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Military authors use fiction to explore the dangers and benefits of artificial intelligence

Andrews and Wilson say that their military experience allowed them to create characters in their books to which readers can relate.

June 4, 2023 6:42am

Updated: June 4, 2023 6:42am

Bestselling military fiction authors Brian Andrews and Jeffrey Wilson are using their writings to explore questions about artificial intelligence and the potential dangers and advantages of the human-like technology. 

"Always ask the 'what if' question," Wilson said in an exclusive interview with Just the News. "We’re very interested in the concept of AI in general, and we wanted to pose questions in a book. We see potential in AI for good, but we are also cautious."

Artificial intelligence is often best described as technology that addresses situations or problems by solving them like a human thinking through them would – instead of as if a human had programmed them to do.

And while such technology has proven successful in the advancement, for example, of self-driving vehicle and voice-recognizing apps like Siri, it also has the potential to be misused, like ChatGPT composing essays for students or even more nefarious tasks.

Andrews and Wilson served in the U.S. Navy before becoming authors. They said that their military experience has really inspired the characters in their books and views on artificial intelligence. 

"The characters resonate with people," Wilson said. "We try to write characters that are based on military service, which is why we think people can relate to them."

The authors' upcoming book – "The Sandbox" –  is about artificial intelligence gone wrong, resulting in government officials having to be heroes and save the day. It's described as "Silence of the Lambs" meets "Ex Machina," two psychological thriller films. 

"We don’t know how an artificial intelligent mind would work," Andrews explained. "We wrote this before Chat GPT was released. There’s a general belief that these technologies aren't sentient, but the book dives into that quite a bit."

"Does artificial intelligence have a mortal compass?" he also asked. "Does it have morals? Can it love? Can it feel pain? [Sandbox] is a thriller that is exciting and scary at times that asks some of these questions." 

Software developments such as ChatGPT have caused people to ask how far these intelligence bots can go. 

"We don’t consider ourselves experts," Wilson said. "But I do believe that we need to come to a consensus as a culture and a planet as to what kinds of safety features when it comes to AI because it will affect us all.

"It needs to be a mix of humankind, needs to be a mix of intelligence and doctors and scientists playing a role in its development."

The writing duo's "Tier One" books series was a Wall Street Journal best seller

Andrews and Wilson said that fiction and nonfiction works each have inspired their writings

Andrews particularly cited "Superintelligence" by Nick Bostrom, saying he and Wilson read it before writing "The Sandbox."

They also mentioned such authors as Don Bentley and Joshua Hood. 

Wilson also emphasized the importance of having new stories that showcase the modern day.

“Our military service from the last 20 years is different from our fathers and grandfathers," he said. "You need new stories. We need fresh new stories that reflect our condition and not rehashes from the 80s and 90s."

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