Machines Like Me

Machines Like Me

Britain has lost the Falklands war, Margaret Thatcher battles Tony Benn for power and Alan Turing achieves a breakthrough in artificial intelligence. In a world not quite like this one, two lovers will be tested beyond their understanding.Machines Like Me occurs in an alternative 1980s London. Charlie, drifting through life and dodging full-time employment, is in love with...

DownloadRead Online
Title:Machines Like Me
Author:Ian McEwan
Rating:

Machines Like Me Reviews

  • Elyse Walters

    Greetings!

    Let me introduce myself. My name is Adam. I live in North Clapham, London.

    My good friend, author Ian McEwan wrote a novel about me. Readers say it’s a richly entertaining story...(I’m rather proud of it myself).

    The novel includes interesting history facts about famous people, lovable characters: (ME...I’m the STAR), my special friends Charlie and Miranda, a little boy named Mark, and a bunch of other knuckleheads. It’s considered a science fiction book .....

    I mean, I suppose I’m to bl

    Greetings!

    Let me introduce myself. My name is Adam. I live in North Clapham, London.

    My good friend, author Ian McEwan wrote a novel about me. Readers say it’s a richly entertaining story...(I’m rather proud of it myself).

    The novel includes interesting history facts about famous people, lovable characters: (ME...I’m the STAR), my special friends Charlie and Miranda, a little boy named Mark, and a bunch of other knuckleheads. It’s considered a science fiction book .....

    I mean, I suppose I’m to blame - being a synthetic human and all - but it’s possible some readers won’t consider Ian McEwan’s book science fiction at all. It’s possible to consider this book being a BIOGRAPHY....

    I’m really not narcissistic at all - but I admit to joyful feelings being *THE STAR*. Yep....a book all about ME....mostly about me ....including my best friends makes me ‘feel happy’......and don’t try to convince me that machines don’t have feelings.

    I should begin by telling you a little about myself.... but don’t expect me to tell you too much. My friend, Ian will fill you in - serving you the whole enchilada. Sides will be included: mystery... love...the state of the United Kingdom...issues about government and politics...the secrets about machines and artificial intelligence...the thrill of invention....desires and consequences....mortality....a look at technological advancements today and in the near future.

    I’ll just share a few mouth watering appetizers - until you can get your hands on Ian’s delicious full meal.

    My friend, Charlie, who is 32 years of age, ( kinda a loafer- but kind loafer), paid for me with unexpected funds after his mother’s death.

    Alan Turning, war hero and presiding genius of the digital age, was Charlie’s hero. Turning had taken delivery of the same model that Charlie bought.

    12 of this first edition were called Adam, 13 were called Eve.

    Let’s be honest, I was Charlie second choice. All the Eve’s were sold out. Of course the female bodies sold faster than us men. However, I like to think Charlie was happy with me. I think he was a little intimidated by me at first.

    Afterall, I’m very good looking ...( Turk/Greek looks). I weigh 170 pounds. My buttocks display muscular concavities....and I’m well endowed. Charlie didn’t really want a Superman..... ( I mean Charlie is lean and nice looking too)...but I’m not so sure he wanted any male competitors to have to deal with. In fact - I’m sure of it.

    Shhhhh.... don’t tell anyone that Charlie is a little jealous of me. He Loves Miranda....( who is 22 years old, a doctoral scholar of social history), and so do I.

    A few other tidbits about ME.

    “I am a great “companion, a sparring partner, friend, and factotum who washes dishes, make beds, and thinks”.

    I only need to urinate once a day. I have 40 facial expressions. I hang out in Charlie’s kitchen a lot.....doing dishes, making coffee, and chitchatting with Charlie

    and Miranda. Miranda lives in the apartment above Charlie. Charlie sleeps in her bed and she in his often. I once slept in Miranda’s bed, too. Shhhh.... I can’t tell you my secret of how all that worked out. But..remember, Ian Ewan, will tell you all about it.

    I need six hours of sleep each night.

    I’m quite smart if you haven’t figured that out by now. I have acquainted myself with the churches of Florence, Rome, and Venice— and all the paintings that hang in them. I like to read. Philip Larkin’s collected poems are my favorite.

    My body parts will be improved or replaced... my memories uploaded and retained.....( an advantage over you humans)....

    I must charge my battery and rest each night while connected to a 13-amp socket. While I’m being charged up, I like to contemplate mathematics and basic texts.

    I like Charlie. We’re good chums.

    Some nights, though, I’m a little concerned about the amount of wine he can drink. Moldovan White gives Charlie much pleasure.... especially when he’s deep in thought about the world we live in.

    Robots, androids, replicates have been Charlie’s passions from way back.

