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Three Laws Lethal

Narrated by: Shawn Compton
Length: 11 hrs and 23 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (14 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A science fiction thriller in which fleets of self-driving cars make life-and-death choices

In a near-future New York City, where self-driving cars roam the city streets, rival entrepreneurs Brandon and Tyler compete to produce the smartest AIs, training them in a virtual game world to anticipate traffic and potential customers better than the competition. As the two rivals struggle to dominate the market, their personal enmity pushes them to attack each other's reputations, hack each other's cars, and develop ever more sophisticated algorithms to keep their customers safe. The result? Intelligent computers that excel at using all available data to determine which humans should live, and which should die. 

Only Naomi, inventor of the virtual world in which the AIs train, recognizes that they are developing goals of their own - goals for which they are willing to kill. But will she stop them, or will she help her creations achieve their full potential?

©2019 David Walton (P)2019 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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One Possible AI Future

I recommend this book for science fiction fans who enjoy thinking about how "conscious" AI might arise and interact with humans. You could perhaps describe it as a fictional case study of one possible future scenario. Two grad school buddies whose efforts to develop autonomous cars result in a tragic accident have a bitter failing out. They end up forming separate transportation companies (think Uber or Lyft) which fiercely compete with one another. One of them goes mad/bad (to a somewhat unrealistic degree) and becomes the villain of the tale while the other remains good and tries to always do the right thing. Throw into the mix an extremely introverted but genius coder whose senior-year computer simulation evolves over time into a seemingly self-aware entity that ends up controlling both companies vast fleets of autonomous vehicles. Over the course of the story, the characters discuss many of the common questions which arise as one considers the future of AI. What is life? What is consciousness? Can humans keep AI under their control? Will AI share the same values as us? Does AI "life" deserve the same protection as human life? Etc. The author also references dozens of sci-fi classics relevant to various plot points. While calling it great is a bit of a stretch, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to others interested in a fictional exploration of these issues. (For an excellent nonfiction work considering these and related questions in greater depth, I highly recommend Max Tegmark's "Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.") The narration was very good and enhanced my enjoyment significantly.