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Autonomous by Annalee Newitz []



Imagine a future in which genetic engineering is commonplace, artificial intelligence has advanced to the point where machine consciousness is taken for granted, and robots, which are built from a mixture of electrical, mechanical, and biological components, are an accepted part of everyday life. Property is key in this world. Robots can be owned, and people too, but the most valuable property is information, and corporations will do nearly anything to defend their patents. The individual in this world, whether human or machine, has few rights and less power.

Annalee Newitz’s Autonomous is set in such a world. Jack is an anti-patent pirate, skilled at chemical and bio engineering and determined to make pharmaceuticals available to those who need them, but she is in trouble when she realizes the dangers inherent in a new highly addicting productivity drug. Meanwhile Paladin, an AI, and Eliasz, both employed by a military organization dedicated to protecting intellectual property, are on her trail.

Told from varied perspectives, including the perspective of a new Artificial Intelligence learning about the world, Autonomous is a moving and engaging novel. With great characters, adventure, sci-fi, philosophy, and romance, it has a lot to offer. I enjoyed this book enormously!

Content warning: drug use and abuse; some sexual content; some violence which can be graphic at times, including a disturbing description of a torture during an interrogation

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