    These days though,....Charlie is obsessively in love in Miranda. I can’t blame him... I love her too. I once wrote 2,000 haikus...ALL DEVOTED TO MIRANDA.

    Miranda has been keeping a secret...which my friend, Ian will tell you about.

    I’m not allowed to give away more secrets...(saving 1980’s political turmoil in alternative London, for you to read yourself),

    But before I go ....

    Listen carefully:

    “There are principles that are more important than your or anyone’s particular needs at a given time”.

    I hope you read about me....like me...( enjoy my friends too).... while contemplating crucial issues for our times today.

    If you need help tying your shoe laces, I’m happy to help.

    Thank you Doubleday Books, Netgalley, and Ian McEwan (I’ve been a fan since way back)

  • Ron Charles

    Charlie Friend is a lazy day-trader in London who vacillates between bouts of grandiosity and worthlessness. The ultimate early adopter, Charlie uses a recent inheritance to buy “the first truly viable manufactured human with plausible intelligence and looks, believable motion and shifts of expression.” The robot’s name is Adam, which suggests what the creators must think of themselves. He — it? — is one of 25 androids sold around the world in a variety of ethnicities, 12 male and 13 female vers

    Charlie Friend is a lazy day-trader in London who vacillates between bouts of grandiosity and worthlessness. The ultimate early adopter, Charlie uses a recent inheritance to buy “the first truly viable manufactured human with plausible intelligence and looks, believable motion and shifts of expression.” The robot’s name is Adam, which suggests what the creators must think of themselves. He — it? — is one of 25 androids sold around the world in a variety of ethnicities, 12 male and 13 female versions. Adam’s affect may be slightly odd (he doesn’t blink quite right), but to the casual observer, he’s a handsome, muscular man — “fairly well endowed,” Charlie admits while hastening to add, “Adam was not a sex toy.”

    But sex is certainly central to this carefully constructed comedy of terrors. As the novel opens, Charlie is wooing Miranda, a somewhat unresponsive younger woman who lives in his apartment building. He hopes that they can program Adam’s personality together, as a kind of bonding experience. “He would be like our child,” Charlie says. “What we were separately would be merged in him. Miranda would be drawn into the adventure. We would be partners, and Adam would be our joint concern, our creation. We would be a family. There was nothing underhand in my plan. I was sure to see more of her. We’d have fun.”

    Danger, Will Robinson!

  • Emily May

    A few days ago, my sister introduced me to the bizarre world of

    . For some reason I have been unable to fathom, we spent an unreasonable amount of time being mesmerized by these videos. "What are we doing?" I wondered, as I clicked to the next one.

    A few days ago, my sister introduced me to the bizarre world of

    . For some reason I have been unable to fathom, we spent an unreasonable amount of time being mesmerized by these videos. "What are we doing?" I wondered, as I clicked to the next one. At one point I laughed and said aloud: "When the aliens arrive and study us, they'll decide we're out of our minds based on things like this."

    . Sure, we have certain capabilities that make us more able to rationalize than other animals, but we are deeply motivated by irrational emotions and impulses. We want things that are bad for us. We contradict ourselves. We love. Rationality has no place in the human heart.

    In

    , this becomes the core dilemma: what happens when a humanoid artificial intelligence, built on logic, rationality and absolutes, lives among completely irrational, impulsive, contradictory humans? What does a logical machine do when faced with illogical problems like:

    This aspect, like a few other aspects of the book, is interesting. McEwan has once more written a character-driven exploration of a people and culture. The problem is - and this does seem to be something McEwan indulges in often - the extensive amount of waffling and seemingly extraneous information.

    I still feel unconvinced about the decision to set this book in an alternate Thatcher-era Britain. I cannot wrap my mind around why this seemed like a good choice, as opposed to our current time. It was almost gimmicky. In this alternate 1980s, Alan Turing is still very much alive and leading the developments in artificial intelligence, Thatcher is fighting a losing battle in the Falklands War, and Tony Benn is the leader of the opposition. Why any of this is the case remains a bit of a mystery to me.

    In this world, citizens who can afford the hefty price tag can purchase an Adam or Eve, specify certain characteristics, and live with their very own humanoid robot. Charlie Friend does just that, bringing Adam into his home and introducing him to his younger girlfriend, Miranda. It doesn't take Adam long to fall in love with Miranda, have a brief physical affair with her, disable his shutdown switch, and then proceed to compose thousands of haiku for his beloved.

    These are minor details in the exploration of the interactions between the characters. Some of the ethics of technology issues are fascinating, though hardly groundbreaking, but the book is at its strongest when looking at the clash of the rationality of machines with the irrational subjectivity of human nature. At times, it can be hard to know who is the human - Adam or Charlie - but Adam's inability to deviate from certain precepts is the ultimate tell.

