Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Cyborgs and AI: My Obsession with the Implications of Artificial and Augmented Life

My Obsession with the Implications of Artificial and Augmented Life

As many of you know, I've been working with the Takamo Universe group on a sci-fi romance series about cyborgs called Aeon Project. What you may not know, is that I have a slight obsession with pondering and writing about the ethical, moral and scientific implications of creating artificial and augmented life. I've always been fascinated by the idea of humanity as the Creator, and what that means for us in terms of accepting and understanding our creations. 

I'm a pretty bleak thinker when it comes to this idea. Unfortunately, I harbor no warm and fuzzy hope that humanity as a whole would treat cyborgs or fully AI beings with any more kindness and understanding than they currently give their fellow man. Am I saying that all humans are scum? Of course not! I'm simply saying that we are not at the point in our society where things like kindness and understanding are the universal norm. 

How does this color my writing about cyborgs? Well, let's take the first book in the Aeon Project series, An Enduring Sun. We meet Sharyn, a woman who has a big heart. She wants to bring comfort and happiness to the orphaned children of war in her part of the galaxy and she isn't above fighting for it if she has to. Sharyn comes into contact with a mysterious man named Ren, who has no obligation to be kind to her. In a compelling turn of events, Ren's kindness ends up getting him hurt and Sharyn even farther in his debt. Something about Ren and his family is different, but Sharyn knows that keeping secrets can mean the difference between life and death in her line of work. Still, she comes to like and respect the men who keep her safe even though they owe her nothing. Ren worries that Sharyn will pull away from their growing bond when she finds out what he really is. This fear is at the heart of the emotional journey for the characters in Aeon Project. 

I can't give away the entire plot, but I will say that past experiences have led Ren and his family to understand the truly vile nature of human greed and thirst for power. Ren views the past actions of his family as symbols of a stain that will never leave them, but many others see their loyalty, kindness and strength in the face of such adversity admirable. Despite having endured much pain at the hands of humans, Ren and his family are willing to fight to protect them. 

Something about this idea that a creation should be cherished but rarely is-- that life is precious no matter the physical form-- has stuck with me for many years. I think back to stories about AI like I, Robot, AI, Terminator, Chappie, and Ghost in the Shell and they all have a common theme. Humans, when faced with the fear that they might be usurped in the pyramid of power, always turn against the things they fear. There's hope in these stories as well. The few who stand with the AI and cyborgs, who find friendship and love and respect, are the characters who really matter. The characters who forsake the standard hatred and look beyond it to see something beautiful--those are the stories I love to write. Of course there are all the stories about how the AI decides that the only way to protect people is to control them, or destroy them to protect the Earth, but then it becomes a question of nature vs nurture in my mind. Would such a being view humanity in this way if one person showed it kindness? If one family embraced it as one of their own? 

The myriad of layered emotions, thoughts, worries and relationships that can be built from these questions is what really drives me to write about cyborgs. Of course I adore science fiction, and I love the HECK out of a good romance, too. Why not combine all these things into a story that encompasses it all? 

I'll quickly guide you through the Aeon Project series so you get an idea of what you're getting into.

Aphelion-A Duet: Children are disappearing across the galaxy and no one cares. When Kellan and Rae escape, he promises her he'll always come when she calls. / Klevessans travel the galaxy looking for the next score, but this ship has more than just loot on it's mind. It's going to save the universe.

An Enduring Sun Book 1: Sharyn and Ren: 5 men desperately trying to hide their identities and live a quiet life meet a woman who just wants to go home to her children. When their past comes to call and threatens Sharyn and her boys, the men will do anything to protect them and the rest of humanity.

Dark Star Book 2: Primary One goes back to where it all started, looking for the thing he cherishes most. His wife. **COMING SOON**

Decaying Orbit Book 3: With a bomb in his gut, Vex's only hope for survival is a pink-haired pixie with an attitude and a pocket full of medical supplies. **COMING SOON**

Resonance Factor Book 4: Sevyn is ready to die and there's only one woman who's worthy of the chance to make it happen. He'll chase her across the galaxy to get what he wants. But is what he wants really her? **COMING SOON**

Terminal Velocity Book 5: Q listens to the airwaves every night, hoping for some way to quell his nightmares. When a sweet voice crosses his frequency, he'll do anything keep her talking. **COMING SOON**

The Stomper Chronicles: (Short Stories) Aboard their advanced AI-controlled ship, Qer Ansel and Turk Prim are always on the move. They're the only family they need, and it's always about the next job. But when it really comes down to it, they can never say no to a charity case. **COMING SOON**

Of course there's more to the stories than I've said here. Political intrigue, the possible elimination of all biological life in the galaxy, spy work, and more. But it's the relationships that really matter, right!? 

What do stories of cyborgs and AI make you think about? Do you wonder if we will treat them with kindness? Or will they rise up to destroy us all?


  1. Have you read Heinlein's Friday? It's in a similar vein to your AI plight. Friday is an AI but keeps it secret, and when her family finds out they divorce her. But she eventually meets people who accept her for what she is.

    I agree with you that we'll probably always have problems accepting AI as equal to "real" humans. It's depressing but that's human nature for you.

  2. I find it sad, deeply worrisome and scary because we're not nice beings on a large scale. We have zero business creating anything, because then we believe we own it and can control it.



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