A theme which will be familiar to readers of Bacigalupi’s “The Windup Girl”: where is the line over which artificial intelligence becomes ‘human.’ Can a robot be fairly considered a ‘person,’ deserving of rights and consideration?
Here, a young woman turns up at a police station toting a severed head. She confesses to murder, and demands legal counsel. However, it’s soon revealed that the woman is actually a “Mika Model” – the latest and most advanced in sexbot technology, an artificial intelligence specifically designed to respond to and manipulate human emotional responses.
The policeman she’s confessed to quickly develops empathy for her plight, and her reasons for the killing. But is he responding to a self-aware individual who has been treated as no conscious being should? Or is he simply being gulled by some well-designed programming?
Nicely designed story: easy to read, while presenting some truly thorny questions.