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Technology Programmed to Destroy
on May 30, 2009
Throughout history, technology has usually been portrayed as the deployment of science for the advancement of humankind in areas like personal comfort and convenience, medicine, economic productivity, and protection of the environment. Every so often, the daemons or forces of technology become roguish and throw us a curve and create circumstances that can be potentially harmful to our early existence. Daniel Suarez, in "Daemon", has written a novel that describes how this nightmarish situation can possibly happen under the most subtle of situations. Sobel, a famous designer of on-line games, has just died. Unbenownest to his associates, he has programmed an bad daemon to kick in and start using a particular game platform to initiate a major attack on the Internet's interconnectiveness as a global communications system. The mayhem and mischief resulting from this new dimension in internet terrorism makes for a truly exciting story. First, it will take a lot of human ingenuity to be able to locate and corner this rogue daemon on the worldwide web and, two, it will take an equal amount of savvy and determination to outsmart and finally eliminate it. On both these counts, Suarez does a masterfulk job in keeping his readers guessing as to what the outcome will be in this armageddon-like battle between the forces of oppression and freedom. The heroes in this story are not necessarily the ones who survive the vicious onslaught that results from subverting the Internet, the technology that was always meant to bring us closer together. Suarez reminds us that society, as it reaches for greater freedom through technology, opens itself to the possibility that it will encounter those in the system who want to control it for their own malevolent desires.