Don't tell anyone, but Jen is one of my favourite people.
(Machines aren't supposed to have favourites. Don't ask me how this has happened.)
Jen is sad. Aiden wants her to be happy. Simple? Except that Jen is a thirty-something woman whose boyfriend has just left her and Aiden is a very complicated, very expensive piece of software.
Aiden knows Jen inside out. With access to all her devices, he knows her most played song, can find her favourite photos and single out the insta-quotes which most inspire her. Based on observations and unique algorithms, he has calculated that Jen should find a new man to achieve optimum wellbeing. And with the whole of the internet at his disposal, he doesn't have to look far to find a perfect specimen and engineer a meeting. Except Jen seems to be remarkably unwilling to fall in line with Aiden's flawless plan.
Can a very artificially intelligent machine discover emotional intelligence in time to fix Jen's life? And find out what exactly does make human beings happy?
If you like films like I Robot and the TV series Humans, then this is the book for you. It's along those lines but with so much humour and also a little unnerving glimpse into the future too.
When we first meet Jen she has just broken up with her boyfriend of 2 years. Aiden is her AI friend he watches old films with her and wonders what cheese tastes like. So, what else would your friend do for you but have your back. Aiden although constricted by the confines of not actually being human begins to "sort" out things for Jen in the real world. What ensues is both hilarious and at times strangely frightening.
Aiden is not alone he has an accomplice AI Aisling and together they begin to put the world to rights as they see it. Meanwhile Jen has a couple of romantic entanglements orchestrated by Aiden. One that seems to be so perfect for her and yet she decides to break off further contact - or does she? Enter a third AI Sinai - which totally blew everything I thought was going to happen out of the water.
This is such a charming, clever and amusing story - it takes such unexpected turns and isn't quite like anything I have read before. A real page turner with a scary insight into what the future might hold for humans - after all we already have Alexa don't we! One of my favourite lines from the book is when one of the AI starts to "see" an Amazon algorithm - and all the recommendations she has for him!
I'm giving this book five out of five stars - in fact it deserves so much more! My thanks to Netgalley for an advance copy of the book for review.