#Novel: A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install | A childish #robot helps a man grow up. #scifi

A Robot in the GardenA Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A childish robot helps a man grow up. About 98,000 words or an 8 hour read.

If you want a realistic robot book, look elsewhere.
This is more the story about the joy of having a toddler.
Could substitute the robot for some mentally handicapped human and it would be about the same.
The author admitted that she designed the relationships before she looked into robotics.

So the robots and androids are all very simplistic. Most of them are single function humanoids with minimal language skills. It also has the common myth that contemporary AI can’t learn, and that it would be some kind of innovation to have ones that can. Though perhaps she meant general intelligence, it certainly wasn’t specified.

There is of course the mystery of the power-source, the author in her notes says maybe it is a hidden (super-high efficiency) solar panel, or a battery that takes more than three months to discharge (a 500kWh+ battery if the robot uses as much as an average desktop computer, currently 500watt/kg is would be at the upper end of what a LiOn battery can deliver, so the robots battery would weigh a metric ton). Well those seem rather preposterous options to me. The closest would be a betavoltaic nuclear battery, but those are rather low-current (measured in microwatts), likely would also weight an enormous amount to get enough current. So all-in-all I expect that any kind of robot either would have to recharge frequently with electricity, or run on some kind of fuel — fuel density of ethanol (which burns odorless) for instance is 7-8kw, so an average computer could go about a day and a half on 1kg.

I give it a whole three stars because it was a mildly entertaining light read, and there were a few positive emotional moments (for me the reader) in the resolving of relationship issues. Which was nice, I almost gave it a four stars because of it, but after the high of those emotions wore off, I remembered what the majority of the book was like.

If you want a light read and like small kids, and-or father-son relationships you may enjoy it.

I only got it on sale for $6 on Amazon.  You can get it for under $10 via bookfinder.

View all my reviews


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