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How to Survive a Robot Uprising: Tips on Defending Yourself Against the Coming Rebellion Library Binding – September 18, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this uncomfortably humorous survival guide, Wilson, a Ph.D. candidate at the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University, reminds readers that "any machine could rebel, from a toaster to a Terminator," and though the forms our future robot enemies may take are manifold, they each have exploitable weaknesses that, fortuitously, match our natural human strengths. So, if a two-legged android gives chase, seek out a body of water, as "most robots will sink in water or mud and fall through ice." It also may be a good idea to carry around a pair of welder's goggles, as lasers will likely be robot attackers' weapons of choice, and even a weak laser can cause blindness. Options for fighting back are plentiful, though not everyone will be relieved to learn the standard kitchen microwave can be retrofitted into a radiation gun that can destroy electronics and "cook human flesh." (Instructions for such a project are not included.) Humorous and informative-Wilson drops robotics history trivia nuggets and includes brief descriptions of current robot research-this nifty little guide to surviving the inevitable robot apocalypse may have you reconsidering purchasing that "smart" (read: insidious) refrigerator.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Daniel H. Wilson is a Ph.D. candidate at the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University, where he has received master’s degrees in Robotics and Data Mining. He has worked in top research laboratories, including Microsoft Research, the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), and Intel Research Seattle. Daniel currently lives with several unsuspecting roommates in a fully wired smart house in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Library Binding: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Paw Prints 2008-09-18; Reprint edition (September 18, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439552819
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439552810
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 4.5 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,731,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Daniel H. Wilson was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and earned a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Tulsa. After earning a Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, he moved to Portland, Oregon where he has authored seven books.

You can visit his website at www.danielhwilson.com

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

92 of 99 people found the following review helpful By D. G. D. Davidson on November 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
Daniel H. Wilson has provided a handsome and irreverent guide to survival in the face of the inevitable robot rebellion. This is not, however, a mere joke book about robots. Wilson is a Ph.D. candidate in the subject and, correspondingly, his discussions not only invoke well-known robot-based apocalyptic stories but involve numerous descriptions of existing robot technologies and speculations on how they may be refined in the future.

The book is an engaging and relatively painless introduction to robotics. For those interested in science fiction, particularly in writing it, Wilson offers an up-to-date overview of robotics technology as it stands as well as a wealth of technical terms and buzz words. The humor is based almost entirely on well-known "evil robot" plotlines, and so the text is also useful for steering the potential writer away from cliches. The quality of the humor, however, is hit-and-miss. Some of the jokes are quite funny, some are groaners, and some simply fall flat. Occasional bad grammar detracts from the overall presentation.

Simultaneously educational and fun, How to Survive a Robot Uprising will make a good read for technophiles, sf fans, and B movie buffs.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A. Ryan on June 9, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The good news is that robots lack emotions, so they can't get PO'd about how the human race has been exploiting them. The bad news is that they are smarter and more logical than we are - and might someday realize that there are a million and one reasons why we don't need to exist. Welcome to your near future. Do you know how you will survive the robot uprising?

First, know your enemy. Recognize that robots have "natural" weaknesses - lack of context/social adaptability, physical limitations over certain types of terrain - that humans can exploit to advantage. Be aware also that they may have certain strengths that humans lack; after all, that is what they are built for in the first place, isn't it? They do not need to sleep, for example, and therefore can perform tasks for a potential 24/7. Robots also may have "superhuman" abilities. Some robots can track your heat signature with thermal imaging cameras, mine credit card databases for information about you, turn built-in lasers on you, and of course, best you physically in a hand-to-hand combat situation with metal pincers and/or superior strength. How To Survive a Robot Uprising is soaked with information about current robotics and the trends that are now under development so that you can plan alternatives.

Next, avoid aiding your enemy unawares. They have been infiltrating our factories, offices and homes for years. They are pretty much everywhere now, and they will be able to link up with and/or control devices that go where they cannot. What will you do on that day when your cell phone signals your location to the evil supercomputer that controls the laser-armed satellites? Or when your Smart House locks you in and "leaks" the gas from your heater?
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
Daniel Wilson's amazing book "How To Survive a Robot Uprising" literally saved my life.

When the robots came, I'll be the first to admit: I was arrogant. I've been in a few fights, I've seen upwards of two Bruce Lee movies, and my blood alcohol content was the stuff of legends, so I figured I'd be immune to pain. However, two stumbling, poorly aimed swings later and it became quite clear: Robots are immune to punches. Nobody warned me about this kind of thing in Robot Fighting School, which was probably all just a fevered hallucination now that I think about it.

Regardless, there I found myself, punch (and regular) drunk, with two bleeding fists and an utterly unphased robot standing mockingly intact before me, when suddenly I remembered!

I had just bought Mr. Wilson's book for fear of this exact scenario!

I frantically tore through the bookstore bag as my imminent death loomed before me. When my hands finally found purchase on the brilliant tome, I knew I was saved. I quickly spread open the pages, squinted down through the murky half-light at the tiny text, panicked, and then opted to just jam the whole damn thing into the robot's gearbox. It stalled out, the smell of burning wires singing the air, and chugged to a laboring halt. It sat immobile; I had beaten it. I imagine if I had actually read Mr. Wilson's book, I could have come up with a more graceful solution, but time is short and robots are deadly. One does what one can.

Now, the robot sympathizers out there say that I am not a hero, they say that I am a menace to society, and that in reality I simply attacked an old woman's ventilator after I got hammered on stolen mouthwash from the Walgreen's, but I know the truth: I know that Daniel Wilson's book saved my life, and that, thanks to him, there is one less clanker out there smoking up our streets.

Thanks, Mr. Wilson! I owe you a drink. Do you prefer cinnamon or spearmint?
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jack Buffington on June 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
I actually build robots for a living and was given this book recently by a coworker when I was laid off . This book is as factual as it is entertaining. Having never thought about escaping from the robots that I build, it is interesting to see things from a different perspective. The strategies that are described would actually be effective given today's state of the art which makes it seem even funnier. Let's hope that this humor book never actually becomes a true survival handbook.
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