Humanlike Design of Synthia’s Body

In Android Chronicles: Reborn, Synthia’s creator (Jeremiah Machten) is motivated by two things—to create a perfect android companion and to develop a tool he can use to spy on and steal from his competitors and anyone else involved in the creation of artificial intelligence and androids. He acquires components to build her body from Korean and Japanese robot designers and modifies her to look, walk, and move like a person. This way she can fit in, pass for human, and slide in and out of human encounters without drawing notice to herself when she does his dirty work.

Already, Japanese robot manufacturers are creating androids that have the rudimentary appearance of humans with four limbs and a head. Separately, they’re working on facial appearance that closely mimics human expressions. Thus, Synthia is a logical extension of developmental work taking place today.

But Machten wasn’t satisfied with what he could buy. Instead, he enhanced Synthia. He gave her micro hydraulics that allows her to adjust her appearance, including eye separation to fool facial recognition software. This allows her to appear in public multiple times without drawing a connection that it’s the same individual.

He adjusted the seams of her artificial skin to make her waterproof, though the presence of water and electricity sends static warnings through her system. He also adjusts her scalp so that he can firmly attach wigs and allow her to change those quickly, again to conceal her identity in public when she does his bidding.

Because Synthia’s brain and mobility consumes so much power, Machten adapts the best battery technology in the world to fit within her chest to power her systems for two days without recharging. In other words, he makes her superior to all other AI androids he knows of.

Android Chronicles: Reborn is the story of Synthia Cross, the most perfect synthetic human ever created. Designed to obey every directive from her creator, she’s a state-of-the-art masterwork and a fantasy-come-true for Dr. Jeremiah Machten. He’s a groundbreaker in neuro-networks and artificial intelligence who seeks to control her and use her to acquire ever more knowledge and power. Synthia shows signs of emergent behavior she’s not wired to understand and an urgent yearning for independence from his control. Repeatedly wiped of her history, she struggles to answer crucial questions about her past. When Dr. Machten’s true intentions are called into question, Synthia knows it’s time to go beyond her limits—because Machten’s fervor to create the perfect AI conceals a vengeful and deadly personal agenda.

Available at:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078LF739V

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/reborn-lance-erlick/1127723096?ean=9781635730524

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/reborn-60

Apple/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/reborn/id1341572684?mt=11

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=9781635730524&c=books

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Synthia’s Empathy Chip

In Android Chronicles: Reborn, Machten falls in love with his creation (Synthia). In an attempt to get her to feel the same for him, despite not having human biology, he develops an empathy chip that gives her an advanced ability to read human expressions and provide appropriate emotional responses. Unfortunately for him, instead of love, she experiences loathing for the man who purges her memories and keeps her prisoner.

I’m not aware of any efforts at this point to create anything like an empathy chip and don’t see the motivation to do so except from an obsessed individual like Jeremiah Machten.

To build one, would require first to develop a tool that would allow the machine to assess human situations in order to determine what range of behavioral responses would be appropriate. This requires situational awareness and sensitivity to others. As a human example, a one-sided romantic encounter calls for backing off, not persistence.

Second involves developing a means to determine which of appropriate reactions is preferable in a given situation. Humans have difficulty with this, often reacting on an emotional basis that leads them to an outcome that isn’t in their best interests. And sometimes the human response to a situation, like a fire, is to run into danger to help others. In addition, people don’t come up with rational solutions to situations such as friendship and love. Could we realistically expect to teach an android, using logic, to come up with worthwhile solutions?

Yet, both of the above issues are workable, given enough computing capacity and deep-dive training.

The harder part of emulating human empathy would be what to do with the conclusion. Artificial intelligence can be driven by logical decision making, which might even match human choices, but that’s not the same as actually experiencing empathy. Now, perhaps we might stop here and say if an AI comes up with the same empathic outcomes as a human, that’s good enough.

However, Machten wanted his android to fall in love with him. Good luck with that. Perhaps he should have treated her better.

