Title: Klara and the Sun
Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Genre: Science Fiction
Page Count: 303
Published by: Knopf Publishing Group
Date Published: March 2, 2021
You can find it here: Bookshop.org
Oh boy, is this one polarizing book!
I mean, is it frustrating as heck sometimes? Yes, yes it is. There is a constant vagueness throughout the narrative that makes you want to scream, but when you recognize the message and context – that we are learning everything as our Artificial Friend Klara is becoming aware of it – it starts to make sense why things aren’t so forthcoming. Computers have to be taught, they aren’t born sentient and as much intelligence and confidence that the population mindlessly bestows upon them … they aren’t smart. They learn, in stages, and make constant analytic deductions to arrive at conclusions, which oftentimes aren’t correct. Remember when Watson thought Toronto was an American city?? So if the narrative is boring or the information isn’t forthcoming here in Klara and the Sun, well, than Kazuo Ishiguro did his job writing as a robot didn’t he?
This book is going to force you to uncomfortably look at your own opinions and interpretations and anxieties in this increasingly AI dependent world we are creating. At what point do AI’s have emotions? At what point do they get rights? What does the future of our “dependent on technology to fill our lonely voids” look like? What separates humanity from robotics? And most uncomfortably … can a well trained AI be taught to BE another when faced with death and loss?
I can see why this is incredibly divisive and I completely understand the complaints regarding the vagueness, but as someone who really enjoys looking critically at our dependancy on technology, I was completely rapt. The ending was so damn pitch perfect for this story that I cannot stop marvelling. If you can, the audiobook does add an interesting level to this story.
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