The Pinocchio Chip

Fiction - Short Story/Novela
120 Pages
Reviewed on 04/18/2024
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Tanja Jurkovic for Readers' Favorite

The Pinocchio Chip by Rick Moskovitz is an exciting short story that will turn your perception of the world, people, and emotions upside down from the beginning. The main character is an AI, who has been designed to learn all the aspects of human nature, under the expert guidance of Corinne. She is the designated human and scientist who served as its teacher and guardian, and who made it a member of her family. However, after a tragic event, the AI, named Photina by her creator Eli, who also created Photina’s more advanced and human-like counterpart Gemini, starts to experience strange visions and scary hallucinations, which make her lose significant chunks of time in the process. Not knowing whether it's a glitch in her system, an identity crisis, or an attack on her, Photina decides to leave to protect everyone around her. When it comes to choosing between her sense of survival and protecting her human family, Photina chooses the latter and sets out on a journey never thought possible.

The Pinocchio Chip is intriguing, exciting, and full of action and emotions. Rick Moskovitz describes the AI characters with such care and detail that it is hard not to think of these machines as human, even though they are not capable of experiencing and showing human emotion...yet. Moskovitz further plays with the notion of what could happen if AI becomes indistinguishable from humans. Since we are living in a world where the use of AI has taken off in recent years, he makes it even more plausible, triggering the reader's imagination with his excellent and engaging storytelling. The Pinocchio Chip is a well-crafted work of contemporary fiction, full of emotional turmoil, excitement, and intrigue, that will remind the reader of how important it is to be human in today's fast-changing world.

Doreen Chombu

The Pinocchio Chip is a thrilling science fiction novella by Rick Moskovitz. It tells the story of Photina, an advanced Artificial Intelligence robot who is confronted with the concept of life and death for the first time. Photina is designed to be logical and emotionless and never to harm humans. However, at a funeral for one of her companions, she almost hurts Natasha, a girl she was supposed to protect. This event alerts her to unfamiliar coding in her programming. She begins to experience emotions similar to those of humans and starts seeing vivid memories. When a well-known anti-AI campaigner is found dead near Photina's home, she becomes the prime suspect, but she is unsure if she is responsible for the murder. Photina runs away, hoping to fix her programming and discover what is happening around her.

The Pinocchio Chip is part of the Brink of Life Series, and it is an intriguing exploration of Artificial Intelligence and existential themes. The ethical and moral questions surrounding Photina's development and her potential capacity for emotion add layers of complexity to the story. As she grapples with her new emotions and tries to understand her actions, readers are taken on a journey of self-discovery and mystery surrounding the murder and unusual events that follow it. The blend of science fiction, suspense, and philosophical reflection makes for an engaging read for those interested in AI narratives. Rick Moskovitz does an excellent job of keeping the reader engaged from start to finish with a plot full of twists. Overall, this is great work, and I look forward to reading more from this author and series.

Pikasho Deka

The sequel to Rick Moskovitz's Brink of Life Trilogy, The Pinocchio Chip is a thought-provoking dystopian novella for sci-fi readers. Set in the near future, where AI technology has infiltrated every aspect of human society, the story follows Photina, an AI robot (SPUD), who, while attending the funeral of her family member, Corrine, feels the urge to attack Natasha, who is Corrine and Marcus' daughter. When one of the anti-SPUD lawmakers is murdered, all eyes point toward Photina, and soon she finds herself on the run. Upon discovering that her consciousness is entangled with her clone, Gemini, who is on the warpath, Photina is determined to stop Gemini, even though she is more powerful. But everything has a price, as Gemini's upgraded abilities come at the cost of her feeling human emotions to the extreme.

With the rise of AI technology in the real world, the boundary between science and science fiction gets thinner and thinner with each passing day. Rick Moskovitz touches on the increasingly relevant issue of AI ethics with this gripping sci-fi thriller that asks the question, "What if highly sophisticated AI developed the ability to experience human emotions?" The Pinocchio Chip is a must-read for dystopian sci-fi fans. With a fast-paced narrative and an unpredictable plot, Moskovitz tells a captivating tale using the first-person POV of an AI robot. The author gives readers a glimpse into the psyche of an advanced AI and shows how it might think and act if it had agency of its own. Despite being a sequel to a series, this book also functions seamlessly as a standalone. I thoroughly enjoyed it and heartily recommend it.

Gabriella Harrison

The Pinocchio Chip by Rick Moskovitz explores the plausibility of integrating AIs into society to function and feel as humans do. Photina is an advanced AI created by Eli with parts like a robot but more human-like. She lives with a family and has just lost her teacher, who has been helping her become familiar with the ways of humans. She starts experiencing violent tendencies and other unexplained oddities. Events become stranger when attacks on prominent figures are broadcast with her as the suspect, even though she doesn’t remember doing these things. Confused and alarmed, she leaves the only family she has ever known to protect them and solve this mystery. However, with the worsening attacks and time running out, will she find the answer before she is wrongfully apprehended?

The Pinocchio Chip by Rick Moskovitz is a short but intriguing and thought-provoking story. It is narrated in the first person by Photina as she tries to get to the bottom of the sudden attacks that could end her existence, amid calls for the termination of her kind by anti-AI groups. The tone of the writing supports her being non-human through odd but humorous phrasing. Over the years, there have been talks about the feasibility of robots becoming like humans and integrating them into society. This story considers the topic through the eyes of AIs, exploring their thoughts and feelings as they try to balance the processing of human feelings with logic. This is a good read for science fiction fans, especially those interested in artificial intelligence.

Jennie More

The Pinocchio Chip by Rick Moskovitz is about technological advances and the potentially deadly risk to human life. Photina is an AI who lives with an influential family. When her owner, Corinne, dies, Photina experiences a range of human emotions like grief and empathy. She loses control at Corinne’s funeral when she nearly pushes Corinne’s teenage daughter, Natasha, into the grave. Realizing that there is a malfunction and that there has been tampering with her code, Photina leaves her family behind in search of the source of the issue. It is the only way to keep her family safe and ensure she resolves the issue conclusively. On her journey, she meets another AI, Drew, who helps her find her creator, Eli. She soon discovers that the problem is much graver than she anticipated.

The Pinocchio Chip by Rick Moskovitz is a fascinating and insightful novella that deals with a contemporary issue of great significance and interest. As researchers attempt to advance technology and make it as humanlike as possible, Moskovitz explores the dangers of technology adopting too many human faculties. This book allows for deep thinking and introspection as you contemplate Photina’s conflicting emotions between being an AI and her human qualities and experiences. I enjoyed reading this book. There is a lot to consider regarding AI and its implications. The book is well-written, well-structured, easy to read, and entertaining. Though fiction, it explores pertinent concerns regarding technological advances. It poses critical questions, particularly about reevaluating the goal of technology, which should be to enhance the human experience, not replace it.