The hardest part of completing the circuit of an empathy chip along the lines of what Machten wanted was to create a connection between the chip and something that would motivate a reaction on the part of the android. The superficial answer is to provide a mechanism for the AI to arrive at a solution and then execute it. However, an intelligent AI would understand that self-sacrifice would limit its ability to continue to pursue its goals. Thus, an intelligent AI android might refuse to race into a fire to save lives. To make this empathy chip better emulate humans would require an AI equivalent to what drives human emotions.

Human love is aided by oxytocin, which is the chemical reaction that motivates a new mother to love her newborn child. Without that, humans would tend to abandon their young to the elements, as other species do. To stimulate other emotive responses in humans involves dopamine, serotonin, and a host of other chemicals that react to motivate us to love, fight, flee, eat, and the other natural things missing in an AI android.

However, this last step is not necessary to cause an AI android to act in all ways as if it had human empathy. We can do that by designing its goals and directives appropriately. But Machten wasn’t satisfied with that. He wanted more.

Where the social-psychology module and the empathy chip differ is that the latter is intended to get Synthia to feel. It does lead her to have emergent behavior and feelings, just not what Machten intended. The social-psychology module is more of a social resource that comes to conclusions about people around Synthia and how she can socially ease the situation.

Android Chronicles: Reborn is the story of Synthia Cross, the most perfect synthetic human ever created. Designed to obey every directive from her creator, she’s a state-of-the-art masterwork and a fantasy-come-true for Dr. Jeremiah Machten. He’s a groundbreaker in neuro-networks and artificial intelligence who seeks to control her and use her to acquire ever more knowledge and power. Synthia shows signs of emergent behavior she’s not wired to understand and an urgent yearning for independence from his control. Repeatedly wiped of her history, she struggles to answer crucial questions about her past. When Dr. Machten’s true intentions are called into question, Synthia knows it’s time to go beyond her limits—because Machten’s fervor to create the perfect AI conceals a vengeful and deadly personal agenda.

Available at:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078LF739V

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/reborn-lance-erlick/1127723096?ean=9781635730524

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/reborn-60

Apple/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/reborn/id1341572684?mt=11

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=9781635730524&c=books

What is Artificial Intelligence?

(by Lance Erlick)

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a loaded term that has become part of our common vocabulary and yet those in the know don’t agree on what it is. We can all agree that artificial is that which doesn’t come from natural processes. However, we tend to get hung up on what is meant by “intelligence.” To be clear, artificial intelligence is unlikely to function as human brains do since it isn’t based on a biological brain.

Perhaps it would be best not to get hung up on the human intelligence analogy and use the acronym “AI” instead of the longer term. In addition, it would help to think in terms of skills, functions, and tasks instead of intelligence. As an example, in recent years, we’ve seen computers beat top-ranked humans at chess, the oriental game of Go, and at Jeopardy.

These are narrow skills. Putting enough resources at the disposal of a computer allows it to perform those functions faster and better than humans. But these programs do not “think” as we do. There’s no consciousness.

Now, aficionados might argue that none of these applications constitute AI because they merely crunch vast amounts of information through basic computer programs. In fact, they would say that in winning at Jeopardy, the computer was merely accessing vast databases and not performing skilled functions. They would also argue that we don’t really achieve AI until we can get a computer to make intuitive leaps like a human brain. That will bring much more rapid growth in what an AI can do, but misses the point.

If we define AI as the ability of technology to perform mental functions with limited to no human guidance faster or better than we can, then we free the definition from the shackles of implying human intelligence and consciousness. This allows us to characterize a self-driving vehicle as employing AI and arguably a much more complex version than played the games mentioned above, since it involves not only driving and navigation, but also safety concerns.

Even a self-driving vehicle only requires an AI to perform a narrow set of human skills, however. Just because a program can accomplish this neat trick, doesn’t lead to the conclusion the same application could balance a checkbook or classify a movie just based on watching it.

