The two main characters are hired by Blue Gamma (I was reminded of Blue Ant) to help create "digients" - digital entities built on an animal (and then robot) frame. Instead of having programmed behaviors, these learn, and a good portion of the novella explores the impact of that learning.
I was reminded of early AI programming, learning game strategy. It doesn't take much suspension of disbelief to see them developing personalities. Other neat factors include illustrations and Ted Chiang's general descriptions of the future "web".
The book ended quite abruptly, with the future of most characters left unresolved, and this brings the rating down a tad.