I thought the title was "Ariel" but I can't find anything searching on Google. The story was about a guy who owned a large computer company trying to build an AI computer. He is widowed and his son plays games with the new computer in secret. The game playing leads to the machine becoming self-aware. The father finds out about the boy's games. Some bad guys show up and burn down the building with the newly aware computer, killing it. But it turns out the boy kept copies of the game sessions on disk, so the AI can be revived.

Does anyone remember this story?

  • You didn't find it on Google? It was the very first hit for Ariel AI when I looked for it; perhaps the rankings have changed in the last 10 hours, or perhaps Google thinks it's more relevant to my interests than to yours. Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 10:15
  • @user2357112: Or maybe he is using a different language google? For me the 7th hit is an amazon link to a used book (and 17th to this question). Most others is about ariel sharon, and we all know about the second page: xkcd.com/1334
    – PlasmaHH
    Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 10:37
  • 2
    The description is also somewhat similar to the plot of Wargames, which is worth a watch for comedic/nostalgic value.
    – naught101
    Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 12:47

1 Answer 1


Could it possibly be "Ariel" by Jack M. Bickham?

"The computer was organized on two basic principles: that artificial intelligence could be derived from high-speed calculations based on a very large amount of specific information, and that expertise could come only from experience.

Slowly, they were teaching her, like a child, to draw from her own experiences... to make her own conclusions.

She was ARIEL... the most complex computer ever built. Even now, in her "infancy", she was opening up entirely new fields of mathmatics. When - and if - she "matured", her potential was unlimited.

But there were those who wanted her secrets, who didn't care how much money or how many lives were spent in the process. And they were close - dangerously close"

enter image description here

An Amazon reviewer describes it as

Interesting story, personal drama, technical details, a precocious teen tied in just enough to not make it all about him, espionage, etc. And let's not forget Ariel herself... an AI that makes you WANT AI NOW."

  • That's it!!! Thanks!!!!
    – Larry
    Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 0:24
  • 2
    @Larry -- Don't forget to accept his answer by clicking the check box by the voting arrows! :)
    – K-H-W
    Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 2:44
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    I can confirm the other details. I own a copy of the book somewhere in the house.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 9:48

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