Customer Reviews: A.I. Apocalypse
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on June 5, 2012
Once the titular apocalypse began, I could not put this book down. I was glad to see ELOPe again--the most interesting character in the book is not a human being. The details of how an AI society would be organized are great. Don't skip the first book, Avogadro Corp., which is also a terrific yarn. And now I can hardly wait for the third in the series.
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on March 9, 2012
The wonderful thing about this series is the proximity of it -- the future doesn't depend on some magical technology becoming available, transforming the world. It's all about current trends, current technology, pushed just a little bit and combined in a way that enables powerful, believable results. This book is a perfect follow-on to Avogadro Corp, starting a new story but building on the the previous work.
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While not completely necessary, before you read this book you might want to consider reading Avogadro Corp: The Singularity Is Closer Than It Appears (Singularity Series) which is the first book in the series.

This second installment could be a standalone, as there is a large time gap in the series of events between the two which makes me wonder if there will be another installment in the series which bridges the gap as they are really two different books that just so happen to have two characters carrying over from the first installment; unlike most sequels, I thought this one was a heck of a lot better than book one of the series.

I think the author does a good job of giving you one possible scenario of how a computer program could become a true artificial intelligence, as well as how a computer virus program could spin out of control and form multiple A.I.'s as it certainly got me thinking about it well after I completed the book. Without having a spoiler there are a few instances where you want to call "bull" on the situations, yet it was very thought-provoking and one of those books I didn't want to put down until I plowed all the way through it. However, the Walter Mitty fantasy-type moments I had while reading the book - and continue to have - certainly outweigh my previous comment.

If you like a good science fiction thriller that seems just a couple of years into the future, I'd recommend this one.
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on April 6, 2012
Book 1 was good. This, book 2, was even better. It seemed almost written by a different author.

I like a Sy Fy thriller, and even more so when it is based in hard tech.

Hertling packed the following fun into this tales:
Virus: propagation, infection, & detection-avoidance
Trade guidelines: trustworthiness, peacfulness, & contribution
Learning mechanisms: assimulation, experimentation, & exchange of information
Human thinking in dozens of operations per per minute.

Fun. Fun. Fun. Best i have read in 3 months. That is ~ 90 books.
so lets round up. The book is 1 in a 100.
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on March 24, 2012
William Hertling has the gift. He can create a world that's plausible, but exciting in its differences from our current reality. A.I. Apocalypse tells the tale of what we should worry about as our computers become more powerful and have greater connection to our information... And what we may be able to do about it.

Just as I said after his first book in the Singularity Series, I can't wait for the next one.
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on July 31, 2014
Perhaps I was at a disadvantage not having read the first book in the series--although I don't think so--but the book failed to hold my interest. Many of the events in it didn't seem at all plausible, even for sci-fi. On top of that, I found grammar and editing errors bothersome.

A teenage boy agrees to help his uncle by writing a virus. He develops a software package, basically overnight, that takes over all the world's computers and molds itself into an Artificial Intelligence that threatens to destroy humanity. Hmmm. He's able to do something (create a true AI) overnight that IBM, Google, even the NSA haven't been able to do over a period of decades?

Likewise, the teenager and his friends hijack a delivery drone (this is the future) to escape the city and the utter devastation his virus has wreaked? Like the big delivery companies make it easy to hijack their drones?
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on December 15, 2013
I agree with those readers who think that the second volume was even better than the first. Again it opened my eyes as to the possibility of various sentient beings being able to share our planet with us much sooner than anybody would expect and how easily they could be spawned. Also it awakened me to the possibility of multiple sentient beings having extremely positive or destructive affects on our world. I notice the author kept the nuclear genie in the bottle in his story but those possibilities also exist. I also really appreciated the author's technical skills in telling his story which a times was a little difficult for a layman to follow. As a conservative Republican I did not like his gratuitous shot at a large number of his readers. These words added absolutely nothing to the story and should be taken out by the author. I don't really care what his political views are and if he would have continued in that vein I probably would have joined others in down rating the book and stopped reading it. In any case, I am now reading the third volume and so far it seems pretty good.
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on August 24, 2012
I don't do many reviews, but felt I should for this book.
I read the first book in this series,and found it to be pretty good, but seemed a little rushed or slightly thin in some areas.
The author clearly had a second book in mind from the start because this book is better than the first in the series.
The pace is fast moving, never too slow. Exacting details are always given.
He also has full understanding and knowledge of his subject matter, and is able to convey that information to the reader.
I'm a CIO for a Healthcare Company and found a lot of his information to be accurate.
The technology that he writes about made the geek in me want a "Gibson" phone.
All in all an enjoyable read, and I look forward to the third book in the series "The Last Firewall".
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on June 9, 2014
I bought A.I. Apocalypse on Amazon when it was either free or $0.99. The premise sounded interesting and, while Sci-Fi is not at the top of my reading list, I've found the possibility of an Artificial Intelligence takeover interesting since Philosophy 101. Unfortunately, this book missed the mark for me.

The first couple of chapters really had me hooked. Leon seemed to be a legitimately interesting character and his run-in with the Russian mob had me on the edge of my seat! His friends were equally interesting and even Mike and ELOPe drew me in briefly. Once the virus was actually released, however, the story quickly went downhill.

There are several issues with A.I. Apocalypse. The first and most blatant is the gross overuse of technical jargon. Sure, it's a book about a computer virus, but surely there is a way to write for the average reader. I know a little about computers and I was able to follow the geek speak for the most part, but it was so dry that it was completely lost on me. I found myself skipping paragraphs first and by the end I was skipping full pages. Not only was there a lot of technical language, but it was extremely repetitive. There was more than once instance of a situation being explained multiple times to different people. If a situation is so complicated that it needs to be explained twice for the reader to understand, perhaps it should be simplified. Had the technical jargon been simplified and condensed this book could have been better.

Not only was this book far too technical for the average reader (in my opinion), but the author doesn't seem to have thought the tech of the future through completely. For example, the setting is decades into the future where simple robots and drones carry out mundane tasks and buildings are on lockdown with super fancy security systems. Meanwhile, people still communicate via email on their phones, video games are played on phones (isn't virtual reality already a thing?), and the backdoor of a fancy museum is susceptible to the breaking and entering efforts of 17 year old kid. There are also several references to current pop-culture that just don't seem to fit - WALL-E, for example.

Finally, the ending of A.I. Apocalypse was far too tidy and, frankly, completely unbelievable. As a prior military member, I cannot believe that the federal government would handle Leon in the way this book suggests. I believe anyone reading just the summary could guess at a more believable outcome. I hate giving negative reviews and I'm almost embarrassed to post two in two weeks, but this book just did not do it for me. I was in no way invested in the characters and finishing was a struggle.

I, Robot did it better.
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Very good follow-up, second sequel to his first book "Avogadro Corp." Once again, there is fast action, great suspense and a sound, informative basic plot & subplot. While most of the technology written about in this book is already developed and in use, most readers won't know it. Hertling does take a bit of creative license in "speeding-up" the real-time pace for the emerging sequence of activity necessary to tell this story, but its OK because the device helps make it all work. Just ordered the 3rd book in this series "The Last Firewall" and will start reading it tonight.
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