Tuesday, November 4, 2008

How to Survive a Robot Uprising by Daniel H. Wilson

Clever satire or prophetically essential reading? Most likely the author’s intention was a little of each. And although Wilson surely penned it with tongue firmly in cheek, make no mistake, his credentials are anything but laughable. With a Master’s Degree in Data Mining and a P.H.D. from the Carnegie Melon Robotics Institute, Wilson is perfectly positioned to produce a book like this. And boy, does he deliver the goods.

The book is formatted by topic into tiny chapters, each a couple of pages long. Topics include, among other things, such informative gems as; How to Spot a Robot Mimicking a Human, How to Escape a Smart House, How to Enhance Yourself With Cybernetic Implants and How to Notice the First Signs of a Robot Rebellion. Wilson packs an impressive amount of knowledge into this book’s 175 pages. He adroitly mixes logic with common sense, explaining the principles on which artificial intelligence is designed and giving practical information on how to exploit them. All of this makes for a quick and easy read, which may have been the point. You don’t want to be cross-referencing a dictionary sized volume when you’re hunkered down behind the wall trying to figure out what your next move should be.

How to Survive a Robot Uprising: Tips on Defending Yourself Against the Coming Invasion by Daniel H. Wilson

Bloomsbury USA 2005

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