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Charlie Robot by [Martin, Benedict]
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Charlie Robot Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • File Size: 2311 KB
  • Print Length: 197 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Benedict Martin (September 2, 2014)
  • Publication Date: September 2, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00N9NSVZQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #760,016 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had just read the scary prognostications of two uber-braniacs, Stephen Hawkins and Elon Musk, who offered that AI (artificial intelligence) "could spell the end of the human race" and be "our biggest existential threat". So with some trepidation I leapt through the plasma veil of my Kindle and met my first artificial person, Charlie Robot. And what a pleasure it was, meeting this delightful creation from the quirky, creative mind of Benedict Martin.

Set in Vancouver (I liked that, a switch from the yawn of Los Angeles or New York) we experience Charlie's journey from his point of view. And Charlie's perspective is vital to the success of this story, as he questions the morality of being a faux android, as a pawn in a con, to shake down some billionaire investors. But like "the man behind the mask" Charlie discovers that his behavior is changing--not always for the good--as he adopts the persona of his alter ego.

As I plunged deeper into the book (and what a wry satisfying read it was), I felt sympathy for Charlie due to the unsustainable tensions that he (or it) was experiencing. And I began to sense a subversive quality to the author's writing: cunningly, disguised within an extremely accessible and entertaining story, he surfaced several profound questions with regard to mankind's future interactions with artificially intelligent androids. Would the "torch and pitchfork" crowd come out to destroy those unlike themselves? Is an autonomous thinking entity capable of great feeling, including pain and sorrow, still just an "it", a thing? Would the willful destruction of such a device, embodied with a thoughtful human mind (and soul?), be a crime? And would humans be prone to behave increasingly badly in comparison to these intelligent robots?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Are you ready for a cartesian exploration of what it means to be human? If so, you will thoroughly enjoy this book, which is so much more than a story about a man mistaken for a robot. Martin takes us on a roller coaster ride through Charlie's world as he is bounced around fulfilling other people's desires on his way to understanding his own. His dialogue and descriptions of Charlie's evolving feelings and motivations are especially strong. I did laugh out loud a couple of times during my reading, mostly at Martin's eye for pointing out common human foibles, and found the whole thing entertaining. A couple of the characters did not go anywhere for me, leaving me wondering why the author had us spend time with them, especially when they did not make reappearances later on. Also, since the story is set (near as I could tell) in the present day, you will need to suspend some disbelief with regard to the level of technology supposedly in use here. This might bother some hard core sci fi fans but, as I say, this book, like Charlie, runs deeper than technology.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Charlie Robot by Benedict Martin is as easy to give a five star rating to as any I've ever given. He totally bamboozled me and I love when a writer, gifted with a certain irreverance that is both adept and adorable, gets me laughing and trying to frown with concentration all at the same time. I call it the highest and best use of confusion.

Charlie Robot is centered initially around a group of scientists known simply in this review as Doug, Naomi and Charlie. They are dabbling with creating the first completely functioning Artificial Intelligent person that cannot be recognized as a robot. This robot is named Steven and he mysteriously vanishes through a door left open by the lead scientist and fund money raiser, Doug. At the bottom of this particular food chain is Charlie who was responsible for digitizing his brain into Steven. With necessary fund raising scheduled, Charlie is talked into acting like a robot. What a concept! Not a robot acting like a man, as advertised, but the other way around.

This does lead to embarassment, anger, damage and destruction to all concerned especially bullies. Charlie seems to have garnered more strength as Charlie Robot and fights off interlopers at will. Fueling his strength is his anger at being put in the position of being poked and prodded by investors, paparazzi and the public at large. Also, growing are bi-partisan beliefs. One, that he should be put down like a dog, another that science has achieved its glorious robot making purpose. Charlie's nerves are understandably cracking under pressure.

Could this be a house of cards? Will Charlie be stolen by competitors and all revealed? Will Charlie maintain his secrecy and his temper even when Doug starts throwing money at him?
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Format: Kindle Edition
Charlie Robot is fast paced and kept my interest as I read it through in two sittings. I enjoyed the creative descriptions that reminded me of personal experiences. There were many phrases I found delightful, some of my favourite lines were:

"the sort of confidence that only comes from a complete lack of self- awareness."

"Sleeping on the couch, with its saggy middle and traveling cushions"

"I returned the cash into the bag, gently, like it was a kitten."

"Her answer was a pile of soft mattresses at the bottom of a lengthy drop".

I also enjoyed reading the scene set in my home town White Rock and felt like I was there sitting with Charlie in the expansive kitchen looking at the ocean view as he pondered his situation. I would love to see a movie based on Charlie Robot.
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