After reading the first two books “How the body shapes the way we think” and “Sapiens” and enjoying them to the fullest, I was very excited to get my hands on the next book. And I have to admit, the book didn’t disappoint. It is tense, gripping and superbly scripted. Besides the fact that it is highly addictive, Daemon by Daniel Suarez provides very intriguing thoughts as well as truly shocking ideas.Starting from the beginning, we discover that Mathew Sobol was an extraordinarily intelligent man with an IQ of 220 and a knack for manipulation. It is assumed that Matthew Sobol, a billionaire game developer, had gone mad in the last few years of his life and swore to wreak havoc after his death by orchestrating murders from beyond the grave. For this purpose, he created a computer program with the name Daemon in the background of every system that has installed his massively popular online multiplayer game. After Sobol’s death, Daemon created chaos across the world, exploited weaknesses in computer networks and used them for its own purposes. So there is one obvious question that rises: What is the intelligence of Daemon and can we talk here about intelligence ?I, personally, don’t think that Daemon is actually intelligent. After all, it is nothing but a computer program. It does what it was programmed to do and doesn’t have consciousness. The Daemon is purely an exercise in computer code, functioning through a logic tree, albeit a highly complex one. It uses the basic of machine learning algorithms in tracking down news stories; comparing them with pre-assigned keywords that trigger components of the distributed daemon program; acoustic weaponry; planting and deleting files completely through a computer virus; hacking into servers and sitting dormant. The Daemon is programmed to trigger certain events at certain times. Human agents are then presented with certain opportunities. They may choose to do as the Daemon asks, or they may not. If they do, they often find that there is no way out but by death, however the first choice is theirs. Between these human agents, who receive their instructions based on their choices and the events scanned in the news, and the events triggered solely by other events that get reported, the Daemon is able to gain control of the majority of America’s corporations and public life, but only through those agents and events. The Daemon does not “decide” to do anything, it is rather triggered by a preset event (i.e. “If X happens, then do Y”). The intelligence behind it is certainly Sobol’s intelligence, a human man, and instead of something beyond our understanding driving its actions and choices, what the Daemon does is fully a function of human agency and choice.To answer the second question, I don’t think the story of Daemon to be believable for three reasons. The most obvious one is that Sobol acted all alone and created the daemon without the help of any accomplice in such an error-free way. Of course this shuts down the option of finding someone to stop the crime but could that be possible? In my eyes it is not. How much effort would it take to plan everything as explicit as it is done in the book? In my opinion, it is too much for a single person. Sobol acts therefore as an infallible fortune-teller. He predicts everything right on the money. It may be somehow foreseeable to forecast some events but I don’t believe that one person can anticipate the behavior of so many different people. For example, his house is set up just too well and does everything impeccable timed. At one point, the lights of the house are switched off to let the police think they succeeded and then the power is switched back on just in time. That seems veryfar-fetched. I mean the system is said to be programmed without real intelligence. It basically can’t draw logical conclusions but only react. So Sobol must have predicted the timing to light up the house extremely accurate. I don’t see that happen. Above all, the scene at the end of the book when Sebeck talks to Sobol: how can just one person determine the outcome of Sebeck’s life? In the meantime so many things have happened to him. Apart from this it sounds extremely unlikely to me that we have one genius guy developing an algorithm to subdue the whole world and no one can hinder him in some kind of manner. Ok he did kill two employees who had the knowledge to stop him. One of the greatest or maybe the greatest technology developer of the modern age was Steve Jobs. He made Apple the richest and most valuable company in the world. He served as their CEO for about 14 years. After he passed away the company didn’t fall apart, their stock went up. So it appears to be improbable that in this day and age we have this one guy who is superior to everyone else. And the only one coming close to Sobol allies with him. To me that seems a little bit exaggerated. Due to the fact that technological research and development is so fast, a computer program coded by just one guy that can’t be reprogrammed or adjusted does not appear to be a lifelong threat for the society but rather obsolete after a couple of years.The second reason why I don’t think the story of Daemon to be believable is how short the time in which all the events happen. In the book, approximately one year passes where everything takes place. If these changes would really happen in reality, it would take much more time for these achievements. I am also the opinion that the technologies change our lives and soon we will be even more entangled with technology. Artificial intelligence will be available to us and will bring us to new achievements. I doubt, though, that this happens as fast and as violent as in the book. The changes will happen subtle without a bloody revolution or technology taking over our lives. Behind every machine, there will always be a human being controlling it. Of course, there is some responsibility coming along with it and ethical questions have to be answered, but I do not think that in the future we will all be suppressed by technology and artificial machines.And last but not the least, something that the whole book takes for granted is that at every path in every place even before the Daemon is able to set up a complete corporation by recruiting individuals, it is just assumed that all the technical gadgets and programs will work perfectly. In practice, as we have all seen even 10 years later, everything technological has the slight chance of having issues and malfunctioning out of the blue. It seems that Sobol does not take that into account except for his estate, that important hardware equipment might just malfunction and stop working and since his whole operation was dependent on every piece of individual components, it seems like a highly risky thing to just assume it is all going to work out.To sum everything up, I really liked reading the book. I am surprised that all the technologies discussed in the book really exist. But as any other inventions, everything can be used for good or bad things. Human beings have the power to use the technological advices wisely for improving the future. As Mr. Sobol says in the book: “My Daemon is not your enemy. *…+ It is neither good nor evil. It is like fire, and it will burn those who do not learn to use it” (page 325). These words can be taken for technology and artificial intelligence in general. Progress is not dangerous, but there comes a lot of responsibility with it.

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