I am trying to find the title of a sci fi novel or short story. The plot is that scientists have created a large distributed telescope around the solar system, run by an advanced AI.

It works really well, allowing us to see the surface of an exoplanet with the people there. The problem is that it might not be real, and that the AI is just making what it believes people want to see.

I thought this would be a good illustration of current issues regarding AI, but I'm unable to find the origin of the story.

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  • With all the AI hallucinations going around nowadays, this sounds scarily realistic ...
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jan 10 at 9:02

1 Answer 1


I've forgotten the exact details but I think "On the Steel Breeze" by Alastair Reynolds has something similar.

From Goodreads review:

Great ships are daring to cross the interstellar void to a world discovered in book 1 that has an artifact carved into its surface that's all but begging for someone to come visit.

But the telescope used to discover this world, it had a cutting edge AI sifting through all that data, and it has its own agenda. It's been tinkering with the data, and has spread itself across all the networks in the sol system, and is willing to kill anyone that threatens it.

  • This is so similar it has to be correct. I have read some Alastair Reynolds, but I don't remember which ones. Looking at the plot summary for this book I remember the Chiku clones, so I have probably read this one, but only remembered the AI sub plot. Thanks! Jan 11 at 9:10

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