WWW: Watch is the second novel of a trilogy about an artificial intelligence, or consciousness that emerges from the World Wide Web.
In the previous novel , WWW: Wake, Catlin Decter, a brilliant 15 year old blind girl is given sight through experimental technology in the form of an implant that interprets visual signals correctly and allows her to see (in her left eye at least). Through this device she discovers a presence in the Web that starts to gain greater and greater cognitive abilities, which grows as the second novel progresses. She dubs it Webmind.
In Watch, we watch as Webmind not only develops cognitive abilities exponentially, but through the help of Catlin begins to develop its sense of ethics and, without being too maudlin, an understanding of “the meaning of life.” This novel is primarily about this development, along with government agencies trying to figure out how to shut Webmind down, fearing it will become so powerful it will destroy mankind.
While I have greatly enjoyed these novels so far, and the second one is even better than the first, which is unusual for a middle novel of a trilogy, sometimes I find the interactions between the characters to be a bit unbelievable. They seem scripted more for a Grade B movie than the way people really interact with each other. And when the characters are mouthpieces for the author to pontificate a point of view on consciousness, ethics and other scientific theories, the interactions just don’t ring true, even though the characters are supposed to be geniuses at math and physics.
And I wonder a bit about the lost thread about the Chinese hacker that appears in Wake. I wonder if Sawyer had abandoned that tread, or if it will somehow reappear in the next novel.
This is a good and interesting trilogy so far and very much worth reading.
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