Discover some “What If” scenario’s in digital doom
I’m a digital optimist. So once in a while it’s good to force yourself to think about “what if” doom scenario’s to bring back some balance.
We regularly get exposed to incidences of hacking, identity theft and even nation sponsored cyber attacks as revealed by Snowden.
Talking to colleagues & customers however I don’t see a sense of urgency and especially an understanding of how big of a threat this could become.
With summer vacation ahead of us, some possible beach reading around that topic.
I personally enjoyed reading the novel The Circle, from a known digital pessimist David Eggers.
Eggers demonises with his story a cliché world where one company called the Circle has become so dominant that it manages all public and private information.
I find the story over dramatic but it does project you into some “what if ” scenario’s that don’t look that far fetched after all. The story starts from a simple optimistic premise of technology being able to start a second age of Enlightenment because knowledge becomes so easy to access to all. The story however evolves to a world of all seeing and all knowing, a world where all information is knowledge and nobody can own it. It is nicely coined “info-communism”
I will not spoil the storyline which starts off quite slow but builds up after that. Don’t be surprised to end the book with some reflections on democracy and religion.
If you really want to get a double expresso on digital doom , I can recommend reading Dark Territory, the secret history of Cyber War by Fred Kaplan.
This is NOT a novel. Kaplan is one of America’s leading writers on National Security. The book is based on input from more than 100 diverse participants involved in Cyber security.
I think it is very refreshing to put the Snowdon leaks and the recent revelation of the PRISM program into a historic view of espionage that was dominated by Americans. Clearly, that supremacy is gone : digitalisation has broken the GEO balance of power. The world of exponential technology is de facto also available now for any cyber attacker with access to the internet.
The part that was most revealing to me is how vulnerable our basic physical infrastructure of electricity, telecommunication, water en food supply is not to talk about our financial infrastructure. In a world of Internet of Things (IOT), a world of 50billion connected device, everything becomes hackable. No need anymore to drop big bombs – just focus on just a couple of key nods of our infrastructure and a whole nation / economy goes into meltdown…. Like any historic review sometimes a bit detailed and lengthy but a story difficult to grab your head around except with these type of books.