Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson
Artificial Intelligence, Computer Science, Drone Warfare, Engineering, Military Science, Robotics
In Robopocalypse a powerful artificial intelligence called Archos becomes self aware and perpetrates a massive attack against humanity by taking control of the machines we have come to rely on. Everything from children’s toys to self-driving cars to bomb-defusing robots are used to bring humanity to its knees. The survivors of the initial attacks will have to band together and find new ways to use technology to survive. Author Daniel H. Wilson has a master’s degree in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics and a PhD in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. He is the author of several novels and is currently adapting Robopocalypse for Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks.
Daniel H. Wilson Part 1: Writing Robopocalypse
During the STEM Outreach summer camp “Preventing the Robopocalypse,” Daniel H. Wilson gave a talk about his book “Robopocalypse.” In part 1, he talked about his writing process and how he plays with science fiction conventions.
Daniel H. Wilson Part 2: A Reading from Robogenesis
During the STEM Outreach summer camp “Preventing the Robopocalypse,” Daniel H. Wilson gave a talk about his book Robopocalypse. In part 2, he talked about sequels, and read part of the new sequel to Robopocalypse: Robogenesis.
Daniel H. Wilson Part 3: Q&A
During the STEM Outreach summer camp “Preventing the Robopocalypse,” Daniel H. Wilson gave a talk about his book “Robopocalypse.” In part 3, he answered audience questions about his favorite character, where he gets his ideas, and about his past as a roboticist.
Preventing the Robopocalpyse: Highlights
David Gunkel Part 1: The Machine Question and Robot Ethics
Dr. David Gunkel, professor of Communication Technology at NIU, talks about Daniel H. Wilson’s book Robopocalypse. In this video, he talks about his own book, The Machine Question, the ethics behind calling robots “people,” and the character of Archos, the rouge AI from Robopocalypse.
David Gunkel Part 2: Science Fiction and the Laws of Robotics
Dr. David Gunkel, professor of Communication Technology at NIU, talks about Daniel H. Wilson’s book Robopocalypse. In this video, he talks about how science fiction affects the study of robots, Issac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, and how to tell if a machine is “intelligent.”
David Gunkel Part 3: The Future and Preventing the Robopocalypse
Dr. David Gunkel, professor of Communication Technology at NIU, talks about Daniel H. Wilson’s book Robopocalypse. In this video, he explains how close our society is to having to deal with robots as people, and how to prevent a real-life robopocalypse.
Robot Redux with Steve Roman
Steven A. Torres-Roman, teen librarian and author of Dragons in the Stacks: A Teen Librarian’s Guide to Tabletop Role-Playing, discusses the history of robots in science fiction and all the metal menaces that led up to Daniel H. Wilson’s Robopocalypse.
Preventing the Robopocalypse Writing Challenge
Daniel H. Wilson’s tale of the robot uprising gives us the worst-case scenario for human/robot relations. What if a robot wanted to save people rather than slaughter them? Write an original short story about a beneficial bot and we’ll post it on STEM Read. You can write from the point of view of the robot, the robot’s creator, or the person whose life was changed or saved because of the robot.
Send your completed stories to firstname.lastname@example.org
Learn about the importance of robots and design a robot that can perform a given task while learning about the engineering design process. Examine interesting design concept art for robots and discover best robot features. Build a bot that performs the programmed commands you give it.
Get students thinking about characterization, point of view, and dialog with a four-corners writing exercise. Break students into four groups and tell them to think from the point of view of one of the characters below. Have the students write a paragraph or short story from the point of view of their character and have them plan what they would say upon meeting each of the other characters.
- Master Artificial Intelligence
- Human Soldier
- Cyborg – A human with robotic enhancements
- Free-Born Robot – a robot whose consciousness has been liberated from the Master AI
Artificial Intelligence: Then and Now
Have students read chapter 1 “Tip of the Spear” from Robopocalypse. Next have them read the short story “EPICAC” by Kurt Vonnegut. Ask students to compare and contrast the following–
- The authors’ writing styles
- The sophistication of the technology
- The relationships between humans and AIs
- The motivations of Archos and EPICAC
Essay Question: Could EPICAC be a precursor to Archos? If the two AI’s shared the same technological DNA, how might EPICAC’s experiences have influenced Archos’s ideas about humanity?
Video Discussion Guide
Watch the videos and then use these questions to facilitate classroom discussions about the topics presented.
Daniel H. Wilson
According to Daniel Wilson’s website, he earned a PhD in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as Master’s degree in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. His novel Robopocalypse was purchased by DreamWorks and is currently being adapted for film by Steven Spielberg. Wilson lives in Portland, Oregon.
For more information about Wilson, visit his website.
Other short stories and novels by Daniel H. Wilson:
- How to Survive a Robot Uprising: Tips on Defending Yourself against the Coming Rebellion
- Where’s My Jetpack?: A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future that Never Was
- How to Build a Robot Army: Tips on Defending Planet Earth
- The Mad Scientist Hall of Fame: Muwahahaha!
- The Nostalgist
- Bro-Jitsu: The Martial Art of Sibling Smackdown
- A Boy and His Bot
- Freshee’s Frogurt
- Foul Weather
- The Executor