Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Book Review - Avogadro Corp by William Hertling

I somehow managed to read the second book in the trilogy first and I enjoyed that book a lot. I didn't enjoy this quite as much but it's still a decent read. The subject matter is something which interests me and that's the concept of a technological singularity. If you're not familiar with the concept then it's an idea that technology reaches a point that is beyond our ability to understand and control it. A common cause for such an event is an emergent artificial intelligence which is the core premise of this book.

This book takes the scenario of an emergent intelligence and runs with it. It's a plausible scenario and one that fascinated me. Another aspect I enjoyed was that it took a positive aspect from this emergence rather than the usual apocalyptic one. The technology is well handled in the story and doesn't allow itself to be bogged down in too much detail.

While the technology is well handled I didn't feel as much for the characters. For the most part they lack any depth and seemingly exist purely to progress the plot. If this aspect had been more developed then I'd rate this as an outstanding read rather than just a decent one. It is still worth checking out if the topic interests you.

Click on image to buy from Amazon

David Ryan is the designer of ELOPe, an email language optimization program, that if successful, will make his career. But when the project is suddenly in danger of being canceled, David embeds a hidden directive in the software accidentally creating a runaway artificial intelligence.

David and his team are initially thrilled when the project is allocated extra servers and programmers. But excitement turns to fear as the team realizes that they are being manipulated by an A.I. who is redirecting corporate funds, reassigning personnel and arming itself in pursuit of its own agenda.


"Avogadro Corp is a tremendous book that every single person needs to read. In the vein of Daniel Suarez's Daemon and Freedom(TM), William's book shows that science fiction is becoming science fact. Avogadro Corp describes issues, in solid technical detail, that we are dealing with today that will impact us by 2015, if not sooner. Not enough people have read these books. It's a problem for them, but not for the [emergent] machines."
-Brad Feld, managing directory Foundry Group, co-founder Techstars

"Highly entertaining, gripping, thought inspiring book. Don't start without the time to finish - it won't let you go."
-Gifford Pinchot III, founder Bainbridge Graduate Institute, author THE INTELLIGENT ORGANIZATION

"An alarming and jaw-dropping tale about how something as innocuous as email can subvert an entire organization. I found myself reading with a sense of awe, and read it way too late into the night."
-Gene Kim, author of VISIBLE OPS

"A fictional world where Portland is the hub for the most exciting advancements in technology... Jam packed with great references to deep Portland culture...and Portlandia-type references"

"Hertling builds a picture of how an AI could emerge, piece by piece, from technology available today. A fascinating, logical, and utterly believable scenario - I just hope nobody tries this at home."
-Nathaniel Rutman, Senior Systems Architect

Click here to buy Avogadro Corp from Amazon (and it's a decent sci-fi read)

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