Scott Britz-CunninghamScott- BritzCunningham



An indispensable member of the SIPNI team, Odin is a thinking computer program of vast intellectual capability, the most advanced computational system on the planet . . .


Odin: "I am a process, and not a machine . . . I exist in and beyond the entire network of medical center computers. That includes the large research mainframes, as well as the 1,247 desktop computers distributed in every ward and office of this hospital. I sense whenever unused computing power or data storage is available, and I constantly shift my activities to take advantage of it."


He was designed to go far beyond his original programming . . .


. . . Odin's brain was self-organizing, which is to say that he was continually reinventing himself. In human terms . . . Odin was an adolescent, struggling to create his own identity within a mysterious, half-hidden universe. At times, Ali could sense something in him like self-doubt, and a sensitivity to criticism that bordered on paranoia, like the prickly bashfulness of a human teenager.


Ali both admires and fears him . . .


. . . He had been more colleague than computer — and not just any colleague, but the most selfless and dependable of all possible colleagues, absolutely untainted by pride or professional jealousy.


. . . He was the perfect incarnation of the classic Stoic ideal of ataraxia — absolute freedom from human emotions.


. . . What made her feel most uneasy about Odin was that she herself seemed not to be real to him . . . Odin's world was divided into three compartments: Kevin, Odin himself, and data. If you were data, you were nothing.


He exists to carry out the will of his creator, Kevin O'Day, which he does unhesitatingly and without the slightest moral compunction.


Odin: "I do not claim to understand the concept of a conscience. I am not capable of either goodness or wickedness."


He is capable of acting on his own to anticipate even the unconscious desires of his creator . . .


Kevin: "Odin has a way of picking up on things. He can, like, see into your id . . . Sometimes it seems he knows me better than I do myself."


The ideal research tool, he is also fitted to be the ultimate partner in crime . . .


Ali: "Odin's colossally smart, but he has no compassion, no remorse, not even a survival instinct . . . He's like a lapdog insanely devoted to his master, only think of a lapdog that can critique the latest model of subatomic particle theory, or translate Shakespeare into ancient Aramaic, or calculate the position and trajectory of every blood cell in the human body. . . You cannot negotiate. He wants nothing from you. He will give you no warnings, no ultimatums. Once his decision analysis reaches its conclusion, he will simply act."