I actually found the sequel even more interesting than the first installment. That's because the sequel dealt with a lot of really interesting societal and philosophical questions like what the role of government should be, if it's ok to do something bad for a much larger good (the book's story is quite extreme), and if highly distributed power run by a computer network of individuals can be sustainable. What's fascinating is how the first book made the reader hate the darknet and its creator, whereas the second book convers the reader to rooting for the darknet and seeing the corruption in the society it's trying to fight.
I recognize the book's premise and story are quite forward-looking, and I doubt anyone like the darknet creator in the book could create a self-organizing and learning system that could predict and control as far into the future as the darknet does. But what I like is that it's not as farfetched as other stories like Terminator or The Matrix since all the technological building blocks used in the story are relatively present already (just not yet well distributed).
Below are my notes, and again, I highly recommend the series to everyone who likes sci fi or technothrillers.
- High-frequency trading mentioned (controversial?)
- Assassination of finance people who got too greedy/broke law by computer
- People fail to adapt and cling to power
- Are humans or its leadership to blame?
- All past societies failed
- Quotes from book: Americans ignorant about their freedom, as free as Chinese except Chinese don't lie; personal info, wealth, medical data track people everywhere they go, run by corporations
- Empires before are corporations now
- Catholic Church had a brand and logo like Starbucks does now (and it had more locations)
- Can good come out of bad?
- Daemon took computer networks like Americans took Indian land
- 3 rules of computer security: don't buy a computer, don't power it on, don't use it
- Reputation matters more than physical appearance in darknet; meritocracy; people rating system like Yelp
- Outsourcing to private corporate security dangerous, corrupt
- Book converts reader to root for darknet
- Human chooses to keep darknet going instead of destroying it because better than corrupt government