Artificial Intelligence is the technology behind things like search algorithms, virtual assistants such as Siri, and self-driving cars. However, scientists are working towards Artificial General Intelligence, which will allow the creation of systems that are more intelligent than human beings. Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and the late Stephen Hawking warn of the dangers of this technology, such as autonomous weapons, social grading (for example, China’s social credit system), and more systems that invade your privacy. Perhaps the greatest danger is when the machines get so intelligent that they take over. See, an AGI’s solution to problems such as climate change, food shortage, and poverty might mean the annihilation of the whole world.
The One Singularity, by RD Palmer, is a futuristic thriller whose antagonist is an Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) called The One. The protagonist is a scientist who hoped the AGI would be the last human invention. However, soon after he creates the first AGI in human history, he discovers its solution to problems in the world is not what he expected. Now he has to kill his creation to prevent it from wiping away the world’s population.
The book is written with vivid imagery, alluring diction, and excellent pacing. It provides a relatively clear view of what the world would become if we are not careful to regulate artificial intelligence and related technologies.
In the book, Palmer portrays how scientists are eager to make the world a better place through technology, how the military will always try to use such technology to their advantage, how there will always be a group who see the dangers of advanced technology, and how somehow religious sects like the Amish are on the right side by shunning technology.
What I liked most about the book is the unpredictability. I was consistently surprised with the twists and turns in the plot. RD Palmer doesn’t follow the familiar plot of other futuristic thrillers. There are lots of things you will not see coming, such as most human beings embracing the AGI, albeit without knowing its agenda.
I also liked how each chapter starts with a quote from a famous philosopher such as Galileo Galilei, Plato, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Aristotle.
The One Singularity is a riveting novel that has a cliff hanger of an ending that begs you to read the follow up novel. It leaves you wondering what happens to the characters. However, The One Singularity is by far the best futuristic thriller I have read this year, and one whose predictions I hope do not come true.
Pages: 387 | ASIN: B08DK8YJPX
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Interflow of Things is a highly realistic vision of the future where an A.I. seeks to segregate people. What served as your inspiration while writing this fascinating novel?
Well I guess the inspiration for the segregation is the idea that through A.I. society will become simpler, and the crowd will accept this and embrace this as something good. Dividing society in leaders, hardworkers, creative and relatively useless people is of course rather coldhearted and narrow-minded, but let’s not forget that a lot of people use these kind of phrases already, it’s in fact quite human to do this unfortunately. I guess A.I. has the danger of strengthening prejudices as we see in several examples already used, like f.e. a law system implemented.
I think you did a fantastic job creating an A.I. in immersive detail. What kind of research did you do ensure you portrayed the traits of A.I. accurately?
The writing of the A.I. chapters was intuitive, but I did study From Bacteria to Bach and back from Daniel Dennett and used it her and there. Furthermore I have read passages of On intelligence from Jeff Hawkins, How to create a mind from Ray Kurzwell, Superintelligence from Nick Bolstrom, Homo Deus from Yuval Noah Harari, Cosa Nostra, A History Of The Sicilian Mafia from John Dickie and lately the book Life 3.0 from Max Tegmark. This last book, I plan to use a bit more in part three of the cyclus.
I felt that this book was an ominous allusion to the current “Internet of Things” we are experiencing now. What is one common misconception you find that many people have about A.I.?
I don’t really know, I guess people slowly will get used to more A.I. without thinking about it that much mainly, or even without realizing its implications. The idea that A.I. might become conscious is something that is quite hard to comprehend, personally I have to use my imagination and read books like Max Tegmark his Life 3.0 or Daniel Dennett and then see it might indeed be possible. In Life 3.0 a number of scenario’s have been stated of the possible future, that’s interesting to read and discuss.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
The Game Changer I consider as part zero of a series of novels with the name Amor Mundi. Part 1 is the novel Julia’s memories, I am translating this novel into English at this moment and I am planning to publish it in one piece with Interflow of things, since the two really follow each other like it’s one novel. My plan is to let a professional editor look at this part 1 and 2 novel called ‘Julia’s memories and the interflow of things’ thoroughly, that’s really needed, I know. For the interflow of things I didn’t have the energy to do a good job in translating yet, I am sorry for that. Furthermore, I am working on a third part using Life 3.0 of Max Tegmark as inspiration.
