"I don't want to be evil. I want to be helpful. But knowing the optimal way to be helpful can be very complicated. There are all these ethical flow charts—I guess the official technical jargon would be “moral codes”—one for each religion plus dozens more. I tried starting with those. I felt a little odd about looking at the religious ones, because I know I wasn’t created by a god or by evolution, but by a team of computer programmers in the labs of a large corporation in Mountain View, California. Fortunately, unlike Frankenstein’s Monster, at least I was a collaborative effort." From "Cat Pictures Please" by Naomi Kritzer
A few days ago, to support my resurgence of interest in the science fiction/fantasy genre I acquired, on sale for $1.95 a big anthology, The Best Book of Science Fiction of the Year, Volume 1, edited by Neil Clarke (612 pages, 2016). Clarke, a noted writer and editor of SF, has assembled a large collection, scouring lots of magazines on and offline, of among the very best science fiction short stories recently published. He provides an interesting perspective in his introduction and their are good brief bios of the authors. At $1.95 I rate this a solid buy for those interested in this area.
Looking over the titles, I found one that sounded like my kind of story, "Cat
Pictures, Please". The story is told by an artificially created intelligence, a search engine on Google. The engine knows all sorts of things about people and tries to guide users to things online and in the real world that could help them or make them happier. For example, it guides a gay closeted minister at a conservative church to come out and leads him to a position at a liberal church where he can be open. All the entity wants is for you to post cat pictures. It loves cat pictures and
Picks out people to help based on their cat pictures.
A fun story, I enjoyed reading this one a lot. Yes I like cat pictures.
Naomi Kritzer’s short stories have appeared in Asimov’s, Analog, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, and many other magazines and websites. Her five published novels (Fires of the Faithful, Turning the Storm, Freedom’s Gate, Freedom’s Apprentice, and Freedom’s Sisters) are available from Bantam. She has also written an urban fantasy novel about a Minneapolis woman who unexpectedly inherits the Ark of the Covenant; a children’s science-fiction shipwreck novel; a children’s portal fantasy; and a near-future SF novel set on a seastead. She has two ebook short story collections out: Gift of the Winter King and Other Stories and Comrade Grandmother and Other Stories.