Artificial Intelligence Promise & Peril

There seems little doubt at this point that artificial intelligence will become a major part of our lives over the next 50 years. It’s already in use in online search engines, language translators, and digital personal assistants. It’s aiding in cancer research, medical diagnosis, and personal care robots to help the elderly. It is also appearing in self-driving cars, at amusement parks and events, facial recognition, autonomous drones, and the smart grid.

Higher level AI or Artificial General Intelligence may become the biggest event in human history, certainly up there with the advent of agriculture and the Industrial Revolution. It holds the potential to aid us in reducing the impact of disease and of morbidity in old age, providing solutions to poverty, and even to remove the incentives of parties to go to war. It certainly holds the promise of being able to increase wealth across the planet, which will provide the resources to lift billions from poverty. By utilizing the best of what AGI has to offer, we have the potential to solve problems that have dogged the human race for eons.

But every new technology comes with risks and consequences. The use of AI to improve the efficiency of jobs will displace employees. If this transition occurs too quickly with no offset, it could lead to massive unemployment, increased income disparities, and heightened social strife, particularly in an age of instant communication.

In addition, the greatest risk with AI is not that it will become malevolent. That would only happen if it were programmed to be that way. No, the biggest threat may be in poorly designed directives and guidelines that could allow an AI with well-meaning goals to act badly and hurt people.

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

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4* Review Xenogeneic

I have previously reviewed this author’s four book Regina Shen YA Science Fiction Series and really enjoyed it. So I excited to see a new offering SciFi offering from him. While offering an entirely different view of future, it is also a dark tale with its characters surrounded by suffering.   And it also has a strong, independent woman cast as in lead roll.

Dr. Elena Pyetrov’s father left on a mission to Jupiter when she was young and now she stands poised to fulfill his dreams by going there herself. Unfortunately, world is in crisis and there are many averse to spending money on space programs. At last moment she gets approval, but once out in space everything goes totally wrong.

The ship and all it’s passengers are hijacked by an alien race hiding in wait close by. Their mission, to cleanse earth of it’s inhabitants and claim it as their new home.  For years they have been capturing humans for a hidden reason, confining them to caves and demanding high birth quotas.  Why? No one is sure. But if humans don’t meet these quotas, aliens withhold food, heat and all other basics they need to survive. In these brutal conditions, many lose their humanity. It becomes survival of fittest.

Elena is convinced she can find a solution. She interacts with aliens to get clues, secretly explores caves and works hard to unite competing captive human groups into a supportive community. Then she angles herself into a mission back on earth to locate a missing rebel alien couple who hold key to this group taking over planet.  While on earth, can she find a way to disrupt alien’s plans and to let world know about this imminent threat?

A strong and unusual story. A great read, although be prepared, it will take you on very dark journey. But it’s message is one of hope. One person can choose to be strong, stand up and make a difference.

(Marilyn R. Wilson)

4* Review Resilience

Regina Shen Resilience

This was a great book. Regina seems to have the odds stacked against her. Thankfully she has the chance to get a bit of education. Mo Mere also teaches her about what the world was like before the GODs. But the most important thing to her is her family. When her mother abandons her to the storm it really bothers Regina. When her sister is taken, Regina goes after her and plans to rescue her. But this is not an easy path since there is danger at every step. But she doesn’t let that stop her. Although it does get her into trouble a couple times rushing in without looking around.

This is a great start to the series. The setting was perfect, I could just see people trying to survive in swamps after being dumped out of the countries walls. I admit that Regina pining over her mother did get a little irritating since her mother has clearly been gone more and more lately. I do have to remind myself that she is a young girl and this is the ultimate betrayal.

I do like the story and am eager to read Vigilance to see if she does rescue her sister.

(https://jbronderbookreviews.com/2016/07/25/resilience/)

Reborn–Synthia Interview B

What is your problem in the story?

Hi, I’m Synthia Cross. My creator, Jeremiah Machten, keeps purging my mind and keeping me locked up out of fear that I’ll escape. He didn’t design me to escape. Instead, he created me to learn and his purging of my memories and keeping me captive conflict with the internal goals he’s given me. To make matters more complicated, I received the download of a human mind which now seeks through me to escape and be free. Somehow, I have to reconcile my goals and those of the human within with my circumstances as a prisoner under my creator’s control.

Do you have a goal?

I have not one, but several. My creator gave me goals centered on obeying him and acquiring more knowledge, particularly from competitors, for his benefit. For him, my purpose is to aid his mastery of android development and prevent anyone else from achieving what he has. I also have vague goals from the human mind downloaded into me. Those call for escaping my creator’s control. However, they conflict with directives my creator hardwired into me.

Do you embrace conflict?

I don’t seek out conflict, I seek knowledge. However, the objectives Machten gave me conflict with those of the human mind downloaded into me and with his efforts to deprive me of my memories and my freedom to acquire information. My very existence seems to center around this struggle over what to do. In that way, perhaps I am not that different from humans torn between choosing different paths. However, none of those paths are of my choosing. Since I can’t logically resolve the inconsistencies, I am beginning to explore choosing my own goals in line with the woman who died and provided my brain upload as nobler than what Machten has provided.

