Wendy Lamb Books/Random House: NY, 2004.
At the end of the 21st century, the Technocrats rule. Everyone else gets leftovers. The servant class is robots, with the newest and best going to the Technocrats. There is a new model on the market. The BDC4s are made by LifeCorp, the company that controls all technology.
There is also blackmarket technology. Gangs steal the newer technology to study and make their own. As a result, students are protected by robots and the Technocrat community is gated and policed.
The bell family is in need of a new robot. They are not Technocrats, but Mr. Bell knows a scientist, Professor Ogden, that left LifeCorp to pursue his own research. He has made a new robot, a prototype, that he wants the Bells to use as a test. So, EGR3 (or just Eager) lives with the family and learns from them and their old robot. Eager has been made to be like humans. Thinking for himself and starting fresh, as a baby would. Of course, he learns much more quickly than a baby.
The BDC4s have similar qualities, but they have had memories transferred to them from a human instead. So, they have emotions (including desires) implanted in them, based on the human memories, without going through the process of building a moral background. Odd behavior on the part of the BDC4s is being noticed.
I enjoyed Eager and his interactions with the family members. The story is similar to the movie Bicentennial Man regarding the education of Eager and the philosophical conversations that occur. It is also like I, Robot in that the BDC4s go rogue and that Asimov's principles are discussed. A nice, creative addition is the holographic Greek philosopher used for lessons and conversing.
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