Otis Chandler's Reviews > Daemon

Daemon by Daniel Suarez
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's review
Nov 04, 10

liked it
bookshelves: thriller, geek, ai
Read from October 18 to November 02, 2010

** spoiler alert ** Kind of Dan Brown-esque but with a fun geek twist. And the geek in me enjoyed it. Would have given it four stars, but I didn't love the ending. It was a truly interesting premise though: A computer programmer dies of cancer and leaves behind a program that kicks into life when it sees his obituary in the news, and wreaks havoc with some unknown goal in sight.

In the first half of the book I had a lot of fun trying to imagine the program that Sobol wrote. It was basically a big logic tree, where each possibly outcome in the real world was accounted for in the program. It would have taken a lot of preparation and attention to detail to go through all the possible outcomes and not missing anything, and one bug could make the whole thing fail. Wouldn't that be embarrassing? I guess Sobol had some good unit tests?

In the second half of the book (trying to not give anything away), the AI goes beyond what I think a skilled programmer could do today. Certainly an interesting thought exercise, but playing up a little bit too much on our fear of "oh my gosh all information is digital now so a hacker could just take out our whole society!" Many a hacker has stayed up all night with the same thoughts!

What I really want to know is where I can get some of those voice projector/sensors? They sound cool!
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Ronyell (new)

Ronyell Awesome review Otis! It sounds interesting about how a computer program goes crazy after it master dies.

Carl-johan Sveningsson Hi Otis,

Cool that you liked the book, but I wish you would read the next book instead of being scotch with the grade due to the ending. A lot of people are saying that it's a poor ending, but it's anyway a cliffhanger for the sequel FreedomTM.

Also, two comments regarding the complexity of the system in the second half of the book which you mention - it's not a single skilled programmer, Sobol probably had entire teams working, why otherwise would he kill some off? Also, it's not AI, it's a rule-script-based game system (imagine complex quests and whatever in online games) where human operatives also can provide very human components, the system doesn't have to be smart! I really believe it's doable, and that's terrifying.

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