ClaBrea 07-06-59


A Novel


Richard A. Clarke

G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2007, 309 pp., ISBN 0-399-15378-5



Richard Clarke was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence for Ronald Reagan.  He was Assistant Secretary of Sate for Politico-Military Affairs and a Member of the National Security Council Staff under George H. W. Bush.  He was a special assistant to President Clinton and National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism for Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush.  He was the Special Adviser to the President of Cyberspace Security. 


In other words, he is in a position of knowing what could happen.  He is the author of two other popular novels on terrorism, Against All Enemies and The Scorpion's Gate.


Breakpoint is a novel about technology terrorism.  It is "filled with the technology being developed right now for a future just around the corner or in many cases already here--a technology certain to cause enormous political, social, and economic change.  Will the changes be for better or worse?"  "Sometimes you can tell more truth through fiction." (Flyleaf)


In the novel, advanced technology development has gone underground because it would frighten the public and some politicians.  Humans are being repaired and then enhanced through technology.  Intelligent software is writing software beyond human understanding.  Supercomputers are being connected to form a global grid.  An extra pair of chromosomes is being added to embryos of the very rich that can later be triggered to provide certain advanced qualities.  Human memories are being downloaded to the internet.  The combination of carbon-based life and silicon-based intelligence will soon produce transhumans.


Right wing politicians rail against these advances.  China is threatened by falling behind.  Countries that provide computer parts are hardwiring in 'back doors' so they can monitor technology advances.  Someone is paying big bucks to hire hackers to break into the national security systems and rewrite codes to shut down satellites and the U.S. power grid.  Bigger disasters are planned.  The Feds suspect the Chinese.  Who is doing it and will it lead to war?


It is frightening to realize that wherever advances are being made in science, there are geniuses with a will to turn the advances to evil purposes.  The greater the advances in science, the greater the potential for evil. 


It is also very interesting to try to ascertain the author's philosophy.  Is he promoting greater freedom for scientific advance or more control?  Does he believe open sharing of information and negotiation will nearly always avoid international conflict?  Does he think scientific advances in human biology will lead to good or evil?


What do you think?  What scares you most about the various scenarios?


Note:  The fictional characters aren't Christian and they don't talk like Christians.


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