How to Survive a Robot Uprising
Author: Daniel H. Wilson
Length: 186 minutes / 3.1 hours
As a precursor to Robopocalypse, How to Survive a Robot Uprising: Tips on Defending Yourself Against the Coming Rebellion takes a humorous approach to educating the reader about the capabilities and limitations of today’s robots. Similar in style to Where’s My Jetpack?: A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future That Never Arrived, How to Survive a Robot Uprising uses the humor of preparing for the end of the world to poke fun at the limited possibility that we’d eventually be destroyed by the robots we use to make our lives comfortable today.
With my background in robotics (my Master’s Degree was in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on Robotics and Design), I quickly realized how Daniel H. Wilson was writing this “guide.” Robots are powerful and useful machines, many of which can perform actions much more efficiently and accurately than humans can, thus leading to our swift and inexorable demise. However, by the same token, they also have limitations and challenges that we humans do not (or at least don’t consciously think about). These robotic challenges are primarily used “against” them in this hypothetical scenario, revealing that most robots aren’t as indestructible as we make them out to be in fiction.
My only qualms with this book were that it was too short (I love this tongue-in-cheek writing style) and that the structure seemed kind of “loose.” Sure, different sections went over such topics as types of robots, and what ways these robots could be incapacitated, but the flow felt a bit like “stream of consciousness” writing. Granted, many of the topics cross over into each other, so it can be difficult to box them into discrete and distinct sections. Still, the narrative seems to jump all over the place as a result. Perhaps this is why Wilson decided to eventually write Robopocalypse, to add the structure that was missing from this “pamphlet.”
A funny book that subtly educates the reader about robot strengths and weaknesses, I give How to Survive a Robot Uprising 4.0 stars out of 5.