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Cover to "Sibling Rivalry"

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Sibling Rivalry: A Short Story by Anthony Francis

Thinking Ink Press is proud to bring the classic science fiction story “Sibling Rivalry” back into print. “Sibling Rivalry” was Epic award-winning author Anthony Francis’s first publication, appearing in Leading Edge magazine in 1995.

Artificial intelligence. AI. The spark that brings about the robot apocalypse. In fiction, AIs always have weaknesses: they’re vulnerable to logical paradoxes, back door viruses and pesky EMP blasts. Real AIs would have no such comforting limitations: deft at parsing speech, clever at closing their own loopholes, and secured in military-hardened housings, a true general artificial intelligence would prove a difficult challenge to defeat … even to its own designer.

Written by a PhD in artificial intelligence, “Sibling Rivalry” tells the story of the Nicole AI system, the most advanced artificial intelligence ever created … until today. Confronted with a newer, better sibling designed to replace her, Nicole decides that instead of becoming an obsolete brain in a box, she’d rather become an unstoppable killer. With his team, and perhaps the entire building, dead, Nicole’s designer is trapped in a battle of wits with his own creation. Attempt after attempt fails, and with his oxygen running out, Nicole’s designer finds himself running a deadly race with Nicole … to see who can stop whose weak heart first.

From the Foreword by Jim Davies

Robots and other artificial intelligences make great antagonists. The tension an artificial intelligence (AI) makes in our minds, being somewhat object and somewhat person, makes them endlessly fascinating, and sometimes frightening. It is particularly challenging for a writer to realistically describe how one would defeat an AI, especially if the author has raised the stakes and made the AI superintelligent. Written by AI researcher Anthony G. Francis, “Sibling Rivalry” shows instead a realistic and clever way to beat an AI without resorting to contrived limitations.