Review: Artificial Condition

Series: The Murderbot Diaries: #2

When constructs were first developed, they were originally supposed to have a pre-sentient level of intelligence, like the dumber variety of bot. But you can’t put something as dumb as a hauler bot in charge of security for anything without spending even more money for expensive company-employed human supervisors. So they made us smarter. The anxiety and depression were side effects.

Murderbot is out on their own! It’s an interesting change of pace from the previous story, where Muderbot was still in the role of SecUnit… On the way, it runs into ART (a spaceship AI; not it’s real name, it stands for Asshole Research Transport; three guesses who that’s from…) who turns out to be a great ally. Muderbot gets a few changes to act slightly less SecUnit and more Augmented Human, goes back to the planet where to some extend it all began, and ends up hiring out it’s services as private security–hey, do what you know.

Yes, the giant transport bot is going to help the construct SecUnit pretend to be human. This will go well.

It’s another quick read and a great fun story. Honestly, the first was a great hook, but now that we’re actually getting into more worldbuilding and mystery (both in Murderbot’s past, but also the ‘what now’ of an illegal free AI), it’s even better this time around. I do love a good ‘are AIs people’ story and I’m really invested now in Murderbot’s story.

Characterwise, Murderbot of course sells the story, but I actually really like the dynamic with ART. You get a different sort of AI and seeing them play off each other is pretty fun. The idea of two AIs watching TV together…

So we watched Worldhoppers. It didn’t complain about the lack of realism. After three episodes, it got agitated whenever a minor character was killed. When a major character died in the twentieth episode I had to pause seven minutes while it sat there in the feed doing the bot equivalent of staring at a wall, pretending that it had to run diagnostics. Then four episodes later the character came back to life and it was so relieved we had to watch that episode three times before it would go on.