Love That Robot

Ten years ago, I was deep into a study of consciousness in animals. (To see my conclusions, read the chapter called “Consciousness Explained” in my book The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.) I was especially curious to know what scientists thought. One thing I found was a near constant frustration with what they saw as “anthropomorphism” in lay people.

One day, during my period of greatest preoccupation with the issue, I was listening to the radio and heard a scientist announce the “death” of the two Mars probes Pathfinder and Sojourner. I think it was someone from JPL. It had been a highly successful mission, and the scientist ended the announcement by saying in a voice that was drenched with exaggerated solemnity, “So, from all of us here at NASA to Pathfinder and Sojourner: Thank you…”

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2 Responses to “Love That Robot”

  1. Oatmeal Cookie Guy Says:

    Hi Mark,

    I was having trouble sleeping and just rented “The Wild Birds of Telegraph Hill” on iTunes. It was such a warm and touching story. Do you have a pub date for your next book?

  2. markbittner Says:

    It’s too soon to go after a contract. By my reckoning, I have three more years of writing. I have an agent, and she tells me that after a contract is signed, publishers generally give you 18 months to deliver the manuscript. (The parrot book did very well, so I’m optimistic that I will find a publisher.) I’m writing six days a week, but I’m going after quality. It’s going to take awhile. I’ll continue to leave progress reports here from time to time.

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