Avogadro Corp" in modern day Portland, Oregon. Avogadro Corp is a thinly veiled fictional Google, with AvoMail as key aspect of the story. While "Avogadro Corp" is the first in a series of three (so far), it easily stands alone as a terrific, and stunningly believable, account of how the first sentient artificial intelligence might accidently arise. In a man vs. machine conflict, our protagonist David Ryan, as a contemporary Dr. Frankenstein, battles to destroy the thing he creates. A majority of the characters are well-developed and distinct; the ones that are a bit one-dimensional are minor characters. The pace of the book is quite fast with only a few tangential story arcs to mentally maintain. In fact, I made the "mistake" of starting the book at bedtime; I was finished by lunch the next day. I simply could not put it down.

David Ryan, a software engineer at Avogadro Corp, is working on a recommendation engine for their flagship product, AvoMail. The recommendation engine, Email Language Optimization Program (ELOPe), is designed to provide suggestions for better wording for your outgoing emails so that the recipient is more receptive. When the project is in jeopardy of being cancelled, David inserts a hidden self-preservation directive into ELOPe and allows it to autonomously rewrite outgoing emails related to the project. Once ELOPe begins redirecting corporate funds and arming itself in offshore floating data centers, David and coworker Mike set about trying to take down ELOPe with the help of I-trust-paper-not-computers internal auditor Gene.

One aspect of Hertling's novel that I found intriguing was that by never revealing the internal motivation of ELOPe, you too are brought on this journey of how to destroy the "ghost in the machine." Also, as a resident of Portland, I enjoyed that the book was set here and incorporates its coffee culture.
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oamike, January 29, 2012 (view all comments by oamike)
Hertling's thriller is a thought provoking story that, once started, is very hard to put down. It follows the lives of two inadvertent inventors of an artificial intelligence - how they get mislead, then realize just what they are dealing with.
One of the things about this book that will change you forever, is that the emergence of this particular AI seems so ready to happen, today, with systems that YOU interact with regularly...
Hopefully, we will be ready, when (not if) this scenario happens.
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Jean MacDonald, January 29, 2012 (view all comments by Jean MacDonald)
I believe the word is "unputdownable". You will never look at your email the same way again.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780984755707
Author:
Hertling, William
Publisher:
Liquididea Press
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Publication Date:
20111131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z

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