Darknet – Book Review
Darknet is one of the most interesting and thought provoking sci fi books that I have read in awhile. As someone who is deeply immersed in the fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence, I have come across or thought about many of the ideas that have been presented in this book, especially the central theme – autonomous agents that aided by our increasingly digital online worlds, become capable enough to run their own corporate entities. Technology is not quite there yet for a creation of such an agent, but it’s probably much closer than most people realize. That’s why it was really interesting to go through the intellectual exercise of imagining what kind of things would such an entity engage in if it comes to be. For that reason alone Darknet is very worthwhile read for all AI geeks out there.
To make a good story, however, it is not enough to be able to come up with a cool scenario and just talk about it. For one, you would probably soon run out of things to say. It would also make an incredibly boring story. Robots, AIs and automation may very well take away all of our jobs some day soon, but for a good story you need relatable characters – you need people. Fortunately, one of Mathers’ biggest strengths is his ability to come up with relatable and believable characters. He invests time and effort to build each one of his main characters, providing them with fairly detailed and nuanced background life stories. You’ll even find some profound nuggets of life wisdom in here. All of this makes darknet such an enjoyable book to read.
After reading CyberStorm and Darknet, Matthew Mather is slowly becoming my favorite Science Fiction author, and one of my favorite Sci-Fi authors of all time. The most engaging feature of his novels – as well as perhaps the most disturbing – is that they don’t require too much suspension of disbelief – if any. Many aspects of his novels could very well be happening right now.
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