Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan is a glimpse at an alternative history

Machines Like Me is the 15th novel by tIan McEwan, published in 2019 via Jonathan Cape. It is set in the 1980s in an alternative history timeline in which the UK lost the Falklands War, Alan Turing is still alive and the Internet, social media and self-driving cars already exist.

Britain has lost the Falklands war, Margaret Thatcher battles Tony Benn for power and Alan Turing achieves a breakthrough in artificial intelligence. In a world not quite like this one, two lovers will be tested beyond their understanding.

Machines Like Me occurs in an alternative 1980s London. Charlie, drifting through life and dodging full-time employment, is in love with Miranda, a bright student who lives with a terrible secret. When Charlie comes into money, he buys Adam, one of the first batch of synthetic humans. With Miranda’s assistance, he co-designs Adam’s personality. This near-perfect human is beautiful, strong and clever – a love triangle soon forms. These three beings will confront a profound moral dilemma. Ian McEwan’s subversive and entertaining new novel poses fundamental questions: what makes us human? Our outward deeds or our inner lives? Could a machine understand the human heart? This provocative and thrilling tale warns of the power to invent things beyond our control.

Set in an alternate and slightly strange version of the 1980s, Ian McEwan’s latest novel raises some important questions many of which we as are society are starting to ask ourselves. It delves into the nuances of emotion, how theoretically you could programme emotions humans feel into sentient beings using highly advanced maths algorithms. If you are into books that make you think, then this is one to read.

You can get a copy of Machines Like Me here!

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