“She cannot run. She cannot walk. She cannot even blink. As her batteries run down for the final time, all she can do is speak. Will you listen?
From a pilgrim girl’s diary, to a traumatised child talking to a software program; from Alan Turing’s conviction in the 1950s, to a genius imprisoned in 2040 for creating illegally lifelike dolls: all these lives have shaped and changed a single artificial intelligence – MARY3. In Speak she tells you their story, and her own. It is the last story she will ever tell, spoken both in celebration and in warning.
When machines learn to speak, who decides what it means to be human?”
Speak by Louise Hall is one of the more uniquely stylised books that I have read in a while and in general, with how it’s all put together with the five different stories, putting together the life, the story and creating the voice that is Mary3. It could possibly be because I rarely read, let alone enjoy Sci-Fi and that’s what this book is, but Speak had me so engrossed, with every story and left me a little bit saddened. Not saddened because I didn’t enjoy this book, but emotional saddened by the concept of what I was reading.
The way this was put together was different to how I was thinking it was going to be, especially with the inclusion of the “Books” within the book. I assumed that each voice, (memory) was going to be separate and included separately within the books (as there’s five books and five memories within this book). However, these memories are all mixed together, learning about them step by step. This made so much sense as Mary3 is slowly shutting down, then so are her memories and her control over them.
This book and the ideas behind it has got me thinking and discussing it with my scientifically brained partner: What makes us human? What are the main qualities that indicate and show whether you are human or not; how you think, how you feel and their emotions? If this is so, then what separates those people who do not possess one of these qualities and an AI that does? Who has the right to decide?