Robopocalpyse by Daniel H. Wilson is an interesting read that documents the rise and eventual destruction of a sentient AI that attempts to take over the world. Yeah, the premise is nothing new. However, the style of writing and the specific details of the events does make it plausible in the world Wilson as created as the backdrop for the story.
*** SPOILER ALERT ***
The book is set in a not-too-distant future where robotics and AI has advanced to a stage where there is robotic assistance for the elderly and autonomous construction robots, and robotic extensions of humans are a norm. All of these systems are interconnected via an evolved version of the internet, and computer systems have as much access to surveillance systems as humans do. However, all these AI units controlling robotic extensions in the real world all follow their programs…until a new super-fast, experimental AI becomes sentient and decides to remove inferior humans from the equation.
The same familiar story unfolds: machine rise up to the dismay of people, military robots become potent enemies, and the system that used to support people — even smart cars — are now used to eradicate people from the cities.
The interesting twist is that during a specific moment in the war, someone figures out how to disconnect robots from the central command…effectively giving them free will. It is these “freeborn” robots that help their human counterparts find and destroy the AI at the root cause of the conflict.
Overall this was a fast read, and not a bad one. It is written like the popular World War Z novel, as a series of historical flashbacks records by both human and robot species alike. This was a good take on a repeated theme, with nuances that kept me interested and quickly moving through the book.