top of page
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.
bottom of page