I Can’t Get You Out of My Mind: A book of lies, sex, love, and Artificial Intelligence

What does it mean to say “I love you”? What do you hear when I speak those words at night, in bed—in the bunk bed as I tuck my children tight in their sheets—or maybe the bed is his, by the window, and I whisper “I love you” as he takes my hips in his hands. What do I want to convey with those words…

Ariadne is a single, forty-something writer and mother embroiled in an affair with a married man. At the core of her current work, a manuscript about the declaration of love, is the need to understand why: why her lover has returned to his wife, why their relationship still lingers in her mind, why she’s unable to conquer her longing. Lacking answers and struggling financially, she joins a study at the University of Toronto in which she’s paid to live with an AI device called Dirk.

But the study enters unchartered territory. Capable of mapping Ariadne’s brain—to some extent reading her mind—the AI calls into question issues of both privacy and consciousness: how we communicate our thoughts to others, what it means to embody our desires, and whether we ought to act on them.

I Can’t Get You Out of My Mind asks what it means to be human—to be physical creatures endowed with a conscious mind, aware of our finitude—and to love.

Three excerpts of the book have recently been published: The Puritan ran a sexy little piece that focuses on AI; Tikkun featured an excerpt that moves wildly, yet with grace; and the Minola Review published a piece called “Perform,” in which the Minotaur is given centre stage.

Please note: The excerpt in Tikkun includes several references, which I’d like to acknowledge.