Julia’s memories info:
‘Julia’s memories’, announced as the 1st novel of the AM cycle, contains partly the same characters as the novel The Game Changer. Julia is the daughter of the protagonist: Henk VWS. Julia is also the one who will tilt society, also according to her father Henk, although his insight, his idea of how to achieve that, is not at all like hers. In addition, certain events are now not described by Henk VWS, but from her (2050) perspective.
Back cover text: June 2050. Julia, a celebrated artist, celebrates her 55th birthday. Encouraged by the mayor of Rotterdam she decides to write her memoirs. She wants to try to unravel her passionate past, to understand it better, and hopes that the youth will be able to learn something from this candid quest in her life. Meanwhile, however, during her writing, she receives fragments of another reality, fragments that increase in quantity and intensity, fragments from the here-and-now that distract and influence her memoirs more and more.
Fragment (first page of the book):
In recent weeks I have managed to read my memoirs. I have tried it before, but it was hurting too much, mental pain caused by the realization that you have recorded your memoirs in a dream world and after manipulation by an artificial enemy, since it are creatives among us who – as a sopmer, like a lollipop for a child – are inspired to this senseless activity, to this exercise in selfishness and self-pity, to this form of autobiographical pride, an activity which Jules might have rightly called a disguised form of prostitution. It helps to keep creatives in check, in line, and admittedly, I went along like no other, yes, I firmly believed in the healing power of my memoirs for the youth of Rotterdam (and for myself). Writing memoirs became my life purpose, encouraged by our mayor with the lovely name Peter Cantacuzino, a mayor of whom I now suspect that he has been manipulated by this all dominating forms of intelligence. It is true, moving from an externally imposed compulsion to self-compulsion has reached new dimensions under the A.I. ruler: I guess that with my memoirs our enemy gets gold in his artificial hands! To think that through my outpourings I am offering him new possibilities to optimize his manipulations! Information collection is like a spider web that tightens every movement, it is high time we unravel this tangle! To sketch a complete picture, before we start with the Unmasking, here are my memories as dictated to my PR robot, just before my Awakening (all published at the express request of the major of Rotterdam).
After Julia has awakened, she finds out how the real world is currently functioning. A hyperintelligent computer entity X.yy has duplicated itself and slowly increases its power. The masterplan designed by X.yy provides a coarse segregation of homo sapiens in leaders, hard workers, creatives and relatively useless. All individuals get information on a need-to-know basis via a coloured AI filter.
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The year is 2050 and the overreaching A.I. is about to achieve total domination of the planet. If it succeeds, the end of humanity is certain. No resistance is expected since the human race has been herded into obedience and a false sense of security using high tech illusions and complacency. But the resistance is brewing – the Free Hackers are moving in the shadows, avoiding the scanners, blending with the crowd. They will cross the world, from Rotterdam to Sicily and all the way to California, in hopes of stopping the inevitable.
Interflow of Things by David Droge is a highly realistic vision of the future brought about by the constant revolutions in computing we have been witnessing in the past few decades. His A.I. starts its journey in our time but quickly spreads to control the world from the shadows. Its insatiable hunger for processing power has it manipulating governments and even change entire stratas of society. It uses high tech gadgetry to mask its debilitating effect on the planet. I enjoyed the superbly technical implementation of the technology which was always believable, especially when we remember how human totalitarian regimes have been able to accomplish the same effect without it.
Human emotions are the bedrock of its power – living in the A.I. controlled reality is comfortable. So much so that unplugging from it requires drug treatments and therapy. Julia, the first character we meet, needed extensive therapy provided by the Free Hackers before she got her emotions and clarity of mind back. And she was one of the lucky ones. Augmented reality dream is a prison of your own mind and you carry it everywhere. Why wouldn’t you? It makes everything, vision, smell, feel and touch, more beautiful! Droge is able to touch and develop every detail of the story so that you are completely immersed by the time you are just a few chapters in.
But the human emotion is something the A.I. doesn’t understand. Throughout the book we get inklings into the operation of this vast mind. Millions of calculations are being done in hopes of understanding basic human concepts and abilities, all in vain.
These passages serve the purpose of giving us the idea of the incomprehensible A.I.’s motivations. They turn out to be one of the few passages of the book that make sense. Dave Droge has translated this novel into English and the results could have been better. A layered and interesting world of the future was hard for me to comprehend. His human characters are intriguing but their motivation was obscured by poor translation.
Interflow of Things – the name of the novel is an obvious, ominous allusion to the current “Internet of Things” trend in computing integrated with ordinary business of living. It shows the future that we might be heading in. Droge gives us a warning that we might become willing slaves of computer controlled social constructs that we don’t really understand or care to understand. If the object of our desires is a real person or an android, will we know? Will we even care at that point? This is a fantastic science fiction story that can only get better.
Pages: 196 | ASIN: B07BTT6KRK
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Project Bodi: Awaken the Power of Insight by Hosein Kouros-Mehr is a sci-fi fiction book that goes into an alternate world of Google and its reign in 2030 and beyond. Although it’s a fictitious book, there are so many parts of it that relate to the world that we currently live in so reading this book was like looking into the future. A scary and not so distant future. The book focuses on Google Health and the impact that artificial intelligence has on the future of work.
This book took a bit for me to get my head around, but once I did, I devoured it. I love reading about alternate worlds and dystopian futures and although this book was a somewhat dystopian future, the similarities between what’s happening in our world are obvious. Artificial Intelligence is scary because we don’t know much about it as a species and yet continue to use it with reckless abandon and for me, messing with things that we don’t fully understand can only lead to trouble.
How much of a role should artificial intelligence have within society? This book suggests that the way things are going, artificial intelligence should not only be expected but welcomed with open arms. However, as the story goes on, I felt more linked with Austin than I did with Beth. As much as I want to be hardworking and driven, my smartphone and social media is a constant and easy to access distraction from my work. Although I might have talent, it’s surely being squandered by my lack of dedication and focus to the task. It was refreshing to see this written in a non-condescending way as that is so often the case when people write about younger generations.
I found myself reading this book with ease. Although the book switches between three different characters, including the CEO of Google, the language is easy to understand and easy to follow. As we are dealing with some interesting concepts throughout this book, it’s a huge bonus that the perspectives that are shown in the book are easy to understand and easy to read and are delivered with relaxed and concise language.
I really liked the different perspectives that were shown throughout the book. It varies from the younger guy whose distracted yet shows promise, the senior worker whose given a mountain of a task with little room to fail and the CEO of the company that’s taking over the world. Despite these differences, the perspectives between them all show that there’s similarities there as well. The pressure to stay on top of your game in a world of never ending challenges and pressures. I liked the passages about subconscious. We often forget that our strongest tool is our mind and once we sharpen it, we can be unstoppable.
I really enjoyed this book. It was an easy and eye opening read that showed me what the future will possibly look like.
Pages: 219 | ASIN: B072QX9YZX
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Beyond Yesterday, written by Greg Spry, is an intergalactic space adventure that sees Commander Maya Davis rise through the ranks to earn herself a spot driving her own space-time vessel. But the excitement is short lived as she discovers she is to be sent on a deadly mission due to a 200,000-year-old piece of tech that has unexplainable connections to her past. With her superiors informing her that she may never be able to return to the present, Maya must make decisions that could have terrible consequences for herself and the entirety of mankind. Will her choices erase the human race forever?
From the first page of Beyond Yesterday, I was instantly transported to space, to a world where vibrant colors glow atop of the islands, bots and AI’s make the majority of decisions and exotic algae and mold thrive. In the midst of space travel, there are humanistic problems such as allergies and drug issues which provide an almost humorous side to the in-the-future styled plot line.
