by James Rollins reunites the Sigma Force team in this thrilling
story. Released just after the holidays this plot is anything
but merry. But readers of Rollins are used to a roller coaster
ride where they get plenty of action blended with cutting
edge science, historical mystery, and the latest technologies.
"It has been on my mind for a while to write a story
surrounding artificial intelligence. I made sure to read the
contrary view that question if AI is a threat. Certain hurdles
need to be crossed to bring about a self-aware human-like
AI. Their position is that this technology will happen. Of
those two dozen experts, I interviewed the consensus is that
it will happen in five to ten years because of the rapid advances.
Two of the researchers thought we have already gone there.
It is not an if, but a when. I use as an example, the story
of AlphaGo, the first computer program to defeat a human.
It played the board game, Go. The next generation self-taught
itself in three days and also beat his big brother, the original
version of the program. I think this book is written for the
It is Christmas Eve where the Sigma Force friends are gathering
to have a joyous holiday. But Monk Kokkalis and Gray Pierce
find their holiday spirits quickly dampened after returning
to Monk's house in Maryland. The Christmas Tree is toppled,
Kat, the computer expert of the group, is lying unconscious
on the kitchen floor, and Monk's two young girls have been
kidnapped, along with Gray's pregnant wife, Seichan. This
happened shortly after a massacre in Portugal where five women
scientists have been brutally massacred. Also missing is Mara
Silviera who was making advances in artificial intelligence
research. She is on the run, protecting herself and her computer's
life. Gray, Monk, and company set out to find Mara after realizing
that she is the key to finding their loved ones and also to
Rollins noted, "Eve, the computer, matured from a narrow
AI to AGI then eventually to ASI. I based her on the book
Flowers for Algernon that was made into the movie "Charley."
Over the course of time, his vocabulary increases multifold.
Intellectually, he surpasses the average person's language.
There is math on one of the pages of my book to show how Eve
goes beyond scientifically the human understanding, just as
Charley had done in the movie. I gave her a double personality
where she is split between dark and light. The one cared for
by Mara nurtures and protects humans, while the other one,
which was stolen, mirrors the torture done to her. Currently,
we are in narrow AI such as Siri or self-driving cars. What
everyone is pursuing is AGI that have computers self-aware
of themselves with some human level of intelligence that can
differentiate. ASI will advance far beyond our intelligence
and accelerates rapidly. I wanted Eve to start with a cold
and calculating intelligence and then mature as she is trained
in different types of environments."
The action keeps moving at brisk pace in this latest novel
crafted around plausible scientific data. Rollins has a knack
for weaving together new and old as well as warning readers
what can happen in the not too distant future.
reviews for this series:
of Bones #2
Judas Strain, #4
Last Oracle, #5
Doomsday Key, #6
Devil Colony , #7
Bloodline, #8 [review
Eye of God #9
Sixth Extinction #10
Demon Crown #12