Thursday, 29 November 2012

Bibliophilia: Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez

Kill Decision – Daniel Suarez

Didn’t like it quite as much as his first two books (which I loved), but I still liked this a lot. Scared the hell out of me though. It explores the concept (not a fanciful science fiction conceit) of applying swarm intelligence (think ants) into drones. Drones I find fascinating, and I admit that I don’t lose sleep over the US whacking fundamentalist scum in Pakistan with them. Compared to WW2 when hundreds of bombers would be flown against a target, suffering terrible losses, with incredible collateral damage, a targeted strike is preferrable.

At one time drones were the purview of major world powers. They cost a staggering amount to develop and operate. But now, non-nation players like Hezbollah have drones. Not nearly as sophisticated as what Israel has, but if your intent is to spy on your enemies, it will suffice. D
rones are within the reach of almost anyone. For a few hundred dollars, you can have a remote controlled helicopter or plane, mount a camera on it, and you have a functional observation drone.

But the book delves into something chilling, and it is not a sci-fi fantasy. Namely, autonomous drones. Drones that aren’t controlled by a human, but that make their own decisions. The reason given is that sophisticated powers (Russia, China, Iran, etc.) can jam the signals that control the drone. So, in order to avoid that, the idea is to have a drone that can navigate, distinguish targets and fire on them, without a human saying yay or nay.

And I concur with the accolades that he seems to be becoming the inheritor of the Creighton techno-thriller mantle.

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