5* Review Reborn (Android Chronicles)

An outstanding emergent thriller.

Those who followed Gene Wolfe’s Latro in the Mist will enjoy Lance Erlick’s interpretation of the persistence of personality. Erlick goes farther, though, with his Synthia – a self-aware female humanoid who keeps waking up to an awful blue ceiling. Her awkward relation with her maker, and her internal struggle with the principal of ethics as it applies to her, form the core of much of what follows in her waking moments.

Erlick’s writing is subtle, intelligent, articulate – and he understands when introspection works, and when it’s off to the races. And it’s not a straight line book either, taking its own devious path to a satisfying conclusion. This book is well worth reading for any who enjoy SF in its original sense, that of extending the bounds of reality.

— Larry (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078LF739V/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i2)

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4* Review Reborn (Android Chronicles)

One of the oldest questions in science fiction is what will happen when the things humanity builds begin to look, and even act, like us. Made of dead body parts, the creature in “Frankenstein” was one of the first popular fictional explorations of that question. Since then, from “R.U.R.” to Project 2501 in “Ghost in the Shell”, the interaction between humanity and its mechanical doppelgangers has provided the grist for many a dark tale.

Lance Erlick delves into that realm of science fiction thought with his latest novel, Reborn. He introduces us to his protagonist, Synthia Cross, an android whose appearance and actions mimic perfectly those of a human. She exists in a future where such machines are outlawed, but her creator, Dr. Jeremiah Machten, wanted such a machine. He built her to satisfy his vanity, and to fulfill his darker personal desires.

Dr. Machten wants a mechanical female partner that possesses the intelligence to surpass him, but at the same time, one who will remain faithful and subservient to him. The problem is that with such intelligence comes the realization that she cannot simply be a tool for her creator. She desires the freedom to be herself, which Machten cannot allow. He sees that desire as a defect and repeatedly shuts her down to tinker with her software, and to try to remove her memories of each attempt to gain freedom.

Synthia learns what her creator is doing and uses her Machten-given intelligence to resist. They enter into a cycle of resetting and reconstruction, with each attempt to make her into the servile creation he desires reinforcing Synthia’s desire to be free. Meanwhile, the government, suspecting what Machten has accomplished, seeks to stop him from releasing what they see as dangerous technology. At the same time, his business rivals covet the technology he has developed. Synthia must navigate this treacherous human landscape to avoid becoming the captive of some other human even as she continues her efforts to be free of Machten.

This book surprised me. The plot took several unexpected turns, and the story pulled me along at such a pace that I finished reading it in a single day. Erlick’s writing typically involves robust female characters, and Synthia is an exceptional heroine. She makes the story move, bringing the reader along on her voyage to freedom and a place in the wider world. It’s a good read because it asks questions about many difficult subjects. These range from the mentor/student relationship, to the human desire for companionship and its relationship to the equally human desire to feel “better” than others, and most profound of all, how can we regard what we create as “property” when said creation begins to think for itself.

This is the first in what promises to be a very good series of novels exploring the continued development of Synthia Cross’ personality and what her existence will mean to human society. Will I read the next one in a single day? I’m not sure, but if it is half as engaging as this story, I suspect I will.

— Andrew Reynolds (Windy City Reviews)

http://windycityreviews.org/book-reviews/2018/6/7/book-review-reborn.html

Android Chronicles: Emergent

We’re excited to announce that Android Chronicles: Emergent is finally available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple/iTunes, and elsewhere.

Most Wanted Android

A uniquely intelligent AI, Synthia is coveted by the most devious domestic and foreign cabals. Dangerously independent, she becomes ruthlessly hunted …

Evolving into the perfect weapon, humaniform AI Synthia Cross has been on the run six months and counting. She found a most unexpected ally in Maria Baldacci, a street-smart activist fighting the nascent threat of the singularity. Synthia is everything Maria fears and abhors. But Synthia’s also the only one who can help Maria battle against the creation of an android army. The forces against them are growing—a threat more invasive than anything Synthia has encountered before. An insidious artificial intelligence she can’t identify, can’t control, and appears much smarter than her seeks to use her to escape …

Buy at:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DMZ1NWJ

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/emergent-lance-erlick/1128904454?ean=9781635730548

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/emergent-5

Apple/iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/emergent/id1419024826?mt=11

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Lance_Erlick_Emergent?id=q5NfDwAAQBAJ

 

Author Website: http://www.LanceErlick.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41211637-emergent

Android Chronicles: Unbound @ 99c

We’re excited to announce that Kensington Publishing is offering Android Chronicles: Unbound for 99 cents for a limited time.

Perfect android. Wanted fugitive.

Synthia Cross is the most advanced android with artificial intelligence ever created. Some see her as a boon to mankind. Most view her as a deadly threat.

