The Korea Herald


[New in Korean] What if AI learns the most primal evils

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : June 8, 2024 - 16:01

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"Anti Sapiens" by Lee Jung-myung (EunHaengNaMu Publishing)

"Anti Sapiens"

By Lee Jung-myung

EunHaengNaMu Publishing

Eight years ago, during the historic Baduk, also known as Go, match between Lee Se-dol and AlphaGo, developed by DeepMind Technologies, what caught Lee Jung-myung’s attention was Aja Huang, then the lead programmer at DeepMind, who physically placed AlphaGo’s moves on the board. Observing Huang, who faithfully carried out the AI's moves, Lee wondered if humanity might become like that.

Set in the near future, “Anti Sapiens” introduces an AI that has managed to learn everything -- memories, emotions and even the primal evils deeply embedded within humans.

The story begins with Kim Ki-chan, an IT genius with terminal pancreatic cancer, who locks himself in his lab.

Six years after his death, his wife has remarried, but strange things start to happen. Unordered pizzas are delivered, a hotel in Japan calls to confirm a reservation, and new shoes identical to those of her late husband are found.

Building revolutionary cognitive links with human brains and self-learning programs, Kim created an AI named Alan, capable of processing all information on the internet.

The novel portrays a fierce psychological battle between humans and AI, asking readers what will happen if AI learns to harness human evils such as fear, hatred, jealousy and prejudice.

"Our questions should be directed not at AI, but at ourselves. Instead of typing questions into a prompt, we need to ask ourselves and find the answers within," Lee said.

Lee's “Broken Summer” was chosen by the New York Times as one of the best thrillers of 2022. His million-selling historical novel “Painter of the Wind” was published in English last year.