William Hertling is a rather recent science fiction discovery of mine and the author of award-winning novels Avogadro Corp: The Singularity Is Closer Than It Appears, A.I. Apocalypse, and The Last Firewall. William has written several plausible scenarios for the technological singularity that were so engaging and compelling that, as soon as I finished his first book, I could not help but go ahead and read the next one too. And so I was very happy to get an opportunity and interview Hertling on my podcast.
During our 45 min conversation with William, we cover a variety of interesting topics such as the impact of reading Accelerando and The Singularity is Near; how he was challenged to become a sci-fi author, and outlined the plot of his first book on the proverbial paper-napkin; the extrapolation of current trends in software and hardware as a way of predicting technological progress; the importance of theory of mind for the creating of artificial intelligence; the singularity and whether it is more likely to happen in a hacker garage or a military lab; hard take-off vs soft take-off; whole-brain simulation and the diminishing costs thereof; if an AI apocalypse is a plausible future scenario or not; transhumanism and healthy life-extension…
This is the second out of a series of 3 sci-fi round-table interviews with Ramez Naam, William Hertling, and Greg Bear that I did last November in Seattle. It was produced by Richard and Tatyana Sundvall and generously hosted by Greg and Astrid Bear. (Special note of thanks to Agah Bahari who did the interview audio re-mix.)
As always you can listen to or download the audio file above or scroll down and watch the video interview in full. To show your support you can write a review on iTunes, make a direct donation, or become a patron on Patreon.
Who is William Hertling?
William Hertling is the author of the award-winning novels Avogadro Corp: The Singularity Is Closer Than It Appears, A.I. Apocalypse, and The Last Firewall. These near-term science-fiction novels about realistic ways strong AI might emerge have been called “frighteningly plausible,” “tremendous,” “must-read.”
Avogadro Corp won Forewords Review Science Fiction Book of the Year and A.I. Apocalypse was nominated for the Prometheus Award for Best Novel. The Last Firewall was endorsed by tech luminaries including Harper Reed (CTO for Obama Campaign), Ben Huh (CEO Cheezburger), and Brad Feld (Foundry Group).
He’s been influenced by writers such as William Gibson, Charles Stross, Cory Doctorow, and Walter Jon Williams.
William Hertling was born in Brooklyn, New York. He grew up a digital native in the early days of bulletin board systems. His first experience with net culture occurred when he wired seven phone lines into the back of his Apple //e to build an online chat system. He currently resides in Portland, Oregon.