Saturday, April 5, 2008

Mini review: "What's Expected of Us" by Ted Chiang

"What's Expected of Us" is a very short story that I read quickly but made me think hard. Essentially the philosophical theme isn't new, the existence of free will, but Ted Chiang does a great job regarding this theme in this short story. Basically it is about a new toy, the Predictor, that has a button and a green light. The people that play with it have to push the button, but everything they do the green light will always light up one second ahead of their pushing. The outcome is interesting and Ted Chiang finishes this short story in a disturbing manner. "What's Expected of Us" leaves me with questions and Ted Chiang leaves me wanted to read more of his works.


Harry Markov said...

Oh, he looks quite a nice guy, Asian people smile so innocently! I'm interested in reading his works! Yup!

Nice mini-review.

Mihai A. said...

Thank you very much Harry. An interesting author, but only a few works so far.

rositaduran said...

Hi Harry
I agree, this story makes you wonder... it's great. It reminds me of an article I read two years ago about determinism. A novel priced physicist calculated that it is mathematically possible to have a completely deterministic world underlying the randomness there is in the quantum world. A philosopher that studied his work refuted the physicist arguing that if everything is deterministic nobody would have free will... Well, maybe the philosopher is wrong, maybe we just don't have free will. Will we ever know?