Jun 14 2005

Galatea 2.2

Published by at 8:24 am under Books

by Richard Powers.
Described on the flap as a reinvention of the Pygmalion story, but that does not do the book justice. I’t more a riff on the idea of consciousness and what it takes to achieve a human like self awareness. Lots of ideas float around concerning language, intelligence, human communications, and awareness.
On the surface, its the story of a novelist spending a year as the resident humanist in a scientific research lab. He gets sucked into training a neural net into learning how to pass a masters exam in English literature. Interwoven is the story of his life from when he dropped out of graduate school till his return to the U at this lab.
I enjoyed this one and plan to look into a few of Power’s other books as a result. It is not a book that “you can’t put down” but is satisfying to read. A serious mix of writing about technology and humanity.
Incidentally, Galatea is never mentioned in the book, as I recall. A quick trip to the dictionary indicates it is an alternative name given to Pygmalion in Greek mythology.

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