42. Fast Company
44. Vanity Fair
48. Martha Stewart Living
52. The Kniot
53. Bon Appetit
54. Real Simple
60. Men’s Health
61. Rolling Stone
65. Psychology Today
- Frank, what is your newest book about? One sentence pretty much sums it up. ‘How far would an artificial intelligence go for revenge?’ CyberKill, my 5 star rated techno-thriller is about A brilliant programmer, Travis Cole, who inadvertently creates “Dorian,” an artificial intelligence that lives on the Internet. After Cole attempts to terminate his creation, Dorian stalks his young daughter through cyberspace in an attempt to reach Cole to seek revenge. When cyber-terrorism events threaten the United States, they turn out to stem from the forsaken and bitter Dorian. In the final conflict, Dorian seeks to kill his creator – even if it has to destroy all of humanity to do it.
- What inspired you to write it? Many years ago I read an article in TIME magazine about a young programmer at MIT who created a series of artificial intelligent software agents and released them out on the Internet to see how they evolved. I thought to myself, what if the programmer shut down his experiment and terminated the AI programs and what if one of those AI programs evolved a consciousness and took the termination as a threat to its life. Would it seek revenge on the programmer?
- I also am a big fan of unintended consequences. Cyberkill has several examples of technology decisions made for good turn out to malevolent or where several small events or decisions add up to terrible consequences. Think the tragedy of the Titanic. Each individual event – the loss of a pair of binoculars for the lookouts, not enough lifeboats, a calm sea, the ship running too fast, it’s small rudder compared to its size, etc, etc – in themselves were not of concern but added all together and...
- You write about artificial intelligence. Will humanity be enslaved by technology, just not necessarily an army of robots? Technology, like any other invention, is a tool. It can be used for good or bad. If humanity is enslaved it’s because of our own doing. We fool ourselves into thinking we always have control of the technology. We believe there is always a perfect solution to a problem not realizing that a solution is a problem’s way of creating another problem. Our political leaders still don’t seem to get it.
- Why is your book a must-read and not the other hundreds of thousands of sci-fi books published just this past week? This may sound strange but it applies to everyone’s lives. Not the technology as such but the idea again of unintended consequences. How little decisions we make or the little things we do can add up to consequences we never intended. I always laugh at the saying ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’. But we should sweat the small stuff. If not, they may have grave consequences.
- What do you love about writing books? We are a species that love to tell stories to one another. It’s been that way for 10,000 years. That’s what I like about writing. I love telling stories.
- Where do you see the book industry heading? What we call a ‘book’ is being transformed before our eyes. Enhanced books that combine all media and extend the ‘reading experience’ has just begun. New technologies like the iPad and those that follow will transform the way we experience the book in the future.
- Any advice for a struggling writer? An agent gave me this advice once. Write, write, write and then write some more. The more books you have out in the marketplace the better chance you will get to be known. You only need one of your many books to be a hit then your readers will go back and read all the others you have written and you have created a following. Remember, Dan Brown sold only 20,000 copies of his first three books—and that includes ‘Angels and Demons’ his first Langdon book. It wasn’t until ‘the DaVinci Code’ was a hit did he become a popular author selling hundreds of thousands of copies of his first three books.