Robot Uprisings (2014) ed. Daniel Wilson and John Joseph Adams
I'm just going to say up front that I love everything about this anthology: the eclecticism of the stories, the cover image, the mix of well-known and lesser-known authors, the fact that it's about ROBOTS...
Maybe it's because I loved Data's character on Star Trek: TNG, or maybe it's because I love the tantalizingly-terrifying feeling that creeps up my spine whenever I think about robots shaking off their shackles and getting their vengeance on. WHATEVER I just love robot stories. And Wilson and Adams have given us an anthology of robot stories that will stay with us, informing and changing how we think about the AI of the future and the robots we currently live with.
As I said, I loved these stories, but a few stood out for me because of their unique or fascinating take on robot sentience. Charles Yu's "Cycles," for instance, is one of the few pieces told from the robot's perspective. Everyday, it watches over and wakes up its human charge, and thinks about the mundane things that human does. And this robot is kind of sad that it ultimately must kill this human.
"Epoch" is another story that grabbed me from the start, since Cory Doctorow's deft combination of humor and technical terminology quickly draws us into a world where a "rogue AI" (BIGMAC) tries to stop his human sysadmin from following his boss's orders and shutting it down. BIGMAC sends emails to the entire world asking for support, makes 2001: A Space Odyssey jokes, and manages to stay one step ahead of oblivion...at least, for a while.
One of the most brain-twisting tales of the collection is "Sleepover," by Alastair Reynolds, in which machines have managed to ascend to a higher plane of existence (I'm still not exactly clear on how or what or...) and convinced the humans on Earth to put themselves into hibernation or risk extinction. Apparently there are other ascended artificial intelligences on this higher plane who want to destroy the Earth AI, which would destroy the Earth....er.....read it anyway, it's pretty great.
So robots, AI, nerdy scifi jokes: if you said yes to those, you'll want to grab this book.