[Daniel Suarez, originally published as Leinad Zaurus, delivered a talk on the themes developed in his (originally self published) book Daemon. The book is now scheduled to be released in hard cover in January 02009 by Dutton.]
Forget about HAL-like robots enslaving humankind a few decades from now, the takeover is already underway. The agents of this unwelcome revolution aren’t strong AIs, but “bots”– autonomous programs that have insinuated themselves into the internet and thus into every corner of our lives. Apply for a mortgage lately? A bot determined your FICA score and thus whether you got the loan. Call 411? A bot gave you the number and connected the call. Highway-bots collect your tolls, read your license plate and report you if you have an outstanding violation…
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