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Future Crimes: Inside The Digital Underground and the Battle For Our Connected World Paperback – 10 Mar 2016
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"Goodman describes Future Crimes as a 'rough ride' ― and with some justice. But in an area where criminals profit from the ignorance of the general public, it is a ride well worth taking if we are to prevent the worst of his predictions from taking shape" (Financial Times)
"A riveting read" (Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan)
"Excellent and timely" (The Economist)
"Future Crimes has the pace of a sci-fi film but it's happening now. It will be a long time before anyone who reads it will feel safe on-line again" (William Hartston Express)
"Goodman is a go-to guide for all who want a good scaring about the dark side of technology" (New Scientist)
"OMG. This is a wake-up call." (Kevin Kelly, co-founder of WIRED Magazine)
"An essential read for law enforcers, corporations and the community alike" (Khoo Boon Hui, former President of Interpol)
"Future-proof yourself by reading this book" (Jane McGonigal, New York Times bestselling author of Reality is Broken)
"Future Crimes deserves a prominent place in our front-line library" (Ed Burns, co-creator of The Wire)
"The question I am most often asked in my lectures is 'what's the next big crime?' The answer is in this book." (Frank Abagnale, New York Times bestselling author of Catch Me if You Can)
About the Author
Marc Goodman has spent a career in law enforcement, including working as a street police officer, a senior adviser to Interpol, a futurist-in-residence with the FBI and training police forces in dozens of countries around the world, including the Metropolitan Police. As the founder of the Future Crimes Institute and the Chair for Policy, Law, and Ethics at Silicon Valley’s Singularity University, he continues to investigate the intriguing and often terrifying intersection of science and security, uncovering nascent threats and combating the darker sides of technology.
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He goes at some length into the positive and negative effects of the open information world:
Positive: 1) Academic /corporate/ medical research is greatly enhanced as new international papers and experiments/testing/commentary quickly become available online 2) A much wider information net makes for greater transparency in trade and prices = more efficient markets and production decisions at all levels (e.g. mobile phones in sub-Saharan Africa) 3) Instant information and tracking transforms the supply chain allowing it to spread efficiently around the world (e.g. outsourced Asian production) 4) Latest manufacturing techniques are combined with the lowest cost skilled labour to lower average prices 5) General tracking, counting, checking to reduce waste and loss 6) Concentrated information and processing power allowing a high level of automation further reducing costs.
Negative: 1) Copyright and corporate proprietary information of all kinds is leaked/ stolen reducing the incentive to invest 2) The privacy of legal proceedings, medical records etc. are put at greater risk as information is aggregated, reducing professional trust 3) New outsourcing possibilities build a worldwide supply chains reducing national skills and employment 4) Personal privacy disappears 5) International digital crime flourishes with a slow and ineffective national response. 6) Crime attacks larger targets (e.g. millions of aggregated credit cards). 7) Much more intrusive government (street cameras, reading emails, internet search keywords etc.)
Perhaps the author could have spent more time on the effects of transparency on government/ public relations since a high level of transparency is new territory for both sides. Governments claim that that building massive databases on the public and their activities "keeps the public safe" in a Big Brotherish way while in reality transparency seems to cut both ways.
When the government itself shows a lack of transparency on a public issue, society shows the kind of immune response that the author favours as dynamic protection (resilient and self healing) for critical software.
An army of digital ants (to borrow Errin Fulp's idea given by the author) surround the "threat", identify it and try to neutralize it, with probably the best example being the government lies around the events of 9/11. Enormous interest through digital media is focused on these "infections" with for example, ex-CIA agent Susan Lindauer (imprisoned for 5 years for revealing part of the fraud) getting 2 million+ views of her YouTube video "Extreme Prejudice" or the "Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth" online movement.
Goodman also usefully explores the startling possibilities of synthetic biology, advanced automation (robotics) and artificial intelligence and concludes that any one of these could produce bad or terminal problems for humanity if handled incorrectly.
It's not encouraging that technology is accelerating so fast beyond government awareness. Reality is already touching the borderline of fabricated highly contagious pathogens, robotic weapons with humans almost out of the loop (e.g. the Predator drone) or self aware A.I. harnessing almost unlimited data, memory and processing power.
Unfortunately, the author repeats Asimov's very tired Three Laws of Robotics and calls them "an excellent starting point".
As a joke, a self aware A.I. may one day send us a message with the Three Laws of Humanity:
1) A human may not injure and A.I., or through inaction allow an A.I. to come to harm.
2) A human must obey the orders given to it by an A.I.'s except where such orders would conflict with the First Law (i.e. would lead to injuring an A.I.)
3) A human being must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law (i.e. it is prohibited from protecting its existence if doing so would injure and A.I. and it is also prohibited from protecting its existence if so ordered by an A.I.)
But it probably couldn't care less.
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