I’m back from Christmas break and decided to reflect on the types of books that I have read in 2016, and what they have helped me understand about the world around me. Probably the most interesting books that I have read over the course over the year is Dark Territories by Fred Kaplan and Industries of the Future by Alec Ross. These two books both deal with technology, but in two different ways.
Dark Territories talks about the history of cyber war back from the presidency of Ronald Reagan up to President Obama’s presidency. I found it interesting to see how people’s view of the importance of cyber war grew over the years. During President Reagan’s time, people didn’t think that cyber war was such a big issue, because laptops and other devices had just come out and the Internet was a very new concept at the time. However, even then, the issue was very important. Over time, as intelligence agencies and the world at large saw the implications of cyber war, the issue became very prevalent in history and still is today.
Industries of the Future talks about how new technology could have an impact on what we as humans are able to do in the next few years, in spite of the fact that technology is everywhere in the modern age. For example, while we may now have drivers and Ubers taking us from place to place, in a few years, we may have self-driving cars which don’t necessarily need a driver in the car in order for it to operate. Another example that surprised me is that at the hotels, humans are now at the concierge and customer services desks, but there are already robots taking over those duties in some places around the world.
Those books made me reflect on what the future holds and what implication will it have on future generations. How can we be secure in a changing environment, be it cyber or physical? Online threats are becoming more and more important in our world, but there is also the fact that our jobs are being passed over to machines.
Those are two of the books that made the biggest impact on me in 2016. What about you, dear reader? What books did you read this past year that inspired, challenged, or surprised you? What did you learn from reading those books? Think about it.