Louisa Hall's novel Speak considers the Alan Turing test: how do we know if what we are communicating with via machine is human? The speakers of Speak include Turing and range from an 18th Century Puritan child on a sea voyage to America, up to the near future when “babybots," robot companions for children, are outlawed because children have fallen in love with them and are developing anti-social behaviors. In Hall's future, artificial intelligence has been programmed with stories of passion, love and loss. Will computers become better than humans at communicating depth? We discuss the human need to communicate through the emotional truth of the stories we tell.
Photo: Alex Pieros