Information technologist Keith Robertson keeps reminding himself that Lib is not a real person; she’s a virtual librarian—software, nothing more. But her software is evolutionary, designed to keep improving itself as it learns. So she is outgrowing her creators and developing a mind of her own. Keith’s whole future, including his job and his marriage, depends on Lib. And Lib is out of control.
Their story pulls the reader into amazing, little-known worlds with intriguing ideas and people, including research engineers, information technologists, mind analysts, and professional psychics, all drawn from the author’s personal experience.
Keith learns about laboratories that scientifically test people who claim they can influence computers from afar, by mental effort alone. He wonders if psychic saboteurs might account for Lib’s erratic behavior. He assembles five widely different professional psychics to test that theory. But the problem isn’t that simple.
We meet an expert on complexity, who explains what happens when you try to control a complex, evolutionary system from outside. But he offers no fix for the problem.
The outcome is unexpected but satisfying, leaving the reader to ponder some of the problems and possibilities humanity faces as machines develop minds of their own.