Rise of the Machines: A Cybernetic History by Thomas Rid


This is a highly researched and well written work, which ultimately contrasts the existing tension between the freedom that our modern age of technology and communication offers versus the very real security concerns that swirl through the networks.

It is a timely book given the recent events of hacking and disinformation at the global level. Through a methodical (and sometimes academic) approach Rid presents a comprehensive history of the reasons for the development of many of the technological systems that we take for granted today.

Although parts of it are technical it is possible to read through lightly and still appreciate the philosophical and cultural context of this recent and significant history. In fact a large part of the book describes the human struggle between the free agents and the government agents/agencies over the freedom of information. Rid has written a fact based account, sprinkled with anecdotes from his personal interviews with many of the actual people involved.

This is not an encyclopedic effort, it is rather a tip of the iceberg that has primed me to delve further and deeper into a serious topic about how the world got here and where it might go next.






Reviewed by: laserman
Sydney, Australia


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