When I was an elementary school student back in the late 80's through early 90's, I was forced to read some books as vacation assignments.

There are some books which I still remember I liked, but I cannot remember the titles. Among them is this book. I tried many Q&A sites to find out the title such as Amazon's discussion board, but in vain. It was so long time ago, so what I am saying hereafter could not be 100% accurate.

  1. I cannot remember the author's name but the author was a foreigner (probably a westerner), and I read a Korean version (translated into Korean).
  2. The book was probably intended for children, not adults.
  3. A robot or computer suddenly became self-aware by an accident. I think the robot's name was Alex.
  4. The robot kept saying "I am Alex; I am a person." (since I read a translated version, the phrase could be different in the original text)
  5. Somehow the robot was contacted by a boy through network.
  6. The robot took some special kind of card as an input method, I think.

Any hints will be appreciated.

  • Any idea of when it was produced, or when you read it?
    – Polynomial
    Dec 19, 2014 at 17:34
  • 2
    This may or may not be the story you are looking for: Lester del Rey wrote a story titled "The Runaway Robot" (1965) where a teenage boy is being sent to earth (from a colony on a moon of Jupiter I believe) and his family sells the family robot, who then escapes and tries to rejoin the teenager. Apr 8, 2016 at 7:17

2 Answers 2


This seems unlikely to have been assigned as a kid's book, but Jack Bickham's 1985 Ariel is a match plotwise.

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.

While making an AI was intentional, having it develop sapience was unexpected, and in fact is something that they don't realize until near the end of the book, thanks to Rusty, the child of one of the scientists, who starts talking to Ariel on the network. The big catch is that this is a 384-page paperback, so I think it is unlikely that you would have mistaken this as a children's title.


The movie "War Games" comes to my mind. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WarGames The Computer is not called Alex (perhaps a translation issue?). It becomes kind of self aware and is contacted by a boy via network. Released in 1983 would match. I don't know if there was a book release either before or after the movie.


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