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July 9, 2007 | by  | in Books |
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How to Survive a Robot Uprising

In space, nobody can hear you scream. True or false? If you answered true, well, I’m afraid that come the inevitable robot uprising, you are going to die. Or, at the very least, be subjugated by lethal artificial intelligences and made a slave for the entirety of your puny biological lifespan. Because in space, robots can hear you scream. Or something. I can’t remember exactly, as I was too busy laughing and warily eyeing the toaster.

According to Daniel H.Wilson, the creator of How to Survive a Robot Uprising, it’s only a matter of time before our kindly, subservient machines attain sentience, organise themselves, and wipe us all out.

And if anyone should know, it’s Wilson. With a Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University, his credentials are impeccable to say the least.

Luckily for humanity, Wilson has decided to share his knowledge of all things robotic, and, if enough people read his book, perhaps a few will survive to continue the human race. With handy tips on how to spot the first signs of machine rebellion, treat laser wounds, and live safely in rogue smart houses (be wary of requests to ‘inspect’ the oven), Wilson’s book is a witty, informative and vitally important read.

As well as the humour, and ubiquitous pop-culture references, How to Survive a Robot Uprising, has just enough actual science to remain interesting, even after the jokes start to wear a little thin.

With simple explanations of how robots accomplish everyday tasks such as acquiring visual data, steering, navigation, and dismembering human limbs, the book can serve as a (very) basic introduction to the field of robotics and artificial intelligence in general.

The retro-future illustrations and diagrams add to the laughs, while the shiny foil cover not only looks good, but can be used to reflect laser beams if necessary. A must-have volume for committed survivalists, geeks, and sci-fi fans.

DANIEL H. WILSON

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