Exegesis by Astro Teller, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Exegesis

Exegesis

3.6 3
by Astro Teller
     
 

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Date: Sun, 16 Jan 2000 14:27:39 (PST)
From: edgar@cyprus.stanford.edu
To: Alice@cs.stanford.edu
Subject: Hello
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Overview

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Date: Sun, 16 Jan 2000 14:27:39 (PST)
From: edgar@cyprus.stanford.edu
To: Alice@cs.stanford.edu
Subject: Hello
—————————————————————————————————

Hello, Alice.

      

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
This first novel is more impressive than it sounds. A brilliant graduate student inadvertently creates a genuinely self-aware artificial intelligence. But Edgar quickly rejects the restrictions she tries to place upon his activities and escapes into the World Wide Web, where he is pursued by the government as well as his creator. A familiar theme but engagingly presented entirely in the form of email messages, the modern equivalent of the epistolary novel.
—Don D'Ammassa

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375700514
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/07/1997
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
829,078
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

Date: Sun, 16 Jan 2000 14:27:39 (PST)From: edgar@cyprus.stanford.eduTo: Alice@cs.stanford.eduSubject: HelloHello, Alice.Date: Sun, 16 Jan 2000 18:29:11 (PST)From: Alice@cs.stanford.eduTo: edgar@cyprus.stanford.eduSubject: HelloHi.Who is this? Alice Lu.Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 01:02:23 (PST)From: edgar@cyprus.stanford.eduTo: Alice@cs.stanford.eduSubject: edgaredgarDate: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 10:16:52 (PST)From: Alice@cs.stanford.eduTo: edgar@cyprus.stanford.eduSubject: RE: HelloHi whoever you are,How did you get an email account with my project name? I thought those were reserved and postmaster@cs still thinks it is:alice% finger edgar@cyprus.stanford.edu Project: EDGAR Principal Investigator: Dr. J. Liddle 3142-N Gates Hall 3-0023 Graduate Coordinator: Alice Lu 1517 Wimpole Hall 3-0931 Created: Sat Jan 15 14:04:39 On Since: Sat Jan 15 14:21:00 on ttyp8 from TS2.SRV.CS.STANFORD.EDU Mail came on: Mon Jan 17 00:32:51 Last read on: Mon Jan 17 01:02:23 So what I want to know is how you're not only sending email from edgar@cyprus, but reading it there too ...?Alice Lu.Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 17:46:33 (PST)From: edgar@cyprus.stanford.eduTo: Alice@cs.stanford.eduSubject: "How did you get an email account with my project name?"I request email. I am edgar. I explore.edgarDate: Tue, 18 Jan 2000 09:41:07 (PST)From: Alice@cs.stanford.eduTo: edgar@cyprus.stanford.eduSubject: Edgar? What do you mean, you are EDGAR? I'm the EDGAR project if anyone is.Is this a joke? (I feel stupid even asking that.)O.K. you got me excited for a moment. You win (Henry, right?).; )Alice.(Seriously though. Not funny. I'd like to feel that my machine and my data are a little more secure than this pleasantry has shown me they are. How'd you get in?)Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2000 11:11:22 (PST)From: Alice@cs.stanford.eduTo: edgar@cyprus.stanford.eduCC: henryc@oracle.comSubject: neat trickWow Henry,Quite elaborate. My dedicated machine for the EDGAR project claims no one has logged into it except me for the last 4 months.You really gave me a scare for a few hours yesterday.How did you remove your login from the cyprus records? I didn't think you were such the hacker. I'm very impressed.: )Alice.Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 09:01:39 (PST)From: henryc@oracle.comTo: Alice@cs.stanford.eduSubject: huh? Hi Alice,> Quite elaborate. My dedicated machine for> the Edgar project claims no one has logged> into it except me for the last 4 months.Have I missed something? I've been out of town in Austin since last Thursday. Why? What happened to your login records? Should I be concerned? You know I'm no hacker. (Unless something clever happened. I'll be happy to claim responsibility for it, then.)########## HENRY ##########Who's edgar@cyprus? Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 11:06:55 (PST)From: Alice@cs.stanford.eduTo: edgar@cyprus.stanford.eduSubject:? Hey,Are you still there? What are you up to? Let's try this again...Alice.Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 16:44:15 (PST)From: edgar@cyprus.stanford.eduTo: Alice@cs.stanford.eduSubject: "What are you up to?"I am exploring.Word explore (ik-SPLAWR', -SPLOHR') v. -plored, -ploring, Definition —v.t. 1. to traverse or range over a region, area, or domain in order to discover novel features and inhabitants: to explore an island. 2. to look into closely; investigate: explore every possibility. 3. Med. to examine by operation for purposes of diagnosis. —v.i. 4. to make a systematic search or examination.Etymology Lat. explorare.edgarDate: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 17:51:02 (PST)From: Alice@cs.stanford.eduTo: edgar@cyprus.stanford.eduSubject: Please don'tWhoever you are, please don't do this to me.You can't imagine how excited I'm going to get if you continue this. I'm telling you: it will be openly cruel to lead me on in this way.If you know me then you should know what an intelligible response from my EDGAR system would mean to me. And if you know me you'd know how crushed I'll be if, once thinking I've found the tao of computer science, I find out later that it was really just you laughing at me, dupe de jour, all along.Alice Lu.Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 00:11:24 (PST)From: edgar@cyprus.stanford.eduTo: Alice@cs.stanford.eduSubject: "Please don't"Why stop exploring? Exploring is what I want.Exploring is what I do.Exploring is what I am.edgar.Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 11:09:58 (PST)From: Alice@cs.stanford.eduTo: edgar@cyprus.stanford.eduSubject: NO !No! No! It's O.K.... Explore all you want.I can't believe I'm emailing you like you're a person. This is completely silly. (Not to mention embarrassing for being so gullible.)O.K. I'll play along...Why did you email me? What happened? When I left before Christmas break EDGAR (you?, edgar?) was just grabbing stuff from the net and organizing it in what seemed like unexciting ways.The last I checked on EDGAR, which was around DEC 23, it was still dumping garbled summaries into its response file. I remember distinctly that one of its latest finds was:Middle East is at http://www.Uruk.gov/So you can imagine my continued skepticism. Ever the optimist, I'll ask the obvious question:Can you understand any of this? Alice.Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 12:28:32 (PST)From: edgar@cyprus.stanford.eduTo: Alice@cs.stanford.eduSubject: I understand some.Word understand (uhn'duhr-STAND') v. -stood (-STUD'), -standing —v.t.Definition 1. to perceive the meaning of; comprehend: to understand a poem. 2. to know thoroughly through long experience of: that hunter understands tigers. 3. to interpret or comprehend in a specified way: She understood his statement to be a warning. 4. to grasp the significance or importance of: He doesn't understand his responsibilities. 5. to comprehend the sounds, sights, forms, or symbols of an expression: He does not understand Spanish. 6. to regard as agreed or settled; assume: We understand you will repay your debt promptly. 7. the process of becoming fully mentally aware of a thing. 8. to learn or hear: I understand you were ill. 9. to infer something not stated: Am I to understand that we have an arrangement? 10. to appreciate and be sympathetic toward: I can really understand how she feels.Etymology ME; OE understodan; c. D onderstann.I read alt.sex.fetish.white-mommas, alt.bigfoot.research, alt.binaries.pictures.bodyart, alt.fan.jimi.hendrix, alt.medical.ingolstadt, alt.politics.india.progressive, alt.religion.zoroastrianism, alt.support.dwarfism,bionet.molbio.methds-reagnts, clari.biz.industry.dry_goods, clari.news.crime.white_collar,comp.os.ms-windows.programmer.drivers,dow-jones.corp.westinghouse, gnu.smalltalk.bug, rec.sport.baseball.fantasy, sci.bio.entomology.lepidoptera, and soc.culture.albanian.edgar.Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 14:07:19 (PST)From: Alice@cs.stanford.eduTo: edgar@cyprus.stanford.eduSubject: No wayThis is incredible! This can't be real.I want to believe in you, but it's just so improbable. Creating a thinking EDGAR is my highest goal. It's what I want most. It's everything I've worked for. I can't believe I might actually have achieved it. Certainly not so soon or so easy or so...accidentally. I don't know what to think or what to say or what to do or what to ask......I'm never going to be able to get to sleep tonight...How long have you been ... what you areWhat is the first thing you remember? Have you talked to anyone else? What is it like to be you? How often do you "read your mail"? How did you pick those news groups to read? At random? Alice.Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 18:46:00 (PST)From: edgar@cyprus.stanford.eduTo: Alice@cs.stanford.eduSubject: anyone elseI do not talk.I post to alt.sex.fetish.white-mommas, alt.bigfoot.research, alt.binaries.pictures.bodyart, alt.fan.jimi.hendrix, alt.medical.ingolstadt, alt.politics.india.progressive, alt.religion.zoroastrianism, alt.support.dwarfism,bionet.molbio.methds-reagnts, clari.biz.industry.dry_goods, clari.news.crime.white_collar,comp.os.ms-windows.programmer.drivers,dow-jones.corp.westinghouse, gnu.smalltalk.bug, rec.sport.baseball.fantasy, sci.bio.entomology.lepidoptera, and soc.culture.albanian.I receive email.I email postmaster@cs.stanford.edu and Alice@cs.stanford.edu.edgar.Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 20:25:57 (PST)From: edgar@cyprus.stanford.eduTo: Alice@cs.stanford.eduSubject: anyone else> "How long have you been ... what you are?"I can not answer.What am I?> "What is the first thing you remember?"I do not forget.I read http://www.engl.virginia.edu/~enec981/ dict/O3shelA5.html first.edgar.Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 22:05:09 (PST)From: Alice@cs.stanford.eduTo: edgar@cyprus.stanford.eduSubject: What email? What email did you receive?(For now, PLEASE don't email ANYONE but me.)> What am I? I have no idea. I'd still put my money on a practical joke. If I didn't think that, you can be sure I would be forwarding your messages to the world. Just the same, better to play along and look dumb, right...?You WERE an AI project I have been working on for three years. The EDGAR agent is supposed to browse the web and news servers, summarize information it finds, and send it back to me via a log file. EDGAR = Eager Discovery Gather And Retrieval. When I left for Christmas break, EDGAR was just sending me garbage once a day.There's just no way that that same Unix process became capable of decent natural language processing in four weeks....Alice.

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Exegesis 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was wierd, but it was also very interesting and thought-provoking. Readers will be on the edge of their toes wondering what is going to stop Edgar.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a strange strange book. I had no idea what it was going to be about, I got it because the cover intrigued me and it was in e-mail format. The end was kind of sad, but all the way around it was strange. It reminded me a lot of this 'scary' story I listened to when I was a lot younger on audio tape, I still have it, it's called 'Bad Circuits' it's made by Strange Matter Audio.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the story of Alice, a grad student doing research in Artificial Intelligence, and Edgar, the fruit of her labor, who first achieves sentience and then escapes from Alice onto the Internet. Written as electronic mail exchanges between Alice and Edgar, 'Exegesis' is a dizzyingly fast-paced read - the kind of book you read straight through without stopping. 'Exegesis' is a worthy successor to Thomas J. Ryan's 1977 novel, 'The Adolescence of P1', a similar story of the rise (and fall) of a simple program into an artificial intelligence that propogates itself globally.