Artificial Intelligence seems to be something that one only thinks of when you reflect on some classic sci-fi movies or books. Mother of Invention, drops you smack dab in the middle of it. Although the title leads a reader to believe that its focus is on the creators of the AI beings, the anthology actually travels the entire spectrum of what it means to be an AI or its creator.
This book literally has something in it for everyone that has ever thought about, read about, or maybe even created an AI being. It allows the reader a glimpse into a world far more sophisticated than can be imagined if you factor the scientific terminology and expression that is present as well as the essence of the AI’s that are mentioned. It is a compilation that sometimes focuses on the “Mothers” and what it took for them to create such a unique creature, yet drawing attention to what it may mean to be an AI. The struggle that the sentient beings have to live through can be quite similar to what we as humans experience.
For example, self identification. There are plenty of people who don’t really know themselves or have yet to discover their purpose. It taps into those taboos as well, such as the fact that not everyone is intrigued with the possibility of a “race” of robots that may be conscious of their existence, and not just here for us humans to input data and tell what to do. The sentient beings in these stories are able to actually think and may possibly even feel.
Mother of Invention takes the reader on a ride that can force them to face some of the hardships that they deal with in everyday life such as love and even gender identification. That is an issue that is tackled, but a bit overly focused on in multiple stories. AI’s also experience discrimination and they try and understand the cause of such emotions. They even tackle religion and spiritual belief, and if accepting such ideals could be possible with robots.
There is representation from a multitude of nationalities that allows this book to stand out among others, because there are so many viewpoints represented that one can’t help but feel the stories connect in one way or another. Some of the robots invoke sympathy, as they are just getting to know the cruelties of mankind while simultaneously adapting these prejudices into themselves. This book allows the artificial beings to learn about love even if there are not always able to interpret it as such. However futuristic this book appears to be there is still a tinge of the present and past sprinkled throughout its pages.
Although some of the stories can be somewhat confusing as to what perspective the reader is looking through, I suppose that may be intended to show the lack of difference between us. Ever so often the scientific jargon can be a bit confusing if one has never learned code or studied engineering, but the purpose of the tone of the stories can be identified. As the reader goes further into this space that is relatively new for our present day technologies, it creates a sense of longing as well as tapping into fear and uncertainty that can be parallel to such works as something like Westworld. Mother of Inventions allows for the reader to understand how deep the connection is that a person can have with its own creation or work, how it becomes a part of them, and how we can all be viewed as “mothers” because of the love that we have for something that we made. It ultimately poses the question: how superior and human are we truly?
From the publisher: Speculative fiction anthology Mother of Invention, from award-winning publishers Twelfth Planet Press, aims to showcase diverse, challenging stories about women as creators of Artificial Intelligence and robots. The collection will be shipped to Kickstarter backers in June 2018, available at events over the summer, including Continuum Melbourne (June) and WisCon (May), and is due for online release in September 2018. Find out more at http://motherofinvention.twelfthplanetpress.com/
Amber T. Hubbard is a writer, journalist and creator of Kasiah: Mother Nature Incarnate a comic which is coming soon. She was also featured in Sheena Howard’s Encyclopedia of Comics, and has been writing since she was 12 years old.