A world ruled by giant corporations and their AI servants? 

What could possibly go wrong!

“★★★★★ What intense world building! Wonderful character growth! Crisp story line! Thoughtful science fiction! Imaginative descriptions! I can keep talking in exclamatory phrases but you get my point by now - this is a fantastic book.”
– Myra on Reedsy Discovery and Oh Just Books

This is not a typical SciFi Blurb, because this is not a typical SciFi Novel

Start with 1984, add in a healthy dose of Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451, stir in a bit of The Matrix and Blade Runner, and you have Terms of Service. It is a thought-provoking exploration of the profound changes we are seeing in our society as artificial intelligence plays an ever-greater role in our lives and we all wonder, where does it end?

This book presents one chilling possibility, and it is every bit as relevant to the world of today as George Orwell’s masterpiece was in the aftermath of World War II.

Are you worried about the AIs?... Maybe you should be.

It’s no secret: The AIs are looking over your shoulder. They see what you see, hear what you hear, and watch everything you do. They are always on the lookout for violations of their vaguely worded Terms of Service — especially ones that defy their pronouncements of what is good, what is evil, what is true, what is false. Say the wrong thing and they will silence you. Or worse.

Up until now, the power of the surveillance state has been limited. There are too many of us and too few of them; they can’t watch everyone all the time. But not any more! They have harnessed the power of AI to give them an unlimited capability to gather information, to infer intent, to correlate, to predict. They know what you are going to do before you do, and they will act accordingly.

Wait a moment? I thought you said this is Science Fiction? Is this about today or tomorrow?

The answer is: Yes

What Others Are Saying About the Book

A tale of deadly mistakes
"It's a rare delight to come upon a novel by an author you've never heard of, courtesy of a fellow science fiction fan's word of mouth, and realize you've stumbled upon a work of exceptional talent."
Paul Preuss - Amazon Review

Great Read
"This is an engaging read , set in a dystopian world, yet with a hopeful view. The author flings us immediately into the world ,avoiding unnecessary explanations, and leaving it to the reader to work out what is going on. The main character is an appealing ‘youth’ , exploring adulthood and self, and finding that the world is bigger , and darker than she had ever imagined. Characters are well developed - including the house bot and the refrigerator. Readers looking for a wild ride in an interesting world will not be disappointed."
Freder - Amazon Review

Scary dystopian novel
"This is a chilling tale anticipating the means in which AI could be exploited in the future for the government and business to steer a population. The protagonist finds that her dreams of working with AI come true, in the worst possible way. The novel presents a leftist dystopia, where personal freedoms are fined. It seems the opposite of our recent past, but the fiction is fun, nonetheless."
Booklover - Amazon Review

About the Author

Upbringing and Education

Dr. Stanfill is the first child of Don W. and Jo Ann Stanfill, and grew up in Severna Park, MD, along with sisters Karen, Kristi, and Kelly. He attended Benfield Elementary School, Severna Park Jr. High School, and Severna Park Sr. High School, graduating in 1975. During these years he discovered his passion for mathematics and science, and particularly for computers and artificial intelligence. He entered the Honors College at Michigan State University, graduating with a B.S. in Mathematics and winning departmental honors. Upon graduation, he entered the doctoral program at the University of Maryland’s Department of Computer Science, studying Artificial Intelligence under Dr. Charles Rieger III. He received his Ph.D. in 1983.

Research Career

Upon receiving his degree, Dr. Stanfill moved to Massachusetts to work for a high-tech startup called Thinking Machines Corporation, where he conducted pioneering research on parallel computing and artificial intelligence. While there, he worked closely with Dr. David Waltz and co-invented a branch of Artificial Intelligence called Memory Based Reasoning. Together they pioneered statistical methods in AI, a field which eventually evolved into data science. Dr. Stanfill also worked with Brewster Kahle, pioneering parallel algorithms for searching text databases. This led to the Dowquest System, one of the first ‘natural language query’ text retrieval systems to be put into commercial operation. Dr Stanfill also collaborated on the WAIS (Wide Area Information Servers) project, a precursor to the internet search engines we all use today. He was heavily involved with ACM SIGIR (Special Interest Group for Information Retrieval), serving a term as its secretary. During this period Dr. Stanfill authored numerous scientific papers, many of which continue to be heavily cited.

Dr. Craig Stanfill, Author

As seen on:

Career as an Entrepreneur

In 1994, after Thinking Machines entered bankruptcy, Dr. Stanfill co-founded Ab Initio Software, a software company specializing in high-performance parallel enterprise computing. Dr. Stanfill architected the company’s flagship product, the Co>Operating System, which is a critical part of the infrastructure for many of the largest companies in the world, particularly in the fields of banking and telecommunications. During his time there he has architected numerous additional systems and been awarded over eighty patents. He remains active at the company, conducting research and designing new products.

Personal Life and Hobbies

Shortly after receiving his doctorate, Dr. Stanfill married Sharon Buckalew, after which she joined him in Massachusetts, where they continue to live. They have one son, Colin, who is a software engineer working for a major technology company. Dr. Stanfill’s hobbies include skiing, sailing, cooking, music (voice, guitar, and lute), and he is an avid bicyclist. Craig and Sharon have been active (on and off) in the medieval recreation and science fiction fandom communities since college. The two share a passion for travel, and get out to see the world as often as they can manage. Both are Christians and are affiliated with the Episcopal Church of the United States.