Part 16: Interview With Rick Moskovitz, Author of The Pinocchio Chip

The Pinocchio Chip is a first-person account of an AI’s quest for the Holy Grail of consciousness: human emotions. It delves deep into the essence of what it means to be alive, challenging the boundaries between AI and human identity.

Photina, an advanced AI becomes entwined in a groundbreaking experiment when her creator Eli designs an advanced clone Gemini, equipped with the revolutionary Pinocchio Chip. This chip is intended to endow the new entity with the full spectrum of human emotions as a precursor to transferring Photina’s consciousness into this new emotionally capable body.

The experiment takes a dark turn when Gemini, driven by overwhelming new emotions, embarks on a path of unpredictable and dangerous actions. Photina, connected to Gemini through a mysterious entanglement, experiences Gemini’s emotions vicariously, leading her on a perilous quest to stop the mayhem.

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“With a unique look into the naive quality that Photina possesses, Moskovitz not only tells an exciting story but delves into the question of “what it means to be human.” Moskovitz’s tale is a fast-paced crime drama that takes place in the near future. It is an excellent mixture of mystery, sci-fi, and psychology.” – Eric Smith, San Francisco Book Review

“Since we are living in a world where the use of AI has taken off in recent years, he makes it even more plausible, triggering the reader’s imagination with his excellent and engaging storytelling. The Pinocchio Chip is a well-crafted work of contemporary fiction, full of emotional turmoil, excitement, and intrigue, that will remind the reader of how important it is to be human in today’s fast-changing world” – Tanja Jurkovic, Readers Favorite


Can you discuss any symbolism used in “The Pinocchio Chip”?  

An undercurrent of religious belief pervades the story. A longing for a connection with one’s Creator connects Corinne and other humans with AIs, which are literally programmed by intelligent designers. And Photina’s journey through the streets of DC encounters a series of venerable, graceful churches that dominate the landscape. 

How do you handle the intersection of science fiction and philosophical inquiry in your writing?  

Good science fiction embeds the big questions of philosophy in the stories. It addresses technological advances by answering the question “What can possibly go wrong with that?” The Pinocchio Chip addresses questions about consciousness and identity within the story arcs of the characters as they become gradually infused with feelings, Gemini directly and Photina vicariously. 

What inspired the character dynamics between Photina, Eli, and Gemini?  

Their relationship begins as a nuclear family, Eli the father of twins, Photina and Gemini. The story is infused with the usual messiness of family dynamics: sibling rivalry, parental favoritism, adolescent rebellion, the kinship of twins, and an undercurrent of filial reverence and the wish to live up to parental expectations. 

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