Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Robert Sells Says of His Latest: "The Story is Fiction, the Nightmare Real..." Prepare to...Run...

"Mary interjected, her question underscoring her own acceptance of the theory,  "You keep referring to this thing as a computer, but it's more than that... it's... well, it's not alive, but it is... what...conscious?" "Steve nodded again. "Yeah. Ever see that old movie 2001...a Space Obyssey? Pretty realistic. A c-c-computer takes over a spaceship going to Jupiter. A computer with self-awareness. They called the computer Hal. Hey, let's give our computer a name. The union computer, the one with artificial intelligence, is now officially named Hal."
~~~
The Story behind Reap the Whirlwind and the Future of Man From the Author


Reap the Whirlwind
By Robert Sells

http://history.nasa.gov/computers/Ch8-2.html
Robert Sells tells us about his starting to think about the future of computers in 1985 in his article, linked above, but for some of us who have been around computers for almost 50 years, the picture to the left--
of large mainframe computers-- was what we thought of when computers were discussed. On the West Virginia University campus, I had started in the administrative side in Personnel--I was involved in everything related to getting people hired and paid...

Of course, everything was via paper submission at that time! From then on, I rode the waves as huge computers were being slowly replaced with the new personal computer, networks, and of course, interaction with the institutional computers that continued to be used. For many, it was a nightmare...

But Now? It's well beyond creating nightmares... Robert Sells has provided, in my opinion, a fantastic thriller that puts you right there where it has "already" happened. Person of Interest has become one of my favorite TV programs. I believe that show is also based upon todays realities, albeit perhaps not as flashily sophisticated as "created" for this show...LOL




Whit Emerson was like the average person--his use of the computer was for personal support--banking, basic research for his articles as a journalistic editor--most everything that we all consider as routine day-to-day activities for all of us.

But Whit wrote an article once--something he thought might be interesting for us to consider. Instead of writing about how our lives can be improved by the computers in our lives, he wrote about the negative aspects. My guess is he included things like Identity theft, hacking into personal information, viruses and loss of data surely would have been there, right?
We'll never know because Whit's article never was published...
In fact,  everybody to whom he'd submitted it praised it, but it never appeared.

Then things started happening in Whit's life. Everything for which he used a computer was going haywire.

Pornography, and worse, was discovered on his personal computer of all the sites he had visited. He was caught on the security tape at an ATM where he robbed and killed a woman...
He was, of course, fired from his job, even though his immediate boss knew somebody was framing him, but he had no choice but to let him go. When Whit asked about that one article, thinking he might still be able to use it, his boss promised he would sneak it through and run it...

His boss overdosed on insulin and died...The article did not run...

Whit's lawyer told him to run--he didn't have a chance against whoever had the power to have done all this! And while he moved, every security camera where he could be seen would track him. He ran to the home of a close friend and his sister. But did not get the reception he'd expected!

Readers meet Jimmy Northup in an interesting situation. He had just arrested a man who had been robbing banks, but when his trial came up, Jimmy claimed he wasn't sure that the defendant was the man...

At the same time, he was given the case to track and apprehend Whit!

Humans, like computers, produce good and evil. Jimmy was a good cop and in both of these cases, he worked for the good, no matter what the law said. So when Jimmy finally caught up with Whit, instead of arresting him, he joined him...and later brought in the bank robber to help!

The whole motley crew that finally meets to work together and discover what to do, was one of the best set of characters I've had the privilege of meeting in a novel! Kudos to Sells for making us realize who the good guys were, no matter that the police, the government, and everybody else was after them with a "dead or alive" command! I loved every single action from each member of this group, especially LittleLion who reminded me of a dean of libraries with whom I used to go to the movies...

In fact, this crew also reminded me of the good computers! LOL
"Jimmy succinctly summarized Whit's alleged crimes. "He just doesn't fit the mold of child pervert or murderer. And there's no evidence of either unless you bring in evidence from the computer. So what could computers do to trash someone?"
"John listed the ways a computer could trash a seemingly unimpeachable credit status, remove a person from any job, strangle any government help such as unemployment or Social Security, or plant incriminating photographs on a person's hard drive. Each could easily be achieved from some remote source. Untangling from such a mess could take months or even years...
"Jimmy stared as a pristine Star Wars poster hanging on the wall. Remembering John's passion for the saga, he smiled. In the movie, embedded computer chips gave personalities to robots like R2D2 and C3PO. But this was the present and such entities didn't exist yet. Or did they? "How much could a computer do on its own?"
"John Laughed. "Nothing. But a computer guy could easily program any computer...
~~~
My sister and I have an ongoing disagreement about computers--she thinks they are evil. I think people can use them for evil... Robert Sells started forming his opinion years ago when personal computers were just starting to be used. Before the end of the decade, I was managing a network of computers to inventory and plan for facilities. I had the vision, but the actual implementation took years... No matter what resources I had available, they weren't enough... But if I could have deleted everybody else's files, or murdered the decision-makers, I could have had the entire State of West Virginia University using my information system...

All you have to do it get rid of anything that prevents your total control... You can become god...a god, the god.

But You will also Reap the Whirlwind...
a mUST rEAD!


GABixlerReviews

About the Author

Robert Sells has taught physics for over forty years. He has been a story teller for over fifty years, entertaining his children, grandchildren, and students. He lives with his wife, Dale, in the idyllic village of Geneseo, New York with two attentive dogs who are uncritical sounding boards for his new stories. He is intrigued by poker and history, in love with Disney and writing, and amused by religion and politics.
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