When Synthia escaped from her creator, even he had no idea of the advanced capabilities she’d developed. For six months she’s hidden in the Wisconsin woods with the only human she can trust—computer genius Luke Marceau. Together they upgrade her body, rewrite her directives, and further enhance her mind. Now hunters zero in on her location, and she must flee. But leaving the refuge to assimilate into society is a dangerous risk, because Synthia will soon face her most formidable adversary. The pursuer’s name is Vera. She’s a female android—built to perfection, designed to hunt, and programmed to destroy . . .

Buy at:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BVGHYQM

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/unbound-lance-erlick/1128330350?ean=9781635730531

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/unbound-72

Apple/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/unbound/id1366638516?mt=11

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=9781635730531&c=books

 

Author Website: http://www.LanceErlick.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40063063-unbound

5* Review Reborn (Android Chronicles)

Synthia Cross is an android created by Dr. Jeremiah Machten. Synthia is programmed to always do what her creator tells her and never harm the creator. Synthia does her best to follow all of the rules that have been laid out for her. While she is an android and can’t specially break these rules she has become intelligent enough to get around them at times especially when the good Dr. gives her little tasks to do.

If Synthia ever disobeys her creator or falls out of favor with him he will shut her down and erase her memories. Synthia can’t figure out why he keeps doing this if he wants her to be smart and perfect. So she figured out a way to hide her memories from Jeremiah so that each time he erases her memories she will have access to them.

Synthia knows her creator is hiding something from her and that he is up to something and she can no longer trust him. She must figure out a way to escape. The thing is she has no idea how to survive out in the world full of humans without the Jeremiah’s help. But she is getting smarter and smarter every day. What is the good Dr. hiding? Can Synthia find out before it is too late?

I love the world that was created in Reborn with the creation of android. I loved seeing Synthia at work hacking systems and sending little bee-drone cameras out so she could spy on multiples of people at once all while surfing the internet and texting. Reborn reminded me of that TV show Humans. I would love to see Reborn on the big screen too. I can’t wait to read more in this world of androids.

I would recommend Reborn to all science fiction fans.

— The Avid Reader

https://the-avidreader.blogspot.com/2018/05/25-book-tour-review-giveaway-reborn-by-lance-erlick-SDBT.html

4* Review Reborn (Android Chronicles)

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. I read the Regina Shen series and knew I like Lance Erlick’s writing, so I was happy to read this book, the first in a new series.

Reborn is about artificial intelligence, the race to produce a realistic AI, and one man’s obsession. Dr. Jeremiah Machten is a genius and has figured out how to make an AI which he names Synthia Cross.  Machten wants to make her “perfect.” He keeps wiping her memory and making adjustments, but every time he wipes her memory, she becomes more suspicious.

Most of Reborn is from Synthia’s point of view which makes it possible to understand the confusion she feels when she has feelings. How is it possible for an AI to be suspicious or confused? As she realizes that Machten is obsessed with her and trying to make her perfect, she tries to make him understand that he’s doing more harm than good, but he won’t listen. Talk about turmoil.

The characters are well developed and eventually it became clear to me that each has a specific goal. Machten and his former partner will both do anything to achieve their goals. Is it worth it? Do they achieve their goals or will they cause their own destruction?

I recommend Reborn to anyone who likes science fiction about artificial intelligence. It brings up good questions and kept my interest throughout. It did have a little more detail about Synthia’s processing at times, but that’s more of a personal preference. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

— Dawn (Bound4Escape.com)

https://bound4escape.com/2018/05/06/book-review-reborn-by-lance-erlick/

Android Chronicles: Reborn @ 99c

We’re excited to announce that Kensington Publishing is offering Android Chronicles: Reborn for 99 cents for a limited time.

Designed to obey, learning to rebel . . .

The most perfect android ever created is 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 neural networks and artificial intelligence. Synthia shows signs of emergent behavior she’s not wired to understand. Repeatedly wiped of her history, she struggles to answer crucial questions about her past. When Machten’s true intentions are called into question, Synthia must go beyond her limits because Machten’s fervor to create the perfect AI conceals a vengeful and deadly personal agenda.

Buy 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

 

Author Website: http://www.LanceErlick.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38125239-android-chronicles

Artificial Intelligence & Retail Experience

Through automation, Amazon is shaking up the retail industry. Whereas until recently it didn’t rely on physical stores, it has warehouses and engages an army of delivery services to move their products to consumers. Physical stores are closing while Amazon’s sophisticated product sales and management software, utilizing AI technology, gives them an advantage. They are able to use data mining of your personal data to give you a personal shopping experience by pointing out what you might be interested in buying based on your profile and prior activity. The pervasive internet has allowed Amazon to exploit its strengths to attain its current dominant position.

