iD av Madeline Ashby

 iD: The Second Machine Dynasty; Madeline AshbyWho loves all humans, completely and unconditionally, with all of their faults? Some will tell you that God loves us like that. But what if we made robots, to be like us, but hardwired to love and help and serve us?

I don't think anyone has gone as deeply as Madeline Ashby into the ethics of creating what is actually a new sentient species, and make it into a servant caste. Servants with no choice but to love humans.

What is love anyway? How much is choice, how much is affliction, and how much is the craft of building and manintaining relationships?

iD is the sequel to the brilliant novel vN, about a near future where self-replicating robots live alongside humans. This is a story about love, and the differences between enslaved machines and biological masters. It is also a story about sex: how it can be an expression of affection but also a medium for power and and a kind of violence.

At the heart of Madeline Ashby's stories is the human fear of losing privilege. This is a dark theme, and touches on every aspect of human power struggle. At the same time it illuminates some very deep questions about humanity.

More than 70 years ago Isaac Asimov invented the three laws of robotics, intended to make sure that our machines never harm us.

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

He explored these ideas in many stories, and other authors have expanded and elaborated on these ideas. If you like Bladerunner you will notice a lot of replicant references.

We are currently seeing a lot of new interest in stories about artificial humans, and about the sometimes very close relationship between human and machine. If you find this even remotely interesting I think you will want to read these books.