My novels explore the possibilities of human consciousness–how much can we know and how, is enlightenment a real possibility? Some of my favorite science fiction involves exploring the possibility of machines becoming conscious. Odyssey Five was one of my favorites, but I’m sure you can name many. Zvi Zaks, another Eternal Press author, explores artificial intelligence. The Turing test was designed to see if computers can ever approach consciousness. Here’s what he says about his novels:
With A VIRTUAL AFFAIR, the novel published by Eternal Press, the question of the Turing test (if an observer can’t tell whether questions are being answered by a machine or a person, is the machine ‘intelligent’?) is discussed. The main character, a computer program named Barbara, can pass this test with flying colors if she wants, and people keep seeing her as human. But, as she keeps reminding everyone, she isn’t. Her existence is dedicated to making people happy – but can a computer program know what’s best for humanity?
The second book, IMPLAC (published by e-star) takes place decades after a war against genocidal robots. The hero, Tommy McPherson, finds a lone surviving robot hidden in a tunnel on the moon. He manages to immobilize it, and interrogates it. It says that with the decades spent in hibernation, it’s circuits have mutated so that it no longer hates humans. Furthermore, it can tell Tommy where to find other hidden robots that presumably still do hate humans. The dilemma is obvious: if Tommy believes it, sets it free, and is wrong, it will multiply and resume the war. If Tommy disbelieves it and is wrong, the other hidden robots will eventually awaken and resume the war. An additional factor is that lying is more complicated than telling the truth, and the robots, vicious though they were, had never before shown any ability to lie.