Book Review: Exhalation

Published on March 6, 2020

Exhalation is a fiction made up of a few unrelated short stories.

It is written by one of the best science fiction author – Ted Chiang.

Reading the book makes me wonder about tech in the future: always on camera, digi-pets with intelligence, multi-verse collaboration, etc

Highlighted in my reading

He subscribes to Blue Gamma’s philosophy of AI design: Experience is the best teacher so rather than try to program an AI with what you want it to know, sell ones capable of learning and have your customers teach them.

She mentioned that some parents don’t want to push their kids too much because they’re afraid of exposing them to the possibility of failure. The parents mean well but they’re keeping the kids from reaching their full potential when they coddle them.

And words were not just the pieces of speaking; they were the pieces of thinking. When you wrote them down, you could grasp your thoughts like bricks in your hands and push them into different arrangements. Writing let you look at your thoughts in the way you couldn’t if you were just talking, and having seen them, you could improve them, make them stronger and more elaborate.

Spoken words and writing are very different form, and each has their merits.

Psychology is make a distinction between semantic memory knowledge of general facts and episodic memory, or recollection of personal experiences.

What is love and how do we get ours? Why does the world contain evil and pain and loss? How can we discover dignity and tolerance? Who is in power and why? What’s the best way to resolve conflict? If you want to give AI any major responsibilities, then it will need good answers to these questions. That’s not going to happen by loading the words of Kant into our computers memory; it’s going to require the equivalent of good parenting.


I have been exploring much technology myself, and in this post, for the first time in this blog, I am adding the above highlights which I read out. 😱

I was reading out any way, because if not I will have to type them out.

Hence I choose to read and have my app transcribe it to text 😎