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I Robot? Ian McEwan Tells Android Tale in 'Machines Like Me'

Wednesday Apr 24, 2019
In this photo taken on Thursday, April 18, 2019, Booker Prize award winning English novelist and screenwriter Ian Russell McEwan talks to Associated Press about his new novel "Machines Like Me" in London
In this photo taken on Thursday, April 18, 2019, Booker Prize award winning English novelist and screenwriter Ian Russell McEwan talks to Associated Press about his new novel "Machines Like Me" in London  (Source:AP Photo/Vudi Xhymshiti)

Ian McEwan is fascinated by artificial intelligence.

A central character in the British writer's new novel, "Machines Like Me," is a lifelike android with access to all human knowledge who writes haiku poetry.

The book, published in the U.S. on Tuesday by Doubleday, looks at the messy relationship between human minds and artificial ones.

McEwan describes the novel as a sort of anti-"Frankenstein." Here it's the humans, not the robots, who are monstrous.

In real life, the Booker Prize-winning author is conflicted about the rise of AI. He'd be wary of owning a driverless car, and he's grown suspicious of his household digital assistant since the revelation that staff at Amazon listened to recordings of people speaking to their Alexa devices.

He says "I think we're going to unplug it."

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