As every good comedian and humorist finds out sooner or later, the real key to getting belly laughs from your audience is to connect with them at a gut level, and the key to establishing that connection is to choose the right audience. So, it’s no surprise that when Daniel H. Wilson, the author of How To Survive A Robot Uprising, visited Google recently to talk about the book, and tell a few robot jokes, he found a very receptive audience.
The book, published by Bloomsbury, has been sitting on our desk for a couple of months now. When we first got it, we read it from cover to cover, laughed a lot, groaned at some of the lame jokes, stopped to ponder many of his observations, and in general, really liked it.
So, if we liked it so much, why didn’t we take the time to write up a review for Robots Dreams until now?
Simple. We were really faced with a quandary. How To Survive A Robot Uprising appealed to us primarily because we share a lot of common interests and background (sans PhD.) with Wilson. We understood and appreciated the inside jokes because we have been on the ‘inside’ and like to believe that we have a reasonable grasp of the technology and state of the art. On the other hand, we really questioned whether or not the book would have general appeal, especially to people with a more casual interest in things robotic.
Would the book do more harm than good? Would people immediately realize that it’s a joke? Would our readers be well served and satisfied if they bought the book as a result of having read a review of it on this blog? We couldn’t make up our minds. So, the book sat there, waiting patiently, and gathering dust.
Sat there, until this afternoon when we discovered the video of Wilson’s Google visit (see video below). Wilson seems very much at home in front of the Google audience, and definitely in his environment. Although there are some slight indications of nerves, and he does forget the question that was asked from time to time, all things considered, he does a great job of entertaining and fulfilling the Google audience’s expectations.
You can form your own opinions as Wilson himself explains about How To Survive A Robot Uprising via the wonders of Google Video:
Good stuff. We’re definitely glad we took the time to read it, and now to post about it here.
Of course, as always, your mileage may vary. Just don’t let your Roomba catch you reading it.