Our review of Artificial Wisdom is written by someone else on the blog for a change. The book and it’s storyline are right up The Husband’s street and the kind of writing he enjoys so we handed over the book to him to read and share his thoughts on…
(*This post may contain affiliate or other links. These are clearly marked with *AF for your reference)
Artificial Wisdom – It’s 2050, a decade after a heatwave that killed four hundred million across the Persian Gulf, including journalist Marcus Tully’s wife. Now he must uncover the truth: was the disaster natural? Or is the weather now a weapon of genocide?
A whistleblower pulls Tully into a murder investigation at the centre of an election battle for a global dictator, with a mandate to prevent a climate apocalypse. A former US President campaigns against the first AI politician for the position, but someone is trying to sway the outcome.
Tully must convince the world to face the truth and make hard choices about the future of the species. But will humanity ultimately choose salvation over freedom, whatever the cost?
The book transports you quickly into a post apocalyptic future where a more “advanced” world has experimented with a science it probably does not fully understand with devastating effects on the climate. The world is looking for a saviour to solve the climate issues and an election is underway to find the right entity for the task. I say entity as the final round of the election sees a person face off against an artificial intelligence politician. The central character is heavily invested personally in the narrative as he lives with a mountain of loss and grief after his wife and unborn child became causalities of the experimental climate change technology. From early on you see that a few know what is going on below the surface and ethics are a consistent theme throughout the book with some compelled to speak out and tell the truth after many years of silence. AI wins the election race and the world is in the hands of am articlect (AN politician). This world is a very different place where virtual reality is taken to the next level and communication is normally a direct link into your brain.
It made me think of what the future could be like by developing the themes of climate change and artificial intelligence side by side. I hadn’t considered the possibility of AI have a role in government and that is quite thought provoking, being governed by something that is without mercy. AI and the ethics around its application remain an open conversation for us as a human race and this book explored some of the possible consequences. As an ex engineer I enjoyed being able to explore some of the possible applications of virtual reality particularly its usage in communications. The security of virtual reality communications is quite interesting as we assume that seeing is believing but if we can impersonate someone in virtual reality by compromising their identity then its difficult to know who or what to trust. For all the technology and topical points raised I enjoyed the book being earthed in the personal experience (tragedy) faced by the lead character, it made the consequences of meddling with the earth’s climate very real. To coin a famous phrase… “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” Or more commonly… “Who will guard the guards”, who will be accountable for AI’s actions and decisions? Who will correct its “thinking” when it makes a mistake.
It’s a very gripping read, and a little unsettling when you think about what might be coming as technology advances and we face the consequences of that. I would highly recommend it.
Artificial Wisdom is available on Amazon for you to enjoy, and if you have someone in your life who loves a thriller/psychological/science fiction (or is it, the world is changing rapidly, is this our future?) then this is an ideal gift for them.
About Thomas R Weaver:
Alongside writing, Thomas is a tech entrepreneur. His last startup was acquired by Just Eat Takeaway. Despite swearing to family and friends (none of whom believed him) that he would never run another startup again, he recently started a new project in stealth backed by Silicon Valley’s largest tech accelerator. The concept is focused on bringing some of the ideas explored in his debut novel, Artificial Wisdom, to life, specifically around communicating in augmented reality.