M. G. Wheaton
General Fiction (Adult) , Sci Fi & Fantasy
Hodder & Stoughton
23 Apr 2019
Meet Emily - she can solve advanced mathematical problems, unlock the mind's deepest secrets and even fix your truck's air con, but unfortunately, she can't restart the Sun.
Emily is an artificial consciousness, designed in a lab to help humans process trauma, which is particularly helpful when the sun begins to die 5 billion years before scientists agreed it was supposed to.
So, her beloved human race is screwed, and so is Emily. That is, until she finds a potential answer buried deep in the human genome. But before her solution can be tested, her lab is brutally attacked, and Emily is forced to go on the run with two human companions - college student Jason and small-town Sheriff, Mayra.
As the sun's death draws near, Emily and her friends must race against time to save humanity. But before long it becomes clear that it's not only the species at stake, but also that which makes us most human.
So the Apocalypse actually happens and money is no longer of
any value, just barter. And Emily, an artificial intelligence was designed to
interface with, and de-code human minds. She was designed to become not a maths
genius, but rather a non-human psychiatrist. It was reasoned that people would
open up more to a program than a human and thus more would be learnt about the
human mind and emotions that way. Of course, she needed a body to undertake her
work but the sun’s failure somewhat interrupted everyone’s intentions. Emily
can eat, wash, sleep and alter her appearance despite requiring a Caucasian
female personality for the experiment.
So, if the human race can no longer live on Earth, what can
be done to record their lives, their endeavours and hopes? And how can Emily
An interesting idea within a set of ‘books’ within the book
as Emily and her protocols evolve, and as the Earth dies but…
A chilling contemporary thriller from Robert Harris set in the competitive world of high finance. Dr Max Hoffman is a legend. A physicist once employed on the Large Hadron Collider, he now uses a revolutionary and highly secret system of computer algorithms to trade on the world's financial markets. None of his rivals is sure how he does it, but somehow Hoffman's hedge fund -- built around the standard measure of market volatility: the VIX or "Fear Index" -- generates astonishing returns for his investors. Late one night, in his house beside Lake Geneva, an intruder disturbs Hoffman and his wife while they are asleep. This terrifying moment is the start of Robert Harris's new novel -- a story just as compelling and timely as his most recent contemporary thriller, The Ghost. Over the next 48 hours, as the markets edge towards another great crash, Hoffman's world disintegrates. But who is trying to destroy him?
So a rather chilling tale of just what happens when AI begins to get ideas for itself. It we are trying really hard to program autonomous units that can choose and optimise routes for delivery, routes for shipping and so on; and of course for hedging your bets. And this is where this story comes in. A computer system is devised that uses AI to hedge financial bets – ie work the stock market in the margins.
Which is great. No longer do you have to have really bright people working numbers. Instead you create algorithms that do this work for you. And you make money. Loads of it. Loads and Loads of it because you bet on the margins – which you can do if you start with a lot of money to begin with.
And this book stretches these ideas out. Into what is not a new concept of idea but used in a different field of application. What happens when the robots start to think for themselves?
A good book, but somehow not as chilling as it might be. I knew the answer by mid-way through, maybe because the book is 2011?