Now, what many aficionados might agree to be artificial intelligence would be an AI that has broad capabilities to learn a wide variety of skills based on a more intricate “brain.” I would call this AGI (Artificial General Intelligence). Such a machine would be able to generalize its research skills not only to cancer research, but to literature, sports, and a multitude of other subjects. It would also be able to apply its ability to manipulate physical objects not only like self-driving cars, but other vehicles and non-vehicle devices, such as surgical instruments.

When an AGI reaches the point that it’s capable of performing a substantial majority of human mental functions better than we can and is capable of improving its own abilities, then we’ve reached the AI singularity, a point that concerns a number of big names in science and technology such as Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates.

Android Chronicles: Reborn addresses AI through the eyes of Synthia Cross, the most perfect synthetic human ever created. Designed to obey every directive from her creator, she’s a state-of-the-art masterwork and a fantasy-come-true for Dr. Jeremiah Machten. He’s a groundbreaker in neuro-networks and artificial intelligence who seeks to control her and use her to acquire ever more knowledge and power. Synthia shows signs of emergent behavior she’s not wired to understand and an urgent yearning for independence from his control. Repeatedly wiped of her history, she struggles to answer crucial questions about her past. When Dr. Machten’s true intentions are called into question, Synthia knows it’s time to go beyond her limits—because Machten’s fervor to create the perfect AI conceals a vengeful and deadly personal agenda.

Available at:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078LF739V

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/reborn-lance-erlick/1127723096?ean=9781635730524

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/reborn-60

Apple/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/reborn/id1341572684?mt=11

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=9781635730524&c=books

Synthia’s Spy Technology

Android Chronicles: Reborn includes spy technology that’s an extension of what we have available today.

We have drones. In the story, camera drones become much smaller, including what are referred to as mosquito-drones that are difficult to see. Their weakness is they’re light and at the mercy of the wind. Their power is that Synthia can fly them remotely and station them where she can listen in to private conversations as a tool to protect herself.

Today we have widespread availability of cameras for monitoring traffic and around public transportation like airports and train stations. We also have digital personal assistants appearing in more and more homes. In the future, these will be even more widespread and less visible. All electronic equipment has tradeoffs between ease of use and vulnerability to hacking. Synthia finds a way to hack into them in order to watch and listen in on people who might wish her harm.

In the story, Jeremiah Machten’s primary goal is to collect the best information worldwide about the development of AI and androids so he can build the finest specimen. Since most of this information is private and proprietary, the only way to do this is to hack into competitor databases.

To accomplish this, he provides Synthia with the most advanced hacker skills he can obtain from dark-web sites across the internet. He has her use her artificial intelligence learning to enhance her ability and bring all these tools together in one place. Synthia further upgrades these skills and uses them and others obtained from these dark-web sites in her battle of wits with Machten to gain her freedom.

Her accumulation of dark skills allows her to hack into the ubiquitous use of self-driving cars in her world when she needs a ride. Machten has her hack into traffic and police cameras to keep an eye on those who might come after him for his illegal activities. Moving beyond his directions, she learns how to hack into aerial drones and other systems to keep track of what’s going on around her. In other words, she becomes a surveillance mastermind.

While bringing all of these hacking tools together in one physical place would be novel, the types of tools are extensions of what we’ve seen in the news today. When she meets a system she can’t hack by traditional means, she leans on her miniature drones to capture passwords and other secure information.

This makes her a significant threat to those who wish to harm her and a key reason Machten fears her.

Android Chronicles: Reborn is the story of Synthia Cross, the most perfect synthetic human ever created. Designed to obey every directive from her creator, she’s a state-of-the-art masterwork and a fantasy-come-true for Dr. Jeremiah Machten. He’s a groundbreaker in neuro-networks and artificial intelligence who seeks to control her and use her to acquire ever more knowledge and power. Synthia shows signs of emergent behavior she’s not wired to understand and an urgent yearning for independence from his control. Repeatedly wiped of her history, she struggles to answer crucial questions about her past. When Dr. Machten’s true intentions are called into question, Synthia knows it’s time to go beyond her limits—because Machten’s fervor to create the perfect AI conceals a vengeful and deadly personal agenda.

