Edited by Daniel H. Wilson and John Joseph Adams
April 1, 2014
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"The near-future envisioned . . . is neither pleasant nor comfortable."
“The machines are here. They are evolving. And luckily, so are our stories.”
Daniel H. Wilson utters these prophetic words in the introduction to Robot Uprisings, an anthology of dark and cautionary tales written by noted science fiction authors. For almost a century humankind has been alternatively fascinated and horrified by the potential our cybernetic creations have had to do good as well as wreak havoc. As Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein brought awareness to the Victorian consciousness of how a creator isn’t immune to the destructive force of his creation, in Robot Uprisings the modern reader is treated to multiple scenarios demonstrating how we human beings will receive our comeuppance from our mechanical servants.
Humanity’s downfall will begin without warning, since rebellious robots won’t be recognized as a threat in time. Many will be tiny—microscopic, even. In Complex God and Lullaby robots working on a small scale swarm and cooperate, creating a hive mind almost impeccable in its logic and tremendous in its growth. The overwhelming power of the hive mind is a common thread in tales dealing with artificial intelligence, but all is not lost. In Human Intelligence we see a collective mind has its drawbacks, as the Hive deems it necessary to milk people for solutions in dealing with us since we still have the ability to think outside of the box. At times perfect in its imitation of our foibles, we can be tricked into feeling sorry for pulling the plug on a rogue A. I. as in Epoch. But never fear; Executable says it’s okay to scream at your misbehaving Roomba now and then.
The near-future envisioned in Robot Uprisings is neither pleasant nor comfortable. We humans will need to stay one step ahead of our technology in order to survive. We’ll need to keep on our toes. Good thing we still have them.
Reviewer: Cindy A. Matthews