I was in the middle of scheduling an interview with Daniel H. Wilson‘s agent when I got a last minute acceptance to Singularity University. I had to delay our interview and rush to NASA’s Ames Campus in Mountain View, California. As soon as I was back home I got in touch again with Willson’s representative but, unfortunately, was told that Daniel was not doing any more interivews.
Daniel H. Wilson is the author of The New York Times best selling science fiction novel Robopocalypse and a columnist and contributing editor for Popular Mechanics magazine. He has also written: How To Survive a Robot Uprising, How to Build a Robot Army, A Boy and His Bot and Where’s My Jetpack?.
Robopocalypse is not only one of Amazon’s top books for 2011 but, most notably, Steven Spielberg is directing a film based on the novel, scheduled for release on July 4, 2013.
I don’t know if Daniel is under some kind of obligation to keep low profile until the release of the upcoming movie or is simply busy working on his latest sci fi novel titled AMPED — I will continue trying to get him for an interview for Singularity 1 on 1. In the meantime, here is a very brief review of his fantastic novel Robopocalypse.
Robopocalypse Book Review:
The story starts up with a singularity: a scientist working on creating AI in a remove lab somewhere has already had to destroy 14 versions of his creation in order to protect the world from it. However, version 15 (called Archos) manages to escape its Faraday cage, kill the scientist and, among other things, start a global war against humanity. This is pretty much what you could call the generic terminator or machine apocalypse script. From here on however the story is entirely unique.
For starters, Archos’ main goal is not the complete annihilation of humanity – so he doesn’t use nuclear missiles. Neither is the war his main focus and occupation. Archos is very interested in nature and has a complete appreciation of life as a uniquely rare phenomenon in the universe. He states on several occasions that humankind must and will survive the war.
“I will burn your civilization down to light your way forward.”
However, if humanity has to survive so does robotkind. Thus in a way the book is really about a birth – the birth of “freeborn”, sentient, humanoid and self-aware machines and their integration as valuable members of our sentient civilization.
Historically speaking all “inalienable” human rights have come after strife, massive protests or violent revolutions. Similarly, it only makes sense that robot rights will come after a hard-fought war, barely won with the help of “freeborn” robots fighting alongside humanity. Thus one may realize that it is impossible to outwit the super-smart “God-in-a-box” Archos. In the end he gets what he wants – the ensured survival of both mankind and robotkind.
Socrates’ verdict: 10 out 10
Fans’ Trailers for Robopocalypse: