When I first heard about Daniel H. Wilson’s book, Robopocalypse, I steered away from it.
I knew that it had made several different bestseller lists but that is seldom a selling point for me. The title, to my ears anyway, was a bit off-putting in its manufactured glitziness and Wilson is also the author of How to Survive a Robot Uprising, one of those pseudo-guides you see such as (and I can't remember exact titles) "How to Fight Zombies," "How to Be an Action Star," and "How to Vote Republican" so that didn't entice me any further. Not to mention the fact that I really wasn’t interested in reading any more neo-Luddite, anti-transhumanism, Kip Haggis-loving, World War Z-ripping off, Terminator-like “felonious machines rise up to destroy humanity” pap. Then this post appeared on the Singularity Weblog that took a pair of forceps to my closed mind.
The book has been optioned by Steven Spielberg and will be released as a movie in 2013. Again, this is not necessarily a selling point for me but the description of Robopocalypse in the post did pique my interest. The book’s main character is Archos, a cybernetic AI that kills its creator and starts a global war against humanity. But the objective of this crusade is not to destroy humanity. Archos recognizes value in nature and in life itself. Apparently, Archos states on numerous occasions that humanity must and will survive the war. “I will burn your civilization down to light your way forward,” he says.
I don’t know about you, but that last quote really got me. I’d like to think that I now have a better understanding of where Wilson was coming from in writing this book. Archos seems to seek a coexistence between humans and robots, a birth of a new order of living. That’s a fresh take on a tired concept in my opinion and well worth reading. I’m adding the book to my already mammoth reading list but I do have one thing going for me. The movie won’t be out for another couple years so that gives me time to get the story read before I allow anyone else’s vision of it to influence my perceptions.
Also, it sounds like Socrates is still trying to get Daniel H. Wilson for a Singularity 1-on-1 interview on the subject. Here’s to hoping.
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