Former roboticist Daniel Wilson made a huge splash several years ago with his non fiction book How to Survive a Robot Uprising, and then set his optical implants on writing fiction. His debut novel Robopocalypse was a huge bestseller, and is set to become a Steven Spielberg flick. And now he's got a new novel out, Amped, about people in the near future who get cybernetic implants — and possibly become a new kind of human.

We asked Wilson what it was that first got him interested in robotics. Here's what he had to say. In this video, he talks about his early inspiration as a kid growing up in rural Oklahoma. Living in the Bible Belt, he said, he discovered that science was the only thing that made sense to him. Plus, robotics are just cool. "I don't know why everybody doesn't become a roboticist," he said.

What Was It is a series of short interviews co-hosted on io9 and Gizmodo that asks the luminaries of science and science fiction what inspired them to delve so deeply into the only kind of magic we have in the real world — science and technology. What was it that first opened their eyes? Find out more at What Was It?