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“Today I Am Paul” by Martin L. Shoemaker



“Today I Am Paul” by Martin L. Shoemaker

This story is from the anthology “The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Vol. 1” edited by Neil Clarke.

Just one of many possible looks into the future.  Science fiction has always been the predecessor to progress.  If we look back into sci fi stories from the 50’s we’d see things that are common place today.  As our artificial intelligence (or A.I.) gets better we will no doubt start to see problems solved with androids. 

This is a story about an android who was purchased to take care of a dying woman from Alzheimer’s disease.  Her memories drift in and out and this android has been programmed to mimic the people she thinks she see.  The android also has access to the internet and the ability to take initiative on creating new personalities depending on who the dying woman mentions or needs in her life at the moment.  He is programmed to take care of her needs, and those needs often are replicating a son, daughter, or husband.

As A.I. gets better and better we will soon have robots that can think and process new information on their own.  Basically creating their own existence.  This story delves a little bit into the morality of creating A.I. capable of following computer programs, but also given emotions.  Does emotions and the ability to determine what is right and/or wrong make them living beings?  If an android is running a computer program, but understands that it’s not the right time for the program to run due to emotional responses, does that not make him human; self-aware?  It is an interesting concept to ponder and is given due justice in this story

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