The Lifecycle of Software Objects

Ted Chiang
The Lifecycle of Software Objects Cover

The Lifecycle of Software Objects


This is Ted Chiang's most recent book, and at 150 pages his longest. I think I've read everything else he's published, which is a small body of work. Chiang's stories are special; They're different, original.

This story is about the development of artificial intelligence, digital beings raised like children. It's about love of people for artificial people, about the personhood status of artificial sentient entities, and about their exploitation. The story is about the emotional involvement the people have in the AI entities they own and the quandaries they face in a changing technological world. Chiang raises these issues in The Lifecycle of Software Objects, but he doesn't resolve them.

The character development isn't deep for the main human characters nor the artificial characters, and the emotional relationships among them are not fully expressed. That remains for a different work, a longer work, perhaps by a different author.