Wednesday, June 15, 2011

ROBOPOCALYPSE and ROBOGENESIS

Mike Chamberlain reads ROBOPOCALYPSE by Daniel H. Wilson, who has a doctorate in robotics. What makes this novel interesting is assumptive insights into the science of robotics, which aren’t thrust on the listener, but evolve within its focus on character in telling the story.  Various survivors of the singularity of artificial intelligence are recounted, after a computer has been awakened and accidentally released only to start a war against humanity (in order to save life on planet Earth.)  Surprisingly original, even within the limiting Terminator war genre, it captures and holds attention throughout.  And Steven Spielberg has optioned the book for a movie. ROBOGENESIS by Daniel H. Wilson is the sequel to Robopocalypse, and features Archos R-14, an A.I. that has survived the war with man that it lost, only to gather its forces in a surprising way again from a million sources…fed directly into a newly assembled sentient sourcecode. Will Takeo Nomura find a way to outwit a superhuman intelligence again---one which uses everything from nano-robots to butterfly drones as weapons against humanity (as one of its side projects)? The novel is read by MacLeod Andrews, Emily Rankin, and Mike Chamberlain, and is always engaging while remaining a very human story, with a command not just of technology but also of language. The best thing about these books is that they don't postulate time travel to bring a Terminator from the future, or aliens from other planets as in the Battleship movie or the Transformers movies. Wilson, a computer scientist, argues that robots get a bad rap, and shouldn't be limited by human prejudice and pre-conceptions. Technologies always evolve beyond where we think they will, and the same will be true for robots and their increasing presence in our lives. What's next? Will there be a third novel, making this a trilogy? Time will tell, but if you want to hear a possible quantum step beyond this in concept (and the movie Transcendence) listen to this


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