Looking for a story; probably from the 80s or earlier.

An AI in some kind of jungle/post apocalyptic wasteland is living in a boring, isolated area. He has the ability to edit his own memories, and also the ability to control his own sense of time. Over the years, he's slowing his perception down more and more, and is approaching the point of completely stopping himself. Also, he's edited / deleted so many of his memories that he's no longer sure what's real. He'll do big projects, then delete the memory, and now whenever he starts something he's unsure whether he's tried it before & already deleted the reference. He's also quite proud of the level of earthquake-proofing his emplacement is built to.

The central image of the story is him slowly circling around, slowing himself more and more, and approaching a complete stop.

There may be something that happens with a primitive human approaching the building he's embodied in and asking him a question, which temporarily wakes him up.

  • Sounds like a Bolo story, but I'm fairly sure I've read all of them, and I don't think this describes any of them. – Broklynite Apr 5 '14 at 22:35
  • The AI is embodied in an immovable form - he just has a few cameras he can use to see the world, but I don't think he's got any servos or ways to actually interact with it. – fastmultiplication Apr 22 '14 at 2:08
  • @Broklynite: Perhaps "Miles to Go"? It has the jungle setting, and also progressive deletion/corruption of memories as the Bolo's AI battles against TSOP. – Ben Voigt Jul 13 '14 at 17:14
  • Miles to Go is the one about the experimental Bolo AI which admittedly also controls the depot it is stationed it- but does include the Bolo itself running around and killing things, not so much memory (Baen has it online for free here: baenebooks.com/chapters/0743498720/0743498720.htm). There are a couple either written by Keith himself or continued by others from the same characters, about soldiers stuck in South American with a Mark III (as I recall) which include one with the Bolo being stuck unable to defend the place until the native free it. After which it destroys the enemy. – Broklynite Sep 4 '14 at 9:56

Possibly Midsummer Century by James Blish?

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An accident propels the mind of the young astrophysicist John Martels to the 250th century (23,000 years into the future), or the midsummer century. It should be noted, that according to this novel the mind is a complex self aware electromagnetic field. His mind emerges in the brain-case of a future being with a very powerful mind, the so called Qvant.

Human civilization has fallen and risen again many times and both humans and birds have evolved. In the 250th century the birds have evolved into telepathic and intelligent beings who seek to exterminate their main rivals; the humans. Humans (or the human descendents) of the 250th century have great paranormal powers but are death oriented, and have not used their intelligence to develop an advanced civilization; in fact they are not even interested in organized resistance against the birds. John Martel is thrust into a fight for the continued existence of his own mind as well as a fight for the continued existence of the human race of the future, and that is without being able to use his own physical body. In an odd way this novel also succeeded to fuse the reincarnation of the human mind with the rebirth of civilizations.

  • Thanks for the answer - I think I've read blish before, but none of that sounds familiar at all. There were a few native, fallen humans around in the story, but it was mostly just about the AI's introspection. He could easily have been derived from a formerly living person, though. – fastmultiplication Jun 12 '14 at 8:16

In some ways it sounds like the Phillip K. Dick short story "The Electric Ant", but I'm not completely certain if that is it.

  • 4
    Use should include a synopsis and/or some links about the story. – Moogle Mar 11 '14 at 9:20
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    I thought so too at first, but in Electric Ant there is no jungle/post apocalyptic wasteland, and the experimentation of the robot is very short-lived. Also, there is no deletion of memories of past projects. – Andres F. Apr 5 '14 at 21:50

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