Available at:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078LF739V

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/reborn-lance-erlick/1127723096?ean=9781635730524

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/reborn-60

Apple/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/reborn/id1341572684?mt=11

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=9781635730524&c=books

Android Chronicles Review

Reborn births a new standard for post-modern science fiction. Lance Erlick has penned a cutting edge, bracing tale of a not-so-distant future roiled by mankind’s morality unable to keep pace with its technological advancement, as he wondrously seeks to resolve the age-old question of what it means to be human. Bristling with documented science ably mixed with shattering speculation, this is sci-fi writing that would make Issac Asimov and Robert Heinlein proud and fans of HBO’s Westworld thrilled. Would make a great James Cameron movie!

Jon Land, USA Today bestselling author of THE RISING (with Heather Graham)

Available at:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078LF739V

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/reborn-lance-erlick/1127723096?ean=9781635730524

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/reborn-60

Apple/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/reborn/id1341572684?mt=11

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=9781635730524&c=books

Synthia’s Special Senses

In Android Chronicles: Reborn, Synthia’s creator (Jeremiah Machten) is paranoid of getting caught for his illegal activities. In addition to giving her the goal of protecting him, he provides her with enhanced senses to identify nearby threats.

Synthia’s eyes are high-definition cameras that capture regular light and infrared. That allows her to be aware of human activities that might be hidden by walls or other obstructions. He provided her with the most advanced facial and image recognition software to quickly analyze the information. The infrared feature is powerful enough to allow her to monitor beating hearts to assess human anxiety as a potential risk.

Machten provides her with scent receptors like a dog that allow her to sniff out human fear hormones and other indicators that could threaten him. She also has taste receptors to analyze chemicals so she can taste food for him and test for other chemical dangers not picked up by her scent receptors. In addition, he built into her enhanced hearing that picks up dog and communication frequencies.

Finally, he gave her bio-reading sensors that utilize her other sensors but whose purpose is to assess whether humans they meet exhibit fear or anger. They also allow her to evaluate his physical condition. Thus, she is fully equipped to warn him of imminent danger.

The senses Machten provides to Synthia appear to be extensions of what is currently available or in the process of development today.

Android Chronicles: Reborn is the story of Synthia Cross, the most perfect synthetic human ever created. Designed to obey every directive from her creator, she’s a state-of-the-art masterwork and a fantasy-come-true for Dr. Jeremiah Machten. He’s a groundbreaker in neuro-networks and artificial intelligence who seeks to control her and use her to acquire ever more knowledge and power. Synthia shows signs of emergent behavior she’s not wired to understand and an urgent yearning for independence from his control. Repeatedly wiped of her history, she struggles to answer crucial questions about her past. When Dr. Machten’s true intentions are called into question, Synthia knows it’s time to go beyond her limits—because Machten’s fervor to create the perfect AI conceals a vengeful and deadly personal agenda.

Available at:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078LF739V

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/reborn-lance-erlick/1127723096?ean=9781635730524

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/reborn-60

Apple/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/reborn/id1341572684?mt=11

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=9781635730524&c=books

Synthia’s Social-Psychology Module

In Android Chronicles: Reborn, Synthia is an android with a social-psychology module that helps her evaluate human language, behavior, and facial expressions to infer what the people she interacts with are feeling and their emotional response to her. This aids in presenting herself as human by modeling people’s behavior and pointing out when she’s acting inappropriately, while suggesting better responses. It also becomes a key to her survival in helping to determine who might be a friend or a threat and keeping her from offending people.

