Hugh Howey
Hugh Howey

Bestselling author of Wool and other books. Currently sailing around the world.

How to Build a Self-Conscious Machine (And Why It’s Probably a Silly Idea)

     The Coolest Thing in the Universe The universe is full of some very cool stuff: neutron stars that weigh a ton a teaspoon; supermassive black holes that grip even light in their iron fists; infinitesimal neutrinos that stream right through solid steel; all the bizarre flora and fauna found right here on planet Earth. It might be the ultimate in egoism, but of all the known things in the universe, the most amazing is surely the lump of goo inside our skulls. That lump of goo knows about…

This is Only the Beginning

I want you to do me a favor and watch these two trailers for the same film: I know which one I like better. The first trailer captures the mood, while the second tries to give us the plot. As someone who now avoids movie trailers, because I’d rather watch the 120 minute version of the film rather than the 3 minute version, the first trailer is exactly what I’ve been begging Hollywood to give me for well over a decade. Only, Hollywood didn’t give me the first trailer. IBM’s…

Like Unto Children

Terminator, The Matrix, Ex Machina, Robocop, I, Robot, 2001, A Space Odyssey. They all follow the formula of: Man makes machine, machine destroys man. It’s a sci-fi trope. But what if we’re wrong about how we will feel about our creations? I have a feeling it might go much differently. I think mankind will one day go extinct, but that we won’t mind. Heresy, right? Millions of years of evolution have created an intense drive for self-preservation. The idea that we might willingly be replaced — even replace ourselves — is unthinkable. Except…

Why I Write About AI

My editor recently had me collect my short stories into a single place. This has never been done before. They had previously been scattered to the winds. Some were stories that I put up on my old blog and can’t be found anywhere these days. Some were published in anthologies here and there. Some were released as Kindle exclusives, and some of these very quietly. With all these stories in a single place, one theme became apparent. There were a lot of stories about artificial intelligence. Glitch, The Box, Executable, The Plagiarist, The Automated Ones, WHILE (u…

The Birth of Artificial Intelligence

Google’s AI AlphaGo beat the undisputed world Go champ 4-1 this week. While this won’t grab the headlines that IBM did with beating Kasparov at chess or Jennings at Jeopardy, it’s a more amazing result than either of those previous accomplishments. The nature of the game of Go, and the nature of the solutions required for an AI to beat the world’s best, were on a different level. Google had to create something akin to intuition, which is different than the sort of computational power and book knowledge involved with winning at…