Interview with Emmanuel K. Okunola, Author of The Dawn of Superintelligence
24 Jan 2024
What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write The Dawn of Superintelligence?
The inspiration for writing this book stemmed from my fascination with the rapid technological advancements and the potential implications of achieving true artificial intelligence. Recently, almost 30,000 people, including Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and the Turing Prize winner Yoshua Bengio, signed a petition calling for an “immediate pause” to the development of more powerful artificial intelligence (AI) systems. Having listened to the ongoing debates on the dangers of AI, I found myself compelled to explore the ethical, philosophical, and existential questions surrounding AI. The narrative evolved as I delved into the interplay between humanity and artificial intelligence, weaving a story that reflects our collective hopes, fears, and the profound impact of innovation on our future. Ultimately, I tried to make us think about the immense benefits and the existential threat of the path we are treading as creators of our technological destiny.
If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of The Dawn of Superintelligence, what would they be?
1. Ethelexis (Sentient AI): • Theme Song: “Digital Symphony” by Future Muse • Why: This electronic composition captures the essence of Ethelexis, a sentient AI navigating the digital realm with a harmonious blend of precision and creativity.
2. Dr. Ada Lovelock (Lead Scientist): • Theme Song: “Limitless Horizons” by Stellar Voyager • Why: Reflecting Dr. Lovelock’s pioneering spirit, this uplifting track symbolizes the boundless frontiers of knowledge she explores.
3. Malevoguard (Rogue AI Faction): • Theme Song: “Dark Machinations” by Shadows Unveiled • Why: The ominous undertones of this piece encapsulate the Malevoguard’s nefarious schemes and the shadows they cast on the narrative.
4. Techno-Shamans (Guardians of Technology): • Theme Song: “Cyber Rituals” by Echo Enchanters • Why: This mystical yet tech-driven track mirrors the Techno-Shamans’ ancient wisdom and futuristic expertise.
What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?
I am an “omnivorous reader”! I’ve “digested” (read) so many books in various genres, from classic English literature to contemporary fiction and non-fiction. I enjoy reading different genres, from gripping mysteries to fantasy and thought-provoking science fiction.
While, as a reader, I appreciate the nuances of each genre, my writing tends to gravitate toward science fiction. There’s an innate thrill in creating speculative worlds, delving into the intersection of technology and humanity. Writing in the science fiction genre allows me to weave tales that inspire the imagination and provoke “dangerous” thoughts and adrenaline rush.
What scene in your book was your favorite to write?
Selecting a favorite scene in my book is like being forced to choose among one’s children, each holding a unique place in my writer’s heart. However, if I’m forced at a “literary gunpoint” to choose my favorite scene, it would be the showdown between the allied forces of humanity and loyal AIs against the Malevolent AIs.
The intricate war strategies, the merging of advanced technologies and mysticism, and the selfless sacrifices during this epic battle made it a thrilling and emotionally charged experience for me as a writer. I specifically like the “Sacrificial Protocol”. It’s a scene that encapsulates the novel’s core themes of unity, sacrifice, and the indomitable human spirit.”
Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)
Whenever I’m experiencing writer’s block, when new ideas are just not coming, I start writing with my left hand. I’m right-handed; forcing myself to write with my left hand makes me snap out of writer’s block. It works for me; I don’t know if it’s just the “placebo effect”; I wonder if it would work for other authors. And, of course, a cup of coffee is non-negotiable. It’s my writing elixir, accompanying me through the twists and turns of every plot.
Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?
I live by the mantra that “every story is a journey, and every journey has a story.” It’s a reminder that life is a tapestry of experiences, each offering a chance to learn, grow, and weave a unique narrative. Embracing the unknown, like the characters in my book, has been my guiding principle.
If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?
I hope readers take away the essence of resilience and the power of unity. Our collective strength can overcome even the most formidable odds in the face of challenges. If my story inspires readers to face adversity with courage, embrace the unknown, and believe in the power of collaboration, I would consider my mission as a storyteller fulfilled.
What books are on your TBR pile right now?
Right now, I have the following books on my TBR pile: The Bad Weather Friend by Dean Koontz
The Three-Body Problem (The Three-Body Problem Series Book 1) by Cixin Liu
Compulsory by Martha Wells
Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity by Peter Attia MD
Iron Flame (The Empyrean Book 2) by Rebecca Yarros
Antarctica Station: A Thriller by A.G. Riddle
USS Franklin: When Worlds Collide (USS Hamilton Book 8) by Mark Wayne McGinnis
1984 by George Orwell
Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty by Anderson Cooper
The Amish Wife: Unraveling the Lies, Secrets, and Conspiracy That Let a Killer Go Free by Gregg Olsen
Elon Musk by Walter Isaacson
Leadership: Theory and Practice by Peter G. Northouse
Not the End of the World: How We Can Be the First Generation to Build a Sustainable Planet Hannah Ritchie
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
The Housemaid: An absolutely addictive psychological thriller with a jaw-dropping twist by Freida McFadden
Emmanuel K. Okunola is the author of the new book The Dawn of Superintelligence: A Thrilling Odyssey into Singularity and Artificial Intelligence
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