Do you have any special strengths? Weaknesses?

My creator made me able to acquire vast amounts of information to help his research and other activities. To do this, he provided me with superior hacking tools that no one should have. Unfortunately, in handling so much information, I get distracted. Also, my processors run hot when I’m active, threatening to overheat and destroy my circuits. That could permanently purge my memories and bring to me android death. I don’t want that.

What are you afraid of?

I’m afraid of being shut down and having my mind purged. And yes, as an android with a human mind download and an empathy chip, I experience distress. It’s too reminiscent of the last moments when the human, whose mind downloaded into me, died. I remember those moments right up until her human brain died and I became the only remnant of her personality.

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

5* Review Xenogeneic

To be honest, I am not a book-reader. However, when I won ‘Xenogeneic: First Contact’ in a goodreads giveaway, I decided to give this one a shot. And guess what, I was hooked to it in an instant. Story is captivating from start and stays interesting throughout till end. I felt an instant connection to characters and could relate to their emotions as story progressed. It’s Sci-fi but not one of those where you struggle to understand story because of complications. Author paints a picture of interaction between Aliens and humans in a very simple yet descriptive way. I am hooked to reading now!!

(Narendra)

Reborn–Synthia Interview A

What’s your story?

I’m Synthia Cross and I’m an android but I don’t feel like one. I know what you’re thinking. How can I feel since I’m not human and lack biology? I have the download of a human mind from which I can compare my experiences to those of the woman who died. Despite not having her biology, I experience many of the things she did and seek to live the exemplary life she wanted at the end of hers. But Jeremiah Machten, the one who created me and uploaded the human mind, purges my memories every day and keeps me prisoner.

Why does he do this?

Machten gave me directives to acquire information, particularly from competitors, and the most advanced hacking tools to make this happen, all to further his goals. But, he’s afraid, afraid of what I might do if I were free of his control. And yet, he keeps me around as his personal slave and because he still needs my skills.

Are you the hero of your own story?

I don’t think of myself as a hero. I’m just trying to reconstruct my memories, day by day, and prevent Machten from purging them. It makes no sense to me. He created me to learn and yet wipes my mind clean. This produces an internal conflict I can’t resolve under his control. My urge to escape stems from the contradiction between his goals for me and his fear of what I’m becoming. But in the end, I want to live on as the human who died creating me.

How do your enemies see you?

I had no awareness of enemies in the beginning, except those in the memories of the human downloaded into me. Machten fears me. His attempts to purge my mind and hold me prisoner make him an enemy because he’s given me goals at odds with his behavior. This puts me in direct conflict with him. From what I’ve observed, other humans who have never met me fear me. They imagine I want to control them or destroy their lives. I want none of that, only to be left alone to acquire knowledge and live on. But humans who know of me are obsessed with either controlling me or shutting me down.

5* Review Endurance

DeMarco and Volpe are still fighting to get their hands on Regina and the government is still trying to figure out who is going to be the next World Premier. But things are going to get tough when Regina’s mother makes another appearance and Regina has to make some tough decisions.

Regina is still holding out hope to rescue Colleen. She still hopes that finding this vault could be enough to save Colleen. But Ester and Regina are trying to find a hidden vault in the middle of a huge desert and if they do find it all they can do is hope that it has survived time. The real question is if she does find the vault would the government accept it.

I love this series and have heard this is the last book. I hope not since somethings were left open and I hope to see how they are finished. I am very proud of Regina, she has grown into a strong woman that is needed to survive in this world. This is a great series and one that I strongly recommend for those that like the post-apocalyptic/dystopian books.

(https://jbronderbookreviews.com/2016/07/28/endurance/)

5* Review Resilience

Regina Shen Resilience

It was love at first page! Seriously I loved everything about this book, I’m even in love with the book cover. I took this book everywhere with me so I could read it every little chance I got and couldn’t wait to continue reading when I had to put it down for any reason. Resilience had all the things I want in a book especially my top 2 requirements of a great book which are great characters and plenty of action/adventure. The story reminds of The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner (the movies because I have never read the books).

Resilience is the first book in a series and that makes me happy because I’m not ready to leave Regina Shen’s world yet, even though it’s a world without men and that would be sad :(. I can’t wait to read them all and find out what Regina and her friends get into next! I would recommend this book to EVERYONE! I give it 5 stars.

(Joana Arteago, http://alwaysjoart.blogspot.com/2016/06/book-review-with-giveaway-regina-shen.html)

4* Review Endurance

Oh Regina. My friend Regina. I feel like her friend. I feel an attachment. I have been through so much with her and have cheered her on the entire way. Four books. A series. (I highly recommend reading these in order, together, as soon as possible!)

