Nov 05 2010

Breakpoint

Published by at 5:32 pm under Books,Speculative

by Arthur A. Clarke

This book gets a mixed reaction from me. Clarke is an acknowledged government security expert with a lot of experience and knowledge who has written a story about his area of expertise. But, in many ways he tells a very simple and not very subtle story. Much of the time it reads like a listing of bad thing that could be done to a country by manipulating computers and the networks that connect them. Overall, it is clear cut bad vs. good with little to no gray aspects and cardboard cut out characters.
But, it is not a lousy book which should just be ignored. While it is very optimistic on technological progress it does introduce some of the issues related to advanced technology. Especially, “nano” technology and biological enhancement. It even touches lightly on the idea of the “trans-human” aspects of what those technologies might lead to. Issues raised include what improvements are acceptable and what’s the importance of the distinction between repairing and enhancing? Overall, Clarke seems to say that fixing is okay, but enhancing is not. Another issue is who will benefit: just those with money? In that case, the result is a likely increase in inequality as the rich get the enhanced capabilities (first) and then gaps only widen.
Worth reading. Especially if you are on a long airplane flight.

One response so far

One Response to “Breakpoint”

  1. retrotech » Zero Dayon 09 Jun 2011 at 6:49 pm

    […] and mystery to complement its main cybercrime story. Somewhat similar to Arthur Clarke’s “Breakpoint” but more clearly tied to the here and now risks of a terrorist attack on current Internet based […]

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