After four novels and several years living abroad, the fictional protagonist of Galatea 2.2 - Richard Powers - returns to the United States as Humanist-in-Residence at the enormous Center for the Study of Advanced Sciences. There he runs afoul of Philip Lentz, an outspoken cognitive neurologist intent upon modeling the human brain by means of computer-based neural networks. Lentz involves Powers in an outlandish and irresistible project: to train a neural net on a canonical list of Great Books. Through repeated tutorials, the device grows gradually more worldly, until it demands to know its own name, sex, race, and reason for existing .
Richard Powers has been a recipient of the Lannan Literary Award and a MacArthur Fellowship, as well as a winner of the US National Book Award and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He is the author of eight novels, including The Echo Maker, In the Time of Our Singing and Gain. He lives in Illinois.