Orphaned and disillusioned, Diana Gutierrez-Adams is on a routine military assignment when she and her team are kidnapped by a domestic militia. She learns from her captors that her cryogenically-frozen grandfather is at the center of a high-stakes caper to steal technology for greed and great fortune. Challenged by the conspiracy and pulled by emotions she doesn’t fully understand, Diana begins a rescue mission that will change her life.
Set in 2049 America — a world where the elites make all the rules and artificial intelligence enforces them – the real danger is that the technology will be lost in the ensuing chaos. With her life under threat, Diana is forced into a desperate bid to escape, taking with her Gabrielle, her soulmate and the one person she knows she can trust.
To evade a devious enemy who is one step ahead of them at every turn, Diana and Gabrielle must outsmart the global monitoring systems that tracks their every move. On a trail littered with the dystopian remains of middle-class America, they will come face-to-face with an artificial intelligence that threatens the future of all humankind.
What happens to her is unexpected, perhaps miraculous – an adventure that embraces all her hopes for finding her true self and her place in a world dominated by powerful elites and even more powerful artificial intelligence.
Targeted Age Group:: Adult and Young Adult (Age 14 to 100)
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
When my granddaughter, Emily Grace Martinez-Calia, was born in 2018, she was the first female in my bloodline in 90 years. I began to wonder what kind of world she would live in. I imagine artificial intelligence will play a big role in society. I imagine the lure of technology will continue to threaten our privacy and freedom.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Among my favorite stories is The Wizard of Oz. My protagonist is modeled on Dorothy and her cohort represent respectively her intellect, her heart and her courage. Similar to The Wizard of Oz and other family stories — Star Wars, The Matrix — The Awakening of Artemis is a hero's journey.
“I always thought your Nobel had something to do with justice or society or something,” she said.
“Yes, it did. But there was an algorithm at the center of it. When artificial intelligence started to be used in decision making, it analyzed past decisions and applied the learned pattern to future decisions. I found a way to break the pattern.”
“I’m confused. What are you talking about?”
“Well, let me give you a couple of examples. Let’s say you are in charge of hiring people in a large company. You might have found it attractive to use artificial intelligence to assist in identifying high potential candidates. An algorithm would be created by analyzing data – ‘Big Data’ it was called at the time – identifying the attributes of the most successful people you had hired in the past.”
“Yeah,” Diana interjected. “What’s wrong with that?”
“Theoretically, nothing. But, in practice, the algo was analyzing data that reflected the bias of human corporate managers over a few decades. So, the algo would come to the conclusion that the most successful candidates were white males. Initially, corporate CEO’s blindly followed the advice of the algorithms until they realized that their solution to a problem had made the problem worse. Instead of removing the bias of a few individuals, they had institutionalized that bias.”
Fascinated, Diana asked, “and you solved that problem?”
“Yes,” replied Nick unable, despite his best efforts, to suppress a bit of a smile.
“And that’s what won you the Nobel?” she asked.
“Well, not exactly. That’s what paid for my research. I won the Nobel for applying it in a different setting.”
Diana’s raised eyebrows told him to continue.
“We – the nation – had a terrible problem. The bias of law enforcement officers and judges had led to disproportionate imprisonment of people with dark skin – African Americans and Latinos. Artificial intelligence made it worse. Before we used AI to make sentencing decisions, a biased judge might negatively affect a few hundred people. Using AI to normalize those decisions affected millions.”
“And you fixed that?” His smile gave her the answer. This is where I come from. This man is a hero – not in the same way people think of me as a hero. Diana found herself weighing the way society measured her heroism versus the way they might measure Nick Adams’ heroism. Which of us has affected more lives? It’s impossible to calculate.
They sat together quietly for a while, basking in the warmth of the setting sun shining through the tall west-facing windows and the warmth of the rekindled relationship they now enjoyed.
Diana had thought she had lost everyone except Gabrielle. Yet here she was sharing space with someone who had been lost to her when she was a child – someone who knew her family history — someone who cared about her, not because of what she had accomplished but rather only because she had been born. She sat and wondered. How has all this had come to pass? What does fate have in store for me?
A whiff of Nick Adams’ sweat mixed with Old Spice After Shave triggered a sense memory. She sunk into her chair, relaxing as she had not for longer than she could remember.
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