The Mars colony has survived for generations, settling into a comfortable existence that depends on an Artificial Intelligence and its many robots. Life is good enough, though Zeker discovers a dark and dangerous corner of the colony. He came to the Tower guilds to pursue his dream, but that seems farther out of reach than ever. Maybe his neuroplasticity treatments failed him.
I’ve been distracted from blogging as I scramble to
People didn’t like the helmet – how’s this?
finish my latest On Mars novel, but I’m receiving beta readers’ comments now and plan to swing into a final edit shortly. Subscribe now and I’ll let you know when Storm on Mars is available and send a coupon for a free download of the ebook edition. BTW – what do you think of the draft cover and title? Please let me know in the comments below.
In the meantime, catch up with the Mars colony. The books are available on Amazon, Apple iBooks, B&N, Kobo, and your favorite online store:
Glory on Mars – Emma joins the first twelve settlers in a struggle to survive.
Born on Mars – Jake’s born into a failing colony, but new arrivals bring hope and danger.
Hermit on Mars – Sig’s life is falling apart, but maybe he can save his mother and the breakaway prospectors she’s joined.
Water on Mars – Bliss thinks it’s the best time to be Marsborn, even if her new boss is crazy and threats from Mars and Earth surround her.
Let’s keep in touch. Subscribe today and you’ll receive an occasional short story along with book offers.
This is the old cover – click it to see the new one
In my science fiction stories about colonizing Mars, I send robots ahead to prove out construction methods and then work with the colonists. They have an Artificial Intelligence, too, to rely on. It seems unreasonable to write about humanity’s near future in space without robots and AIs.
But are they a good idea?
Some have speculated robots might kill us off even if programmed to create maximum happiness – since humans are a sorrowful lot, an AI might decide eliminating humans would make the world a happier place. Or maybe they’ll just decide we’re too stupid to keep around (which is sorta what happens in The Terminator.)
Or disaster may be our own fault.
HAL – not evil but deadly
Humans can be way too trusting of robots—and that our inclination to follow our robotic overlords could actually be a very dangerous human behavior that needs to be taken into account when designing everything from autonomous vehicles to emergency evacuation tech.
Scientists developing robots to lead people in high-rises to safety in case of a fire discovered people would follow the robot even when it made obviously dangerous and ridiculous errors. We seem all too ready to shift our brains into neutral and follow orders.
I see echoes of this problem in myself. I can no longer remember the date because my phone will tell me. I hop in a car without a thought to where I’m going because the GPS will tell me. I’m ready to hop into a self-driving car, too. Good luck to me.
How about you – ready to let an AI drive you to the grocery store? or fly you to Mars?
Thanks to fastcodesign.com
Computers Can’t Replace
Tell it stories that you favor,
It sends you books
That you will savor.
Give it data on the planets
And Newton’s Laws
You needn’t hand it.
A double helix –
Upload patient files,
It diagnoses cancer,
Swaps heart attacks for smiles.
For routine mental tasks it’s faster,
But common sense requires
A human mind to master.
We provide the feel and touch,
Replace the lawyers,
But don’t prejudge.
It needs our Master Algorithm
To mimic mental traits,
And rational mannerisms.
Computers win on logic
But hugs are biologic,
So reach your hand to me.
Thanks to nationalgeographic.com on artificial-intelligence It seems that evolution made human hands and feet before it made human brains. Hands and feet – interacting with the physical world – may define us in the future, too. That and our common sense.
Forbes hypothesizes that self-driving cars, what Google calls robotic cars, will arrive in three phases. First, what I think of as the “toy phase”: Over the next ten years, a small percentage of cars will be self-driving, but laws will require a licensed driver to be ready, hands-on-the-wheel, to take over. Next, about thirty years from now, laws will catch up with technology, so you can be drunk in the backseat, or send your kid to grandma’s house by himself; but most cars will still be privately owned. Finally, farther in the future, the transportation cloud will emerge. Cars will be entirely autonomous and few people will own one: Most cars will be robotic taxis.
I hope the Forbes time line is pessimistic. Some stories support Forbes. Others covering the same news offer more hope. Everyone thinks the laws will lag behind the technology. That is hardly a new phenomenon. Continue reading