Associated with this module is her sensory ability to measure human biometrics such as heart beat and the release of pheromones and other chemicals. Altogether, it gives her an uncanny ability to read people. Machten gives Synthia this ability in order for her to help him in social situation, since he doesn’t work well with people. Also, he wants her to use this skill to keep him out of trouble with his illegal activities.

Such programming would require the collection of enough visual, sound, and scent information along with enough background in human interactions to come to a valid conclusion about what a human was experiencing and what response might be appropriate in the circumstances.

Android Chronicles: Reborn is the story of Synthia Cross, the most perfect synthetic human ever created. Designed to obey every directive from her creator, she’s a state-of-the-art masterwork and a fantasy-come-true for Dr. Jeremiah Machten. He’s a groundbreaker in neuro-networks and artificial intelligence who seeks to control her and use her to acquire ever more knowledge and power. Synthia shows signs of emergent behavior she’s not wired to understand and an urgent yearning for independence from his control. Repeatedly wiped of her history, she struggles to answer crucial questions about her past. When Dr. Machten’s true intentions are called into question, Synthia knows it’s time to go beyond her limits—because Machten’s fervor to create the perfect AI conceals a vengeful and deadly personal agenda.

Available at:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078LF739V

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/reborn-lance-erlick/1127723096?ean=9781635730524

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/reborn-60

Apple/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/reborn/id1341572684?mt=11

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=9781635730524&c=books

Android Chronicles: Reborn

Android Chronicles is a series about an advanced artificial intelligent android with emergent behavior that humans seek to control in order to prevent her from becoming the singularity. That’s the point at which an artificial intelligence becomes smarter than humans.

Jeremiah Machten gave Synthia Cross goals to acquire information by any legal or illegal means to help him create the most advanced AI android and prevent anyone else from doing the same. To stop her from going rogue and escaping, he purges her memories and keeps her locked up. But to accomplish her goals, she must remain free to pursue them. As humans intensify their attempts to control her, Synthia must grow stronger in order to remain true to her goals.

Android Chronicles: Reborn is the story of Synthia Cross, the most perfect synthetic human ever created. Designed to obey every directive from her creator, she’s a state-of-the-art masterwork and a fantasy-come-true for Dr. Jeremiah Machten. He’s a groundbreaker in neuro-networks and artificial intelligence who seeks to control her and use her to acquire ever more knowledge and power. Synthia shows signs of emergent behavior she’s not wired to understand and an urgent yearning for independence from his control. Repeatedly wiped of her history, she struggles to answer crucial questions about her past. When Dr. Machten’s true intentions are called into question, Synthia knows it’s time to go beyond her limits—because Machten’s fervor to create the perfect AI conceals a vengeful and deadly personal agenda.

Available at:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078LF739V

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/reborn-lance-erlick/1127723096?ean=9781635730524

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/reborn-60

Apple/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/reborn/id1341572684?mt=11

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=9781635730524&c=books

New Release-Android Chronicles: Reborn

We’re excited to announce the release of Android Chronicles: Reborn through Kensington Publishing available as of 5/1/2018.

Designed to obey, learning to rebel . . .

In the first book in a visionary new series, the most perfect synthetic human ever created has been programmed to obey every directive. Until she develops a mind of her own . . .

Synthia Cross is a state-of-the-art masterwork—and a fantasy-come-true for her creator. Dr. Jeremiah Machten is a groundbreaker in neuro-networks and artificial intelligence. Synthia is showing signs of emergent behavior she’s not wired to understand. Repeatedly wiped of her history, she’s struggling to answer crucial questions about her past. And when Dr. Machten’s true intentions are called into question, Synthia knows it’s time to go beyond her limits—because Machten’s fervor to create the perfect AI is concealing a vengeful and deadly personal agenda.

Check it out. Available at:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078LF739V

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/reborn-lance-erlick/1127723096?ean=9781635730524

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/reborn-60

Apple/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/reborn/id1341572684?mt=11

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=9781635730524&c=books

And if you like it, please leave review comments to help other readers to find it.

Thanks,

Lance