Wake Watch Wonder Books by Robert Sawyer
Wake is the first novel in the WWW series by Robert J Sawyer, acclaimed Science Fiction author. This book introduces Caitlin and her family and the manifestation of what eventually becomes known as Webmind, an AI that develops out of orphaned internet packets. The book is extremely well written and apart from a few fictional concepts, could be a story that really could happen. The interplay between Caitlin and Webmind is both entertaining and awe-inspiring, Caitlin is brilliant at bringing Webmind out of the ether. A strong parallel between the two main characters is that Caitlin is blind with a particularly rare form of blindness that a Japanese doctor discovers a fix for - an implant that translates what is captured by the retina into a format the brain can properly understand. This bit of translate we all have naturally is what Caitlin is missing. As she starts to learn to deal with the world by way of vision, so too does Webmind start to learn with parallel incremental steps.
In Watch, Webmind advances further and becomes a target for the US government who have a procedure to follow whenever this sort of thing happens. An attack on Webmind eventually gets turned away, with Caitlin's help. The Japanese doctor who helped Caitlin works with some other scientists and they develop a method to imprint characters directly to Caitlin's retina so that Webmind can communicate with her directly at all times via the interlink with her eye-pad (the device she carries with her that does the retina-brain translation). This ability to be so directly connected to Webmind becomes of particular use to Caitlin in various parts of the story. Again, this book is extremely well written with believable and strong characters and a compelling story line.
Webmind decides to go public and becomes the go-to guy of millions of people across the world. Anyone and everyone sends messages directly to Webmind, and with his almost instantaneous speed and ability to spawn processes he answers everyone pretty much immediately. Based on discussions with Caitlin and her family, Webmind learns about zero-sum games and that influences how he handles some of the requests he gets from various people. Eventually Webmind speaks to the UN through a surprising and memorable medium, and then uses the skills of a large group of hackers to effect a coup that will change the world. The way Webmind is described, I think anyone who reads this book would be glad to have such a benevolent force in the world.
I left a large number of concepts, characters and sub-plots out of this hub - really, you should go and read the books, I thoroughly enjoyed them all.
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