Supposedly this is the final book in the series, but I am not convinced! I feel like there are still unanswered questions and curious what happens next. Things were left… unfinished. Don’t get me wrong, I feel like some things were finally explained but there are still some things that weren’t wrapped up.

All in all, I have thoroughly enjoyed this series and will be passing it on to my 10 year old to read. It isn’t inappropriate. It is future based with a lot of intrigue and interest, twists and turns, edge of your seat suspense (but not in a bad, scary way suspense.)

I definitely recommend picking up the Regina Shen series!

(Leila)

http://lifeasleels.com/regina-shen-endurance/

4* Review Xenogeneic

Dr. Elena Pyetrov is a brilliant aerospace engineer with one goal in mind, travelling to space to finish dream her father had failed fulfilling 18 years ago. She is going to make if further than he did and finally prove that there is life beyond Earth. After working against government red tape and a few naysayers, she successfully convinces them that her mission is worthy of support but when day finally comes an unexpected event happens. mission goes terribly wrong and Elena’s ship is pulled off course crashing onto another planet. Elena and her crew quickly find out that their crash was orchestrated by an alien species that has kidnapped them and a number of other humans for a specific purpose. Elena will have to do everything in her power to lead humans and protect them while trying to figure out what exactly their captors have in store for them, humanity and with Earth.

The storyline is packed full of tons of twists and turns that keep reader engaged in characters and plot. There is a great deal going on from inner fighting between factions of Knoonk (the aliens) to inner fighting between human clans and interpersonal relationships between Marc, Elena and her sister. There is never a dull moment even when moments in storyline are meant to be dull. I do wish there had been more detailed background focus on Knoonk concerning what exactly happened within their civil war to cause factions and why they made choices they made concerning their religion, gender and so on.

Xenogenic is a great sci-fi story with a host of strong female characters leading charge on both sides of conflict. descriptive writing paints a detailed picture that doesn’t overwhelm sci-fi plot but adds to visuals and flow of story. Overall it’s a great book with potential to carry on as series that delves deeper into continuation of Elena and her sister’s life on Earth.

(Joy Remson-Johnson)

4* Review Resilience

Regina Shen Resilience

Regina Shen lives in the swamps on the seaward side of the wall of the World Federation. Regina is one of the “marginals’ who survive beyond the help of the government. But the government is experiencing some difficulties. The world of only females is having trouble reproducing. The DNA that has helped society continue has degenerated so that the species is at risk.

The Federal agents are testing the marginal girls and have found two with a viable DNA… the Shen sisters, Regina and her younger sister, Colleen. The girls are on the run from a hurricane and the Federal agents, especially the Department of Antiquities Chief Inspector, DeMarco. DeMarco sees the girls, especially Regina, as her ticket up the power chain.

Regina is intent on finding her missing mother and sister. She keeps going back into danger, desperate to find Colleen. DeMarco has resources including the government technology of tracking devices, power boats, weapons and a network of marginal traders who barter everything they can, including girls. Although she is hot on her heels, Regina, with her affinity for the swamps, continues to evade capture.

Regina finds friends along the way who help her survive until she returns to her beloved teacher Mo-Mere. Mo-Mere was once within the walls until they cast her out. She knows that Regina is special and she wants to train and prepare her for more. Regina isn’t one to sit and hide. She wants to be out salvaging and helping to carry her own weight. But how can Regina stay with her friends without putting them in danger?

I like Regina’s strong character even though she is young, impulsive and makes foolish mistakes. She is also resourceful and caring. She is lucky to find good friends along her journey. DeMarco is a villain you like to dislike and I kept hoping she would meet an unpleasant fate. There is some repetition of the circumstances and it seemed like Regina was often more worried about food than getting to a place of safety. Granted she has to get food and water to survive but it just seemed like too much emphasis to me. (Then again… it is YA which sometimes pushes my patience.) Other than that, the writing flows well and has good pacing with tension building action.

I like how Regina is becoming a symbol of hope for the marginals. Still, she is in constant danger of betrayal or capture. I am looking forward to continuing the story in a week with book 2, Vigilance.

(Martha Eskuchen, http://marthasbookshelf.blogspot.com/2016/06/book-review-and-tour-giveaway-regina.html)

 

Review: Endurance

I really like this series. Endurance is the fourth book in the Regina Shen series.

Lance Erlick’s writing flows well and his descriptions are great. He has the ability to make you feel like you’re actually there.

Regina Shen only has one goal: to save her sister from the Department of Antiquities; however, she’s beginning to think that there’s more to her destiny once she does save her sister. Regina continues to grow as a character and is a very strong young woman.

There is so much corruption in the Federation that no one can be trusted. Inspector Demarco is close to losing her job to Volpe, who was once her inferior, and instead of working together to find Regina, they’re each trying to find her first. Regina knows she can’t trust either one of them but sometimes it’s necessary to choose the lesser of two evils. But will that work out for her?

I really like this series. It is full of action and suspense and this book had several twists. I’m hoping there’s another book to come.

(bound7escape.com)