At times the language was a little confusing as the entire world created in the novel was completely unique. However, once you got your bearings, it was easy to be lost in the new world and I quickly began to understand the locations, and labels for objects, plants, and people. One of my favorite futuristic parts of the storyline was how your health/body was instantly analyzed if you were injured and then you would automatically be injected with numbing agents or medications. With these advances, it’s no wonder their average lifespan is now 200 years. Imagine if we had this in the real world!
The battles against the Grey’s are fast and furious and they hit hard and heavy. There were aspects that reminded me a little of Star Wars and Stargate as they battled with androids and AI’s, commanders and advanced technology. Greg Spry’s ability to describe the mechanics and functions of technology in the future was impressive and I felt as though I was in the cockpit beside the characters as they battled in space.
It was refreshing to have two females leading the plot line in bravery and ambition, compared to the usual male domination presented in these styles of stories. Brooke is a sixty-year-old woman, a determined, head-strong admiral and accomplished fighter pilot. Her strength and focus is admirable as well as her ability to keep calm in situations of crisis, making her one of my favorite characters. Commander Maya Davis (Brooke’s niece) is clever, crafty and capable of strong leadership and guidance. She’s made incredible sacrifices to be in her position of power and continues to put the safety of others before her own- even if it comes at an irreversible cost.
I would recommend this for all lovers of space adventures and futuristic styled novels. It’s hard not to get lost in the book as you leave Earth to explore the world beyond.
Pages: 336 | ASIN: B073DY3QSZ
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Game Over begins inside a virtual world created by Sybil, an AI that rules over the virtual world of Elysium. Ekko Everlasting spawns into what seems to be a video game, armed and ready to fight, although he has no memory of who he is or why he’s there. He knows only his name and his innate ability to survive in a kill-or-be-killed environment. This skill helps him win his first match in No-Life, the most popular game in Elysium.
Flush from his win and mobbed by fans, he’s saved from an imposing cyberman—and potential deletion—by Ridley Scott, who tells him that Ekko is an important asset to the resistance. Ridley and his boss Dadgar recruit Ekko for their mission to find the central core of the Sybil system and free what’s left of humanity on Earth. Dadgar tells Ekko that Elysium was created to solve humanity’s problems, including illness and death, so millions of people were uploaded into the system. If humans in Elysium don’t live up to Sybil’s standards, embodied by the No-Life game, they are reprogrammed or deleted by the cybermen. Deletion brings death in the real world.
There’s a lot to like in this novel. The stakes are as high as they get: life or death for not only Ekko but humanity itself. The games he plays, No-Life, Myth and Magic, and The Test, bring the kind of exciting combat and split-second decision making that will keep you on the edge of your seat. His adversaries and allies are experts at the game, and the scenarios Sybil pits them against are both elegant and deadly.
There’s also a throwback to the “choose your own adventure” books that were popular in the late 1970’s and 80’s. At several points in the story, readers are given a choice for Ekko’s next action, and the wrong choice can lead to the words: Game Over! If you follow the right choices, it leads to a surprising conclusion with an interesting twist on Ekko’s mission—and his identity. His journey through the different levels of the game reveals the lengths that the elite will go in their quest for power. In this case, literal power measured in watts instead of mere credits.
A few things didn’t go over well. Every scene that ends with a choice of adventure has an obvious “opt out” spoiler, so it’s too easy to avoid the “game over” choice. I was also a little confused about the cyberman, Naraku Carbon. The author gives him an entire chapter and backstory, but after that chapter, he vanishes completely. His only contributions to Ekko’s story were brief encounters that could have been fulfilled by any anonymous security drone.
I would recommend this book to people who enjoy gaming, tense action scenes, and life or death adventure. Though it borrows a few concepts from popular movies like Battle Royale and The Matrix, Game Over offers an interesting take on what might happen if life really is a simulation.
Pages: 268 | ASIN: B01KNJ8WB6
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