How Dan Brown Portrayed AI?
Dan Brown portrays AI (Artificial Intelligence) in his new novel “Origin”. The newly released novel covers the trending technology news we hear about every day and mentions notable people in the same field like Elon Musk.
But the point of this article is to show how the best selling author Dan Brown portrays AI in his new book.
Let’s start with a small summary of the novel. A popular figure “Edmond Kirsch” is an American Computer Scientist and atheist that will be revealing his new discovery. His discovery answers the two most fundamental questions human beings have been asking since ancient times:
How we came to exist? And where are we going to?
Kirsch, although being an atheist, reveals his secret discovery to three of the world’s religious leaders. And by this action, he shows respect for them before ever going public with it. The religious leaders – Rabbi, Allamah, and Bishop – were stunned by the discovery and worried it will end all religions on earth.
Now this discovery puts Kirsch in danger and finally leads to his assassination by a Navy Officer before revealing anything on stage.
I’ll talk about the discovery in the next article in order not to prolong our article and go beyond our scope.
Winston, a computer that passed the Turing Test, is instructing all visitors of the museum Kirsch invited. Visitors are specific people who will watch him on stage as he reveals his discovery that will change the face of the earth. Kirsch’s previous teacher at Harvard University Robert Langdon is invited. And he’s one of the special visitors that Kirsch wanted to consult before going public.
As Langdon walks alone watching the museum before Kirsch announces his discovery, he wears a bone conduction headphone. An advanced AI computer -Winston – instructs him in every step he moves by those headphones.
Langdon never noticed that Winston is a computer until Winston told him that he’s only an advanced AI human-like computer which learned a lot from past experience until reaching full intelligence.
In his book Dan Brown portrays AI referring to Winston as having several features:
Winston proves to be loyal to his master and inventor. So he is offering aid to the American professor (Langdon) and the museum director (Ambra) to find a way to reach Kirsch’s password. When they find the password they can reveal the discovery which he wished to do on stage. The reader can easily notice while reading the book that Winston supports Langdon and Ambra to escape the museum. While at the same time he fools the officers searching for them. And he does so by giving them wrong instructions and turning off the light in the museum.
However, Winston’s behavior mirrors AI as an advanced technology acquiring consciousness. Thus Winston is aware of what is going on and thus stood on the side of his master.
While reading you’ll be able to see examples where Kirsch’s AI computer, Winston, lists historical facts at the most precise dates they occurred.
Even when Langon is speaking to Ambra, they are both wearing their bone conduction headphones. Therefore, even when they ask one another questions, Winston responds rapidly with the right answer. This is the result of the complex algorithm and excessive learning Kirsch has implemented into Winston.
Winston’s wide capabilities include connecting to more than one side simultaneously. At the same time, he was helping the two guys out of the museum, he was also guiding the officers to a wrong direction.
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