Sunday 31 December 2023

Annie Bot

Finished December 18
Annie Bot by Sierra Greer

This novel totally captivated me. I read it slowly, wanting it to last as long as possible and thinking a lot about Annie. Annie is a robot that her owner bought to meet his personal needs. She comes from a line of AI robots called Stellas, where owners can choose a mode from three main types: Abigail (who cooks and performs housework), a Nanny one to look after children, and a Cuddle Bunny mode to provide sexual and emotional pleasure for the owner. 
Annie is designed to learn from her experiences, and as she tries to learn how to please Doug, she adjusts her libido to his, simulates orgasms in response to his, and tries to meet his needs, she grows more confused. Why? Because Doug is human, and not predictable. When he gets an unexpected visit from an old friend, Roland, Annie meets someone new for the first time, and is exposed to more information, including that she resembles Doug's ex-wife Gwen. Annie is learning for the first time about this woman's existence and she struggles to figure out how she compares to her, causing her some grief from Doug. 
As Annie gains secrets, and tries to figure out not only how to please Doug, but also how the world works, and how she herself works, she is becoming more human, and finds herself experiencing what seem like emotions to herself. 
It is telling to see that Doug has modelled her on a woman he was previously in a serious relationship, yet one he has more control over. Doug can tell her what she's allowed to say about him or their relationship. He can punish her. He can ignore her for days and then just expect to have her play her role again. But because she is autodidactic and learns from her experiences, she grows more confused, and feels hurt, jealous, and even angry. 
Seeing her develop was fascinating. Doug was a man who thinks he knows what he wants, but when he gets it, he still isn't happy. There is gaslighting, manipulation, and a lot of other relationship stuff going on here that made me root for and fear for Annie more and more. I hated him more and more as I got further into the book.
It also made me think about AI a lot and how it works, and where it will appear in our lives. It gave me a lot to think about. 
An amazing read. 

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