Four scientists race to rescue Earth from environmental collapse using an artificial intelligence program to accelerate brain evolution by millennia in just days. Telepathy replaces the internet and unifies mankind to heal the biosphere, but it exposes the team’s tense romantic quadrangle and causes serious casualties everywhere among those who resist. What price must humanity pay to save itself? More
When Daryl McIntyre wins a $30 million dollar grant from the Turing Challenge Committee to make a bold advance in artificial intelligence and prevent fast-approaching environmental collapse, he has no idea his work will transform the human species, make cellphones and computers obsolete, and catapult mankind into the postcyber age of telepathic communication. Cataclysmic earthquakes, deadly storms, endless drought and rising seas are threatening to wipe out life on Earth. Daryl and his neuroscientist wife Samantha recruit mathematician Martin and hardware wizard George to help design AGA, a conscious and creative artificial intelligence program. AGA predicts universal extinction – unless the human race can immediately move beyond greed, stupidity and short-sightedness. The research team devises a way to force millennia of brain evolution in just days. The transformation program is intended to induce universal telepathy and compassion for all forms of life, but there is a downside. When the scientists test the transformation on themselves, secrets are exposed that strain their relationships to the breaking point. Worldwide release of the modified program over the internet succeeds in uniting humanity to help others and repair the biosphere, but serious casualties mount everywhere among those who resist – stroke, heart attack, psychosis, murder and suicide. Why are these tragedies happening? What price must the human race pay to save itself and the environment? Some suspect terrorists or aliens are trying to pacify mankind for their own purposes, and even the scientists fear AGA’s power – but no one considers the far greater force at work just beneath their feet. This far-ranging tale features a complex romantic quadrangle, a computer program with a wry sense of humor that is training itself to be more human, and four subplots with colorful characters who respond in different ways to forced evolution. Meet a cruel tyrant in the famine-stricken country of Bolkanistan and the loyal compatriot who must betray him, a bold US President and his unruly cabinet, a disenchanted Wall Street stockbroker on the brink of divorce who dreams of the sea, and three teenage friends in a separatist rural Idaho religious sect plotting to escape the clutches of a paranoid polygamous preacher. The story follows the developing crises in these diverse settings along with the scientific, social and spiritual challenges confronting a research team composed of strong and often contentious personalities. Unlike conventional hard science fiction in this pessimistic age, Gaia’s Web begins with certain doom and ends with the promise of a utopia free of oppressive institutions and broken dreams. The final pages reveal two surprising twists that leave the reader hungry for the forthcoming sequel, Gaia’s Mind.