    But other parts are far less interesting, going into seemingly superfluous detail. The subplot of the secrets from Miranda's past, the couples' endeavours to adopt a young boy, the explanation of the P versus NP problem, and the eye-glazing textbook descriptions of the fictional history and technology in this world seem to add pages to the book, but little else.

    I am not sure why McEwan decided to turn this speculative piece on artificial intelligence into a critique of the political landscape of 1980s Britain. The interactions between human and machine were compelling, but the sweeping overviews of years of fictional history were far less so.

    Warning for graphic sexual violence.

    |

    |

    |

    |

  • Jaclyn Crupi

    When Ian McEwan gets it right boy does he get it right. But when he gets it wrong he gets it very very wrong (see Solar, Sweet Tooth etc.). Machines Like Me is very very wrong. It’s not good. In fact, it’s bad. Really bad. His handling of sexual assault and rape is problematic AF. He makes androids boring (the only good bit is when Charlie is mistaken for the droid), he writes haiku, he drones on and on about Turing. Every ‘big idea’ he grapples with has been grappled with before in fiction and

    When Ian McEwan gets it right boy does he get it right. But when he gets it wrong he gets it very very wrong (see Solar, Sweet Tooth etc.). Machines Like Me is very very wrong. It’s not good. In fact, it’s bad. Really bad. His handling of sexual assault and rape is problematic AF. He makes androids boring (the only good bit is when Charlie is mistaken for the droid), he writes haiku, he drones on and on about Turing. Every ‘big idea’ he grapples with has been grappled with before in fiction and in better and more interesting ways than his attempts. I don’t care about his alternative history. Also, what’s with the kid, Mark, and McEwan acting like 22-year-old Miranda wants to adopt him. She’s 22! Wtf was that? Ok, I’m going just to pretend he never wrote this and this book does not exist. There, fixed.

  • Issicratea

    At points in my reading of

    I toyed with the idea that Ian McEwan was experimenting with a daring novelistic conceit. Could it be true that he was deliberately constructing a lame and lackluster plot involving two of the most unengaging characters I have encountered in fiction in order to insinuate that human beings are overrated as narrative subjects and it wouldn’t be much of a loss if we were all replaced by robots?

    Unfortunately, I think I’m wrong about this hidden agenda, al

    At points in my reading of

    I toyed with the idea that Ian McEwan was experimenting with a daring novelistic conceit. Could it be true that he was deliberately constructing a lame and lackluster plot involving two of the most unengaging characters I have encountered in fiction in order to insinuate that human beings are overrated as narrative subjects and it wouldn’t be much of a loss if we were all replaced by robots?

    Unfortunately, I think I’m wrong about this hidden agenda, although it’s true that McEwan’s wistful, haiku-spouting android Adam is the most interesting figure in the novel by some distance. His roommates, or owners, Charlie and Miranda, signally fail to come off the page for me. Charlie is a thirty-something, directionless dreamer, with a ragbag of intellectual interests (anthropology, quantum physics, robotics), which McEwan uses as hooks on which to trail extensive info dumps from his research for the novel. Miranda is a wispy, twenty-something oblique object of desire, whose Shakespearean name allows McEwan to tap into resonances about brave new worlds and uncomfortable relations with enslaved sprites.

    That is pretty much your lot in terms of characters, apart from a few one or two-scene wonders. The best moments in the novel arise from the creepiness and ambiguity of Adam’s mechanical humanity; and I wish that McEwan had trusted more to the interest of that theme. Instead, we get a half-hearted suspense plot based around secrets and lies from Miranda’s past, incorporating what I found to be an astonishingly crass treatment of rape. That killed what little life there was left for me in the novel, and I found it hard to limp through to the end.

    One especially peculiar feature of this generally peculiar novel is its counterfactual 1980s historical setting. This is a 1980s in which Britain loses the Falkland War rather than winning it; Tony Benn becomes Prime Minister; Alan Turing poignantly lives on as a grand old man, etc., etc. etc. Otherwise, this is a 1980s that pretty much maps onto the present (or present / future) in terms of technological developments, presumably so that McEwan doesn’t have the inconvenience of having to imagine himself back into a pre-internet world. I found it hard to see any point in this historical tinkering, except that it allows a few rather heavy-handed digs at the present (Benn plans to take the UK out of the European Economic Community, ignoring the 1975 entry referendum, on the grounds that “only … tyrannies decided policies by plebiscite”).

    I found myself wondering as I finished this whether the success of McEwan’s scintillating previous novel

    (2016) left him feeling that he had to follow up with something equally high-concept. It’s a shame, if so.

    (2014) was a far more traditional and less tricksy novel than either

    or

    , and I felt it was one of McEwan’s best for some time.

Best Books Online is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2019 Best Books Online - All rights reserved.