This week I returned to Tor.com and read “More Real Than Him” by Silvia Park. I’m loving how there are so many works that have been released lately with a Korean pop culture thread. (Hart & Seoul is waiting for me in my ARC pile as I type this!) You can read the short story for free here…
I really enjoyed this short story; it was a fun, quick read. The premise is that a young woman works as a programmer at a robotics company and drunkenly steals a robot from her company one night. She’s a mega-fan of a Korean actor; saddened by the news that he has enlisted in the mandatory two-year military service, she decides to craft the robot in his likeness, modeling its personality after the actor’s famous roles.
This is a great story for any fans of Black Mirror or Ex Machina. It delves into the endless philosophical questions revolving around AI and robot-human relationships. At what point is AI living? How do humans stay “socialized” in a world where robots are an easy band aid for companionship? What’s the fallout when robots are indistinguishable from humans? And so on and so forth.
The story flowed well, with some really lyrical language, and the underlying themes of the piece are fascinating. I’d recommend it for anyone who has an interest in Asian culture and sci-fi.