Humans beware. As the robotic revolution continues to creep into our lives, it brings with it an impending sense of doom. What horrifying scenarios might unfold if our technology were to go awry? From self-aware robotic toys to intelligent machines violently malfunctioning, this anthology brings to life the half-formed questions and fears we all have about the increasing presence of robots in our lives. With contributions from a mix of bestselling, award-winning, and up-and-coming writers, and including a rare story by “the father of artificial intelligence,” Dr. John McCarthy, Robot Uprisings meticulously describes the exhilarating and terrifying near-future in which humans can only survive by being cleverer than the rebellious machines they have created.
Ambivalence toward technology is central to Adams and Wilson's collection of 17 stories about artificial intelligence in revolt. Sometimes the results are comic: the AI narrator of Charles Yu's "Cycles" regards its human owner with a mixture of disgust, pity, and affection, and a household robot that illegally attempts to "love" a child in John McCarthy's "The Robot and the Baby" becomes a media sensation. More often, disaster ensues when machines designed to assist humans rebel, as with computer-controlled cars in Genevieve Valentine's postapocalyptic road trip "Eighty Miles an Hour All the Way to Paradise" and intelligent children's toys in Seanan McGuire's heartbreaking "We Are All Misfit Toys in the Aftermath of the Velveteen War." Subtler dangers threaten to end the world in Alastair Reynolds's "Sleepover" and Wilson's own "Small Things." Though a robot loves and raises a human child in Julianna Baggott's "The Golden Hour" and a woman in an African village poisoned by a pipeline teaches a robot guard to play music in Nnedi Okorafor's "Spider the Artist," most of the stories in this entertaining and occasionally unsettling anthology present a decidedly pessimistic vision of machine futures.