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  • You did a ton of research about AI for The Doomsday Code. Was there anything you learned that stood out?
    SY: My biggest takeway is just how powerful this technology is. If we succeed in creating digital superintelligence, we may solve some really, really, big problems. Things like: curing disease, reversing climate change, finding the elusive unifying theory of physics, and eliminating food insecurity, to name a few. On the flip side, if it goes badly, the consequences may be existential for our species.
  • How much liberty did you take with the science?
    SY: Not much. The science in The Doomsday Code is all very real. That is what terrifies me. I wrote it as a “near-future” thriller, but in the span of four years, from research to publication, the idea of human-level-machine- intelligence has gone from something laughable, reserved for the luddites and sci-fi fans, to an undeniable force brewing just below the surface of our iPads, game consoles, and laptops. The future is here. I don’t know if it is 10 months or 10 years away, but it is coming. And we aren’t ready.
  • If not sci-fi, then what is The Doomsday Code?
    SY: This book is set in the near future, because I wanted to accelerate some of the technological breakthroughs in the field. But after witnessing the advances in AI over the last twelve months alone, it could be a window into where we might be five minutes from now. I have two young kids. I am also a bereaved parent. I’m uncertain. I’m scared. I think a lot of people feel that way. Technology has enabled so many great things. But it’s also made a mess of others. What happens in 50 years? 100 years? Will we even be around to find out?
  • With the future being as scary as it is, what gives you hope?
    SY: Idealistically? I hope that the technology can solve some of the problems it creates. There is a moment in the book where Adrian realizes they can’t stop the creation of this technology any more than he can stop time itself. I have come away from my research with a bit of a fatalistic attitude. We can’t stop it, but we can do our best to shape it and guide it to be in line with our long-term interests.
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