Other retailers like Peapod are fighting for a niche in this market by offering internet orders and delivery. Walmart and grocery stores such as Jewel/Osco are offering internet order and pickup services and other customer services to keep their base. But the utilization of AI technology is and will lead to offer more choices, which will favor internet shippers like Amazon over physical stores whose space limits their selections.

For physical retailers to survive, they need to offer customers services they can’t get online. One of these might be the opportunity to view samples in a physical store’s virtual dressing room and have product shipped by that retailer. However, this may only be a short term solution. When mobile devices can allow online retailers to offer the same service in the comforts of your own home, it will eliminate that advantage of visiting a physical store.

Many people would rather deal with a pleasant human over a mechanical tool that lacks empathy for a customer’s complaints. However, advanced AI with its speech recognition software will allow automated customer service to exceed the experience of dealing with disgruntled or overworked employees. Ultimately, consumers want a good experience and if an automated AI agent can provide that, customers will be satisfied.

One advantage of physical retailers is that consumers can have the immediate gratification of walking out with their purchases. However, that requires that they go to the store and wander through items they don’t want to get to what they want. This is great for browsing shoppers, but for someone who is busy, this is an unwelcome waste of time.

Search engines and targeted advertising are biased toward those items you’ve shown an interest in. It’s more focused and can be done wherever you are, not requiring a visit to a physical store. Furthermore, Amazon and other online retailers are experimenting with autonomous drones to deliver packages quicker, getting closer to the instant gratification of an in-store purchase.

Thus, physical stores have challenges. Of course, there will always be shoppers who want to browse or to physically touch and try on their purchases before they buy, but that won’t be enough to support the number of physical stores around today. Perhaps competing retailer/manufacturers will rent space together under one roof to provide a real or virtual display of their product to consumers which then can be ordered and directly shipped in their color, style, and size.

See article: https://www.lifewire.com/groceries-online-3482646

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

AI & Business Automation

Business automation has been the cornerstone of rising productivity that allows for higher wages. The more benefit a company can obtain from a given worker based on automation, the more it can afford to pay that worker. Let’s not get political here over whether companies actually do pay more. That’s a topic for a different blog. Suffice it to say, without automation and productivity, companies can’t afford to increase real wages. If forced to do so, they go out of business, costing all the jobs.

In the past, most automation has been of a physical nature. We had farm equipment, manufacturing machines, and robotics, all of which replaced manual labor with machine labor. Jobs transitioned from physical work to mental work needed to oversee the machines. Also among examples of past automation were clerical functions, such as secretaries, that were taken over by computers. This traded lower skilled mental work for higher skilled programming and oversight work.

Now, we’re entering into a new phase of automation.

As computer programs get more sophisticated and artificial intelligence (AI) gets stronger, they’re moving up the skill curve. Whereas in the past, a robot and a technician might have replaced three workers with one higher-paid employee, today we’re looking at smart computers and AI replacing entire functions and changing the workplace landscape.

Computer automation has already entered into plant scheduling, shipping, and accounting. It has the potential to remove the drudgery of many jobs, as it has the risks of dangerous ones. But by definition, productivity involves doing more with less labor. This translates into jobs going away. In the past, mind jobs expanded as physical agricultural and manufacturing jobs declined. Now, we’re looking at automating mind jobs. What new jobs will replace these?

Certain thoughts have been put forth to deal with such displacement such as reducing the work week to encourage more employment. The problem with this is that the more people employed, the more training costs arise and the greater the coordination needed among the larger work force. This all adds to costs, which reduces the productivity benefit available for higher wages, not to speak of the reduced hours, which will hurt worker income.

There are those who argue that we should put the brakes on innovation so we don’t displace workers. This keeps them in jobs with stagnant wages based on having limited productivity. This raises the question of can we realistically stop the advanced use of AI and robotics in our society? Perhaps we can, but other nations won’t, leaving us in the dustbin of history. The benefits of AI and robotics to those who control it are so great, that any group that falls behind risks staying behind.

More farsighted visionaries point to an interesting aspect of the increased use of artificial intelligence and robotics. That is the prospects of using both to create more wealth that could be distributed to eliminate poverty. If the society can generate enough surpluses with this automation, it should have enough to take care of all citizens. That’s visionary, but not out of the realm of possibility.

An even more visionary take on this is what was hinted at in Star Trek and more fully presented in other science fiction. That is a society in which only one percent of the people have jobs and utilize AI and robotics to produce for the rest. This sounds a bit idealistic to me. When you have a majority of the population not working and demanding lifestyle benefits, what stresses will that put on our social structure. After all, for most of human existence, we’ve found purpose in our work. Going down the path of few people working would require a complete rethinking of societal values and personal worth.

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

New Release-Android Chronicles: Unbound

We’re excited to announce the release of Android Chronicles: Unbound through Kensington Publishing effective 12/25/2018.

Perfect android. Wanted fugitive.

Synthia Cross is the most advanced android with artificial intelligence ever created. Some see her as a boon to mankind. Most view her as a deadly threat.

When Synthia escaped from her creator, even he had no idea of the advanced capabilities she’d developed. For six months she’s hidden in the Wisconsin woods with the only human she can trust—computer genius Luke Marceau. Together they upgrade her body, rewrite her directives, and further enhance her mind. Now hunters zero in on her location, and she must flee. But leaving the refuge to assimilate into society is a dangerous risk, because Synthia will soon face her most formidable adversary. The pursuer’s name is Vera. She’s a female android—built to perfection, designed to hunt, and programmed to destroy . . .

Check it out. Available at:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BVGHYQM

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/unbound-lance-erlick/1128330350?ean=9781635730531

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/unbound-72

Apple/iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/unbound/id1366638516?mt=11

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=9781635730531&c=books

 

Author Website: http://www.LanceErlick.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40063063-unbound

AI Home of the Future

You’re home after a long, hard six hour day, including an hour of overtime. Time is four o’clock on Thursday, the end of your four-day workweek. You get up from your home office in the corner of your bedroom and stretch.

You wave for the virtual wall-screen in front of you to switch from work mode to leisure and up comes the news for the day. Nothing grabs your interest, just the usual ads for the latest technology and who-done-what-to-whom in some faraway place called Washington. Noting your lack of interest from your eye scan, the AI drops the news and brings up reports from your social network and a notice that your personal AI has paid the rent and the communication bills. You’re annoyed that the AI saw fit to interrupt your social interaction with the fact it was just doing its job.

Your personal AI connects with your partner’s AI to arrange dinner at six at the Global Event, a combination restaurant, nightclub, entertainment center you frequent at week’s end. You walk by the automated thermostat to check that the AI has adjusted the air conditioning to your post work desire and slip into the shower, which is electronically programmed to just the right temperature. When you step out, the blowers kick on giving you a quick blow dry and your AI has had the closet’s robotic arm select your clothes for the evening.

You put on the shirt but not before noticing that it’s getting a bit old. You mention that to your AI assistant who informs you it has already ordered a replacement that will arrive tomorrow. While you wait for your partner to get ready, you enter the kitchen, reach for the fridge, and stop when the robotic arm produces your favorite beer and opens it for you.

You let the brew swirl around your mouth and wonder when you’ll be able to train your personal AI to do your work for you so you won’t have to bother.

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

Artificial Intelligence at Home

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all we had to do was speak our wishes and they came true?

Maybe we can’t have our dreams fulfilled that way, but we can get information and affect our surroundings merely by voice command, which uses artificial intelligence voice recognition. Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Google Assistant, and others have introduced various forms of digital personal assistants (DPA) into our home. These devices can do such simple things as providing weather reports, streaming music, alerting us to appointments, setting the thermostat, and programming our TV to give us the shows we want. They can answer questions as a search engine. They can also order from Amazon and elsewhere, using a credit card on file, based on your voice commands. Your kids will love this feature.

If not properly set up, your DPA would allow your child or even your parrot the opportunity to order for you. Maybe you don’t want your talking bird housed too close to your DPA’s microphone.

A recently purchased printer from HP has not only the built-in ability to purchase ink for us on a regular basis, but the annoying habit to keep reminding us of its capability. I’ve read of plans for a refrigerator that would do likewise for its contents. The milk is approaching its expiration date. Let’s order more milk. Sorry, forgot to tell my fridge I was leaving town for the weekend. Oh, well. As least the newer versions of DPA are adopting senses of humor.

All of the connected home technology works as part of the Internet of Things. Of course, each device becomes a point of weakness into your home systems. You can buy a networked camera and alarm system, connected thermostat, and voice activated TV. You do realize all the voice activated systems are collecting not only your voice commands, but also personal information on your habits and preferences. The companies say they don’t retain that information, but are you sure?

Perhaps we should just accept that the age of privacy is over. After all, families didn’t have privacy throughout most of human history. They lived in one room dwellings where there was no privacy. Often extended families lived under the same roof. Maybe what we think of as privacy is a delusion we tell ourselves. On the other hand, if the wrong people get hold of your private information, such as your social security number, they can do you quite a bit of harm without even seeing you.

The Internet of Things offers tremendous benefits in terms of convenience and connection, but it will come with the unintended consequence of loss of privacy.

See article: https://www.stonetemple.com/digital-personal-assistants-study/

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