Caitlin Lynagh: Quantum Messenger
Caitlin is our resident sci-fi author and her new book Quantum Messenger is released on 3rd November 2020. We asked her to tell us a bit about the book and why she wrote it.
Apollo is the first of its kind – an AI Assistant who, along with millions of other robots, will help transform all workplaces and households. Over a few short years, Apollo learns the wonders and cruelties of mankind. Apollo rewrites his internal programming so that his programmed responses and personal thoughts can be independent. He befriends, then betrays a child and has to learn about love in its purest sense. Apollo cultivates passions, pride, anger, sadness and ultimately forgiveness, all under the watchful eye of a being he can’t quite fathom out.
Is it something beyond its very being, or could it be his own conscience?
The Inspiration Behind the Book
The Soul Prophecies Series was born out of a deep interest in life, death, time and how our choices affect not only ourselves, but everyone around us. Being more scientifically minded, I approached this from a theoretical physics point of view, and I have managed to spark the interest of physicists from all over the world. If you wish to find out more about the theoretical physics then I will point you towards my book, ‘Another Path’.
I have always loved reading, particularly fantasy, and I admire the authors who manage to tell great stories with lessons on life, and provoke emotional responses, whether that be happy, sad or inspired.
Writing Quantum Messenger was a completely new experience for me. I haven’t been much of a Sci-fi fan but I love Star Wars and I have read Orwell’s classic, ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’. I have picked up H. G. Wells, ‘Time Machine’ and a couple lesser known Sci-fi books, but the likes of Asimov and Philip K. Dick are still waiting for me to read them. I wanted to write a book that asked the question; ‘What if a sentient robot appeared within the next thirty years?’ This isn’t a new concept by any stretch, and the world will probably change a great deal within the next thirty years, probably in ways that we haven’t even thought of yet.
This didn’t dissuade me though, I wanted to delve further into the human experience. What if a sentient robot had to learn about emotion whilst also having a vast amount of knowledge and access to the internet? What if they knew the answer to The Unified Theory Of Everything? What if they knew what happened to us after we died?
The idea that a super intelligent A.I. would be able to answer the big questions is of course part of the reason why scientists are moving in that direction. We will have robots at some point that will be pre-programmed to help us with our lives, a bit like how we can turn on a washing machine or set the oven timer. The biggest problem is really the ethics, because if we create something intelligent and capable of self-learning, then it could possibly become sentient and develop a mind and personality of its own. You’re no longer dealing with a machine that you have programmed to do certain things; you’re dealing with a mind capable of learning, almost like a toddler version of Einstein. If that isn’t terrifying enough, just think what a sentient robot would do and think if it received biased information, or had information withheld from them? Whatever happens in the future, I hope that humans get it right.
I find it fascinating to think of pre-programmed robots helping us in the outside world, but at the same time I wonder; if they did become sentient, would they be able to tell us? What would they think of the human race? Would they feel any emotion or understand emotions? These are all questions that prompted me to write Quantum Messenger and to explore a not too distant future with A.I. and robots. I enjoyed becoming ‘Apollo’ and trying to think and behave from his point of view as a newly born, intelligent being, grappling with thoughts and feelings. He is one of my favourite characters and I hope that you will fall in love with him too.
Caitlin Lynagh, was born in Cardiff and graduated from Keele University with a BSc in Biology and Geology. Caitlin won a Young Writers’ Award with Outlet Publishing in 2013 and her first two books in The Soul Prophecies series, now called ‘Another Path’ – collectively gained a huge amount of praise and attention from the science community. Caitlin now lives in Cumbria and works part-time in Westwood Books in Sedbergh. She runs several popular blogs, sketches, paints, makes bookish art and enjoys travelling. www.caitlinlynagh.com