Friday, July 20, 2007

“How To Survive a Robot Uprising: Tips on Defending Yourself Against the Coming Rebellion”

In this uncomfortably humorous survival guide, Wilson, a Ph.D. candidate at the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University, reminds readers that "any machine could rebel, from a toaster to a Terminator," and though the forms our future robot enemies may take are manifold, they each have exploitable weaknesses that, fortuitously, match our natural human strengths. So, if a two-legged android gives chase, seek out a body of water, as "most robots will sink in water or mud and fall through ice." It also may be a good idea to carry around a pair of welder's goggles, as lasers will likely be robot attackers' weapons of choice, and even a weak laser can cause blindness. Options for fighting back are plentiful, though not everyone will be relieved to learn the standard kitchen microwave can be retrofitted into a radiation gun that can destroy electronics and "cook human flesh." (Instructions for such a project are not included.) Humorous and informative-Wilson drops robotics history trivia nuggets and includes brief descriptions of current robot research-this nifty little guide to surviving the inevitable robot apocalypse may have you reconsidering purchasing that "smart" (read: insidious) refrigerator.

Copyright © Reed Business Information

Official Robot Uprising Website

I learned about this book in an odd way.

One afternoon I was walking through my local library and I saw this book featured on a display shelf. I was a little surprised because I hadn’t seen the book on the new release shelf and I hadn’t seen the book in the robotics section of the non-fiction area. (Yep, I know where the robotics area is and I know it well enough to recall what’s in it and what’s not. [sigh])

So I flipped through “How To Survive a Robot Uprising: Tips on Defending Yourself Against the Coming Rebellion,” thought it looked interesting and checked it out.

It is interesting.

It’s not only entertaining speculating about future troublesome robots and troublesome robotic devices, but it is very insightful about various kinds of high-tech tracking devices already in use today.

The odd thing happened a few weeks later.

I wanted to re-read some section of the book, so I went back to the feature shelf where I’d first seen it. The book was no longer on display. No problem, like I said, I know where the robotics section of the non-fiction area is. But the book wasn’t there, either. So, I buckled down and used the computerized card catalogue to look up the title.

It turned out our local library doesn’t even own the book. The book had been returned to our library by someone who had checked it out at a different location. Then, by mistake, someone had put the book onto the wrong cart and routed it to be re-shelved at our library. And someone else had decided that the book looked interesting enough to put on a display shelf. And then I had seen it and found a great new, entertaining, informative and thought-provoking book.

When I returned the book the title got trapped properly and delivered back to its home library.

But—too late!—I had already learned how to survive a robot uprising, and now you can, too!

No comments: