Q1 : In your opinion, what is the intelligence of
deamon ? Is it actually intelligent ? Please explain your position.
At the begening, I can say this book is so fascinating
that it would be difficult for a reader to not interested on its different
ideas. With every new chapter, the thrust to dig more and more will increase.
According to the Wikipedia Daemon is “a computer program that runs a background
process, rather than being under the direct control of an interactive user”.
The Daemon by Daniel Suarez’s thriller is an intricated program written by the
computer gaming genius Mathew Sobol. It took a moment for me to actually
believe that Sobol is behind this whole mystery.
Before explaining the nature of deamon intelligence,
it is worth
to explain the origine and how does works this kind of intelligence.
It is important to recall that the daemon is programmed by Sobol to initiate upon his
death which takes place at the beginning of the story. He has died and he wants
to make sure that he leaves behind a surprise for the world- A real game.
Hence, he creates a vicious daemon or a computer program in the background of
every system that has installed his massively popular online multiplayer game.
When news of Sobol’s death was published in the Internet, the daemon becomes
active. He engages a number of people- a computer hacker, news reporter,
prisoner he releases from prison. Sobol was always one step ahead of FBI. It
creates chaos across the world, exploits weaknesses in computer networks and
uses them for its own purposes. Daemon provides a very enthralling look at what
would happen if computer programs get the power to rule the world and what
would happen if they try to wipe us out. This book gave my childhood fantasises
Intelligence is not a natural of direct intelligence
but it uses a novel way of controlling intelligence of others. Daniel Suarez’s
novel Daemon takes up many of the same questions. Instead of examining
an encounter with an alien intelligence of some sort, however, the being
or construct that takes the place of an alien or a god, is the Daemon – “a
computer program that runs continuously in the background and performs
specified operations at predefined times or in response to certain events”.
Throughout the novel, the Daemon is given near
god-like status by those who all but worship it and demonic status by those who
fear and fight it. It is beyond the comprehension of most and it is spoken of
and treated like it is an autonomous agent with an agenda of its own. Even
those with the knowledge of computer science to grasp what the Daemon is tend
to still attribute the events it triggers to the Daemon itself, as if it were
something to be outsmarted or reasoned with, as if it had wants and needs that
could be figured out.
This reaction to something so seemingly vast is one
that all of the protagonists we have examined this semester have had. Whether
confronted with a monolith, a Raman ship, a sphere or a planet made of an
oceanic brain, some of the main questions have been: “what does it want?” and
“why is it doing this?” The attribution of desire and an intelligence we are
capable of understanding has been one made in nearly every narrative we have
examined, as if, surely, somehow, we must be able to relate to what is out
there, if we could just find the key: the right code, the right button, the
This tension in how to connect and understand is at
the heart of Daemon in many ways. The Daemon seems to operate like the
monolith, the ship, the sphere, the planet. It acts and lives change, people
die, people live, the stock market rises, a door opens, a lock turns. The
Daemon is nothing but a computer program. In many ways, it can be seen more
like Hal or the Raman ship than the monolith, sphere or Solaris—it does what it
was programmed to do. However, unlike Hal, who seems to have some
consciousness, something separate from pure programmed decisions, the Daemon is
purely an exercise in computer code, functioning through a logic tree, albeit a
highly complex one.
The Daemon is programmed to read the news online
around the world and trigger certain events. Human agents are then presented
with certain opportunities. They may choose to do as the Daemon asks, or they
may not. If they do, they often find that there is no way out but by death—but
the first choice is theirs. Between these human agents, who receive their
instructions based on their choices and the events scanned in the news, and the
events triggered solely by other events that get reported, the Daemon is able
to gain control of the majority of America’s corporations and public life, but
only through those agents and events.
Q2 : is the story of Deamon believable ?
Explain your position
What fact coming from the book do you consider the
least plausible to actually happen?
I asked the same question many times in my life, as
when I saw some movies, like Terminator, Robot, The Matrix, …They held me
spellbound and force me to visualize our future. Will we ever able to make
robots like this? How will they look? What if they result in a threat to
mankind? Will they be like humans? There were some scenarios where I thought it
is not possible to occur.
According to me, I do not think that only one game
developer, even with several companions, could produce such a mighty tool. And
that even unnoticed by the company and society. Matthew Sobol would have had to
foresee most of the upcoming events to for example film his video sequences
correctly. Fair enough after all, the book is only a novel and may have some
unrealistic and futuristic proceedings. Second is when Hummer was killing
people. That was more of intelligent machine behind it. Moreover, at sometimes
it was difficult for me to digest how games can be made this much on the basis
of Artificial Intelligence. Game maps are always only a very small area with
predefined properties. I do not think that I can accomplish that individual and
adaptive behaviour. It would need true intelligence behind it. That means
either humans controlling it or a truly intelligent machine behind.
Furthermore, I didn’t find any other least plausible thing to actually happen.
It is just a smart way of using or exploiting technology which Sobol did his
best. For example, Daemon got activated after Sobol’s death i.e. by looking at
the news. And this is not magical at all. It is just a kind of search with some
specific keywords. Moreover, I believe it is a kind of some hierarchic system,
where an order has to be maintained and subparts are highly dependent on some
strict order or there is some feedback system.
To summarize, I found the book a really nice and
entertaining lecture. It was fun to read with some interesting views. I do hope
system like this will come up one day. Technologies can be boon or bane- the
both things depends upon how humans will use intelligence systems. As world is
already suffering from global warming, deforestation, pollution and the idea of
intelligent machines “which can think and act on their own” has
scared people. At the end, I would say this world is getting scarier day by
day. Computers already control so much of our lives today. We are more present
in virtual world than a real world. I am not afraid of human zombies but these
computer zombies are taking my chill away.