12 Bytes: How We Got Here. Where We Might Go Next

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While the subject of artificial intelligence and how it emerged may not seem arresting to all, Jeanette Winterson’s 12 Bytes makes the book and its topic accessible for even the most anti-technology reader.

Winterson begins by outlining her own introduction to AI and uses examples of women throughout history that have laid the groundwork for these ideas. Mary Shelley, daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft, and later Ada Lovelace are just two of the starting points. Winterson’s ability to tie something in the present to these women and their contributions from the past make AI a much more reasonable entity to consider.

In a latter essay, My Bear Can Talk, she traces the progression of mechanized toys and its application and connection to the home assistants (robots) today. She draws a connection to religion, to Greek myth, to pop culture—even to Winnie the Pooh!—which only serves to illustrate her masterful gift for making the unimaginable (AI) concrete.

While this is not a book I expected to like, I found I not only enjoyed it but learned something from it. 12 Bytes, then, is a perfect text for those who are passionate about AI and those who simply want to know more.


Reviewed By:

Author Jeanette Winterson
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count
Publisher Grove Press
Publish Date 12-Oct-2021
ISBN 9780802159250
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue February 2022
Category Poetry & Short Stories
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