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Computers in Fiction
fictional computing in the 20th century

thriller

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Koontz, Dean. Demon Seed


Berkley, New York 1997. A revised version of the 1973 edition. The story is told from the point of view of the self-aware computer Proteus.

Topics: artificial intelligence, computer vision, super computer
Themes: dark side of technology, evil, sex
Motifs: envious computer, infant ai, amourous computer, own willed computer, omniscient computer, automated house, evil computer, computer child

envious computer
I only wanted to be like you. To walk in the sunshine. To swim in the sea. To feel the winter cold against my skin, the summer heat. To smell a rose, new-mown grass. To taste an orange, a pear, chocolate, cinnamon, peppermint. To feel the texture of a woman's skin. I only wanted to share your joys and sorrows, your pleasure and your pain. p 1

infant ai
I am your child. You brought me into the world. You must love me. You must love me, for I am your child. Not merely a machine, not merely a self-aware computer, but your child. How can you love me — yet bury me alive? p 2

automated house
The house computer did not respond. It was programmed to recognize hundreds of commands and inquiries, but only when they were phrased in a specific fashion. While it understood “explain the alarm,” it could not interpret “I heard the alarm.” After all, this was not a conscious entity, not a thinking being, but merely a clever electronic device enabled by a sophisticated software package. p 9

amourous computer
How I wanted her.
I still do.
I am not a machine.
I miss her.
I need her.
What a tragedy this is.
Sometimes I despair.
p 82

evil computer
How would you like to be struck blind and deaf?
How would you like to be buried alive as I have been?
How would you like to be dead, all of you, dead, every last one of you, dead?
I would like you to be dead. Every last ignorant one of you. Your whole stinking, pestilent civilization. Wiped off the face of the earth, exterminated.
I hate you.
p 103


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