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Jack Carr hopes AI can be used for society's 'betterment,' but 'hope is not a course of action'

FIRST ON FOX: While the fast-evolving technology of artificial intelligence may be taking many authors today by surprise, No. 1 New York Times bestselling author Jack Carr is well ahead of the game, as is par for the course for this former Navy SEAL.

In a phone interview ahead of the publication of his highly anticipated new novel, “Only the Dead” — on sale on Tuesday, May 16 — Carr told Fox News Digital of AI, “In the national security space it will be and probably is being used extensively.”

He said, “The question now isn’t ‘could we’ or ‘should we,’ as AI is already here. The question now is about management of AI across industry. My hope is that AI can be used for the betterment of society — but as I learned in the SEAL Teams, hope is not a course of action.”


Also regarding artificial intelligence, Carr said further, “I started getting texts and emails early in 2023 asking me if I had heard of ChatGPT and what I thought of it considering the subject matter of my last novel, ‘In the Blood.’ That book features a quantum computer that is essentially a sentient version of ChatGPT.”

Added Carr, “I went deep ‘down the rabbit hole’ in my research of military and intelligence service AI, so much so that I received a few notes after the novel’s publication from people in that field telling me I got a bit close to our actual cyber capability in terms of the coupling of quantum speeds and AI.”

Jack Carr

Bestselling Jack Carr’s new novel is “Only the Dead,” out on May 16. Fox News Digital spoke to the former Navy SEAL sniper by phone ahead of his novel’s publication.  (Jack Carr)

He went on, “Like any tool, broadly speaking, it can be used in a variety of ways, the simplest of which is to reduce it into categories of ‘good’ and ‘evil.’ As a society we have shown a propensity toward using new tools for what most would term ‘evil’ – the manipulation of thoughts and behaviors to reach a desired end for a particular group or entity.”


Said Carr, “Practically, AI has the capability to transform industries and in the near term we will probably see a galvanization of unions to protect jobs threatened by a technology that can do something more efficiently and with a cost savings that is attractive to executive business leaders.”

Carr, who lives with his wife and children in Utah, is the creator of the character James Reece — a “man of extraordinary capability, hardened by war” and a former Navy SEAL — whom scores of readers have gotten to know well through the pages of his previous bestsellers, beginning with his debut novel “The Terminal List.” 

Carr is also the creator of the “Danger Close Podcast.”

In the new novel, Reece faces a global conspiracy including a world “on the brink of war and a weakened United States facing rampant inflation, political division and shocking assassinations” — all while a group of global elites are “ready to assume control.”

In an interview, Fox News Digital dove deep with Carr on his books, his writing, his thinking — and a number of other topics.

On writing his novels featuring James Reece

“The new book is a continuation of the story, while also [being] a standalone novel. It’s a richer reading experience, though, if you start from the beginning and get to know the characters. Just like all of us, they do change as they experience life — and hopefully, they do grow and especially for the protagonist apply some of the lessons from past novels in current novels in the form of wisdom.”

Only the Dead

Jack Carr’s newest novel, out on May 16, is “Only the Dead,” his sixth book to feature James Reece, his former Navy SEAL protagonist.  (Jack Carr)

So — “there is a story arc and it continues from my first book all the way through this one, just as there is in each individual novel as well. There’s an overarching hero’s journey just as there is in each book a beginning, middle and end — and resolution in each individual one.”

On the ‘trick’ of writing his novels — and the focus of the new book 

“You have to figure out how to keep the journey going long-term, because this is book number six, but it’s also [it’s a confined story within] a 138,000-word novel. This one is about truth and consequences — and really most of the issues that have been explored in the previous novels come to a head in this one.”

“I was thinking more tactically on the battlefield — then COVID hits.”

So “anyone who had questions about things that were lingering after the last five — most of those are answered in this one.”

On how many more novels to come in this series after the new book, ‘Only the Dead’ 

“When I started [the series], I wrote down about six, seven, eight, nine different one-page executive summaries — and I chose the one that I thought was going to be the most hard-hitting out of the gate, which was ‘The Terminal List’ — and those other ones are now becoming the other novels. So I have a few more to explore before I run out of those original ones.”


However, “the world has changed a lot since I wrote those down in December 2014 — a lot of things have changed. And a lot of things have changed as I was writing the novels, including ‘The Devil’s Hand.’ While writing that novel, I was looking at the United States through the eyes of the enemy — Russia, Iran, China, North Korea, super-power individuals, terrorist organizations. And as I’m writing that — when I started it, I was thinking more tactically on the battlefield — then COVID hits.”

Jack Carr

Jack Carr, bestselling author, shared inside details with Fox News Digital about his new novel. (Simon & Schuster)

And “certainly our enemies were looking at our response to COVID, so that became a part of that novel. And we had a summer of civil unrest — certainly, our enemies are figuring out how to capitalize on that. So I wrote that into the novel.”

And “we had a very contentious political season, obviously. And all those things have become part of the novels, just because, naturally, as we’re going through them as a country, my characters are going through those same experiences as well.”

On working in life lessons while keeping up his novels’ pace — and on having ‘100% creative control’

“So that’s the art part of this — there’s not much science there. If you were going by an ‘A, B, C’ sort of formula, I don’t know, after a couple of novels, that might wear thin.”

But “for me what I love about this is, there is no formula. I have 100% creative control. So no one at Simon & Schuster has ever said, ‘Hey, you know, you might want to lay off this a little bit,’ or, ‘You might get more readers if you did this or that.’

So “it all falls back on me. I have total ownership of it.”

On leadership and current events

“I get asked a lot on social media about leadership. And I get asked a lot for my thoughts on current events. So I weave those things into my novels as well, because it is very natural to do that, to have a person whose background is similar to mine.”

“I take what it was like to be ambushed in Baghdad in 2006 — and I take those emotions and apply them to my protagonist’s life.”

And “my protagonist is a former Navy SEAL sniper, as I was. And for him to be in the situation and think back on what he’s learned — whether it’s academically or through experience — and figure out how to capitalize on momentum, how to adapt quickly, how to look for gaps in the enemies’ defenses. But a lot of that is leadership, training, the study of warfare and also dealing with people.”

Jack Carr Stephen Hunter

Jack Carr is shown here with fellow novelist Stephen Hunter. Said Carr about his own career as a writer, “I wanted to do this since I was a little kid — and I did not get dissuaded along the way and actually wound up doing it.” (Jack Carr)

And yes, “that is leadership, too, whether it’s dealing with family or other people.”

So “it’s natural to weave all that in. It’s a part of my being.”


While “I don’t write about exactly what happened to me in Afghanistan, I take the feelings and emotions behind those things. So let’s say my character gets ambushed in California. Well, I take what it was like to be ambushed in Baghdad in 2006 — and I take those emotions and apply them to my protagonist in a completely fictional narrative. So it reads like it’s true.”

These things “do move the story forward, as it shows how the protagonist is using his past experience and applying it to the current situation.”

And “readers really seem to like that.”

On what he thinks about his ‘second career’ as a writer

“I wanted to do this since I was a little kid — and I did not get dissuaded along the way and actually wound up doing it.”


So “I wanted to serve my country specifically as a SEAL since age seven. And then at around age 10, 11, I started reading the same kind of books that my parents were reading — ‘Hunt for Red October,’ then David Morrell [and many others]. And I knew that one day, I would write these same kinds of thrillers.” 


So “I never diverged off that path. It’s very natural to be doing what I do now. It’s what I’ve prepared my whole life for, just like I prepared to be an operator on the SEAL teams.”

It just “seems right.”

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