was given three commands: Keep Amy alive, safe, and happy.
The first two were easy enough, but the third meant understanding
humans far better than they did themselves.
of their crew is killed by an explosion on the ship, Mason
fights to stay alive long enough to program an artificial
intelligence to save his daughter. They are four and a half
light years from Earth and rescue is not a possibility. As
he begins to hallucinate from carbon dioxide toxicity, he
overwrites the directives of the AI until he has installed
a primary command structure. The AI he has called Neumann
must ensure that Amy is alive, safe, and happy.
slips into unconsciousness, Mason little realizes the machine's
capabilities and how firmly he has installed his orders. Going
far beyond a human guardian, the AI rigidly carries the directives
to their logical conclusion. As far as Neumann is concerned,
Amy must stay alive despite the ship deteriorating around
them, and be kept safe from the debris field of the explosion
and cosmic rays. When those goals are fulfilled, the machine
wrestles with the nebulous notion of human happiness.
as a machine might be expected to, Neumann solves problems
humans have suffered from for centuries, and creates others
that even a child could have avoided. With the girl's life
in his resourceful hands, Neumann is prepared to do anything
to ensure her survival. While Amy hibernates, Neumann rallies
the immense resources of a solar system so that she will have
everything she wants or needs when she wakes.