Nature.com reviews two books about artificial intelligence, and points out that the work of a certain writer is ignored:
Norton Wise discusses the masculine and feminine Victorian categorization of men as prime mover â€” ‘engine’ â€” and women as ‘mechanism’. And yet no mention is made of Mary Shelley, the most influential engine of artificial life in history. Likewise, in most of these discussions a paucity of references to key literature prevails. H. G. Wells’s The Time Machine is cogently discussed, but not The Island of Doctor Moreau, The New Accelerator or The Food of the Gods. Completely neglected is Robert A. Heinlein, creator of Mike, the first computer graphic artificial intelligence, in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress â€” though many of Mike’s children peer out of its illustrations.
The difference, I think, if that artificial intelligence is generally considered a sinister development in most science fiction. In TMIAHM, the opposite is true. Mike is a heroic figure, part of the revolution to free the Loonies from the unjust masters. In this sense it typical Heinlein, in that he was optimistic about mankind’s future, and saw science of a boon to mankind.
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