Mindclone asks the question, What if you had your brain scanned and all your memories and your entire persona were uploaded to a digital version of yourself? How would you and your Mindclone get along? How would your Mindclone feel about the fact that he has all your memories and desires - including a desire for the girl you just met - but no physical body to act on them? For him, that's a serious bummer. Mindclone shows what might happen when you upload minds to computers: it's a novel of ideas about what it means to be human whether or not you have a body. It explores the science behind the uploading concept, the implications of mindcloning and the digital Singularity that's been famously predicted by futurist Ray Kurzweil. Plus there's a carbon-carbon-silicon love triangle, a redeemed ad-man, adventure, humor, frustrated romance, human and digital foibles, and as an extra added bonus, the defeat of death itself.
Marc awakens to realize that he cannot feel anything, or move, or even speak. He begins to freak out. He feels different and he’s not sure why. Later on we find out that this is not Marc, but a “mindclone” of Marc’s entire memory up until the brain scan. The story follows Marc and Adam as they figure out what being “human” actually entails.
The narration, done by Clifton Satterfield was the first I’ve ever listened to any audiobooks narrated by him. His narration style is really nice. Slow enough for a first time read, and clear enough if you choose to speed it up you can with no issues. Satterfield is clear and concise and I would have no qualms listening to another audiobook narrated by him.
The story felt done before, but really only because I’ve read some really excellent AI fiction before. If I hadn’t I probably would have loved this. Don’t get me wrong, I still liked it a lot. The main character Marc can be annoying at times, and so can his AI counterpart Adam. I think this was done on purpose, just to never let the reader get settled with what was going on. Also, I didn’t like the lack of explanation of just why they let “Adam” do as many things as they did. Maybe they didn’t know it would achieve what it could in the first minutes of “life,” but man maybe start with an Oracle AI. Definitely do not let it use the Internet unwatched.
But, without giving much away, I think that is exactly what the author was going for in this book. What would happen if a newly created AI were to just be released without any watch, oversight, or anything like that? Crazy stuff for sure, this book does not let up from start to finish.
My only other issue was sometimes I had a hard time figuring out if Marc or Adam was talking, I know this is hard to do, and I think this may have just been an issue with the audiobook – the characters are switching during conversation so quickly that I wasn’t exactly sure if I was listening to one or the other.
Overall, a wonderful story from David T. Wolfe about AI and what could happen in a world where a clone of someone’s mind were to run free.
Audiobook provided for review by the author.
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11 of 19 people found this review helpful
Possibly writen, if a little slow. The story he weaves about the emergence and ultimate power of AI, along with the general acceptance of the cast, were completely unbelievable. Not because it was over the top - but because it was mundain. Unrestrained AI would be far more powerful than this story tells.
The language draws in the reader and seduces you in more. The story explores an interesting topic of technology that might not be too far out on the horizon. An enjoyable read with good narration.
Great book on the Singularity without getting so over the top that it becomes hard to follow or unbelievable. Really enjoyed!
What about Clifton Satterfield’s performance did you like?
Narrator carried the story really well. Good pace, great quality audio. Liked his accents and voices except for the female ones...
Any additional comments?
Loved the book. It didn't take me long to "read". I often read multiple books at a time, but this one kept me interested and every time I opened the Audible app I would click on Mindclone. There were a few things I wouldn't buy, like the fact that they gave Adam unlimited internet access almost without question... I did think that the entity naming himself Adam was a nice nod to the Bible. The writing style was great. The science seemed well researched and just complex enough to make it believable, but not too over the top to bore the reader. Would be cool to see something like this as a film.
Good fodder. Not overly intellectual. Current to 2015. Not a complete consideration, but given that challenge, it's good to build on. Enjoyable at higher playback speeds.