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Daniel Suarez
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Attended University of Delaware
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Daniel Suarez

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CHANGE AGENT ~ April 18th

Writing grounded, near-future sci-fi and high-tech thrillers can be a tricky business. By the time a book I've written appears in my hands as a galley, there's always the chance that some new development has invalidated its premise. In the case of CHANGE AGENT, my upcoming novel, recent news in gene editing research has only made the book more relevant. I can't wait to share it with you.

To learn more about my books visit www.daniel-suarez.com
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I'm ready!
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New Documentary ~ Dangerous Choices

Back in 2015  Mikko Hypponen invited me to participate in a documentary about the challenges facing humanity in our increasingly networked and automated world. You may have heard of Mikko; he's the Chief Research officer of F-Secure, a well-respected cyber security firm based out of Finland, and he's a frequent speaker (check out his TED talks) on the subjects of privacy, surveillance, and preservation of democracy.  

This documentary covers some interesting ground (IoT, AI, autonomous vehicles, lethal autonomy, etc). My segment on robotic weapons begins at the 23:05 mark, but I encourage you to give the whole doc a look. It's a useful primer to help non-technical people in your life understand the social implications of the technologies spreading throughout the world.
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Jim Douglas's profile photoDavid C Cardillo's profile photoDaniel Suarez's profile photoKyle Franz's profile photo
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I just watched this documentary and enjoyed it. I didn't agree with all the accretions made, but then again, I think that is one of the points of the documentary. How can we expect machines to make decisions, when we as a whole cannot even agree on those same decisions.

I will say though. When looking at automated cars. Regardless of which "opinion" wins over who to save. The overall reduction in deaths would far outweigh the negative. But, then again, see my above point. Damn you +Daniel Suarez and your fancy documentary that makes me think. :)
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The Freedom to Write  ~  PEN.org

As 2016 comes to a close, I'm highlighting worthy non-profit organizations that I support in the hope that you'll find them worthy of your support as well.

PEN International is one of these -- a worldwide association of writers dedicated to defending free expression, supporting persecuted writers, and fostering dialogue across boundaries. +PEN American Center is the largest of the 144 centers worldwide.  Advocate membership is open to the public.

I urge readers, writers, translators, illustrators, editors, publishers, and ANYONE who values freedom of expression and fact-based investigative news reporting to support Pen America/International.  To donate,  please visit https://pen.org/donation.

** And a special note, my publisher, +Penguin Random House (PRH) supports PEN America.  If you happen to be a PRH author, they will match your PEN membership dues now through Dec 31st. With the 50% PRH discount your annual PEN author membership is $62.50. Visit this link to join: https://pen.org/prh
“MEMBERS OF PEN pledge themselves to do their utmost to dispel race, class, and national hatreds and to champion the ideal of one humanity living in peace in the world. And since freedom implies voluntary restraint, members also pledge themselves to oppose such evils of a free press as ...
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Meanwhile in space...

Amid the grievous news on Earth these days, it's nice to see that humanity is still striving for knowledge. Personally, I think the immensity of space will bring us together as a species.

Raise your hand if you want to learn more about the seas beneath Europa's ice. I know I want to...
Spacecraft could taste Europa’s sea by sampling its atmosphere
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Schirrmacher Symposium 2016:  Self-Empowerment in the Digital World
Re:claim Autonomy

Earlier this month I attended a symposium in Berlin held by the Rudolf Augstein Foundation in memory of the inimitable Frank Schirrmacher (whom I eulogized back in October, 2014: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+DanielSuarez/posts/7yMrJjkgBt6 ). It's my hope that this symposium is the first of many.

The day-long event included thought-provoking speakers and panels discussing how society can reclaim and retain human autonomy in our increasingly complex, technological world. To my mind this subject isn't given half the attention it deserves, and it's not helped by the fact that so many tech entrepreneurs are focused on launching the next consumer-data-driven startup. Human agency in the networked world is a discussion well worth having.

My own talk at the symposium centered on the current architecture of social media – which recent research suggests strongly favors appeals to emotion over reasoned discourse. This puts science at a disadvantage at the very time it's needed most.

Afterward, I remained in the audience for a series of fascinating talks by other speakers from all over the tech, economic, political, and hacker worlds.

You can check out videos of the event below. Thanks again to the Augstein Foundation for creating an event worthy of Frank Schirrmacher's memory and to Stephanie Reuter and Frank Rieger for inviting me to participate.  

#SchirrmacherSymposium   
Symposium im Gedenken an Frank Schirrmacher. Veranstaltet von der Rudolf Augstein Stiftung und Bundesinnenminister a. D. Gerhart Baum.
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I just discovered your talk. Thanks! You give me hope and scare the hell out of me. 
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Hakone Marquetry -- intricate wood mosaics

This process is surprisingly satisfying to watch, and the results are quite beautiful, resembling wooden wrapping paper. Move to the 1:30 mark in the video to get right to the process...

You can find more information on Harkone Marquetry here:

https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/exhibit/hakone-marquetry/XwISdfTKGAiUIA?hl=en
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Just beautiful
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Beyond Gorilla Glass...

Technically known as aluminum oxynitride and sometimes called “transparent aluminum" this material is not truly a transparent metallic aluminum, but rather a transparent aluminum-based ceramic. It offers some interesting possibilities for high-strength, non-shattering -- even load-bearing -- windows. It will also remain transparent even after being deformed.
Aluminum oxynitride is more optically clear, lightweight and durable than traditional bulletproof glass.
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Jaele Nistra's profile photoJeff “foxxtrot” Craig's profile photoTim Colby's profile photo
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Interesting, maybe Korean researchers will also add some graphene / graphite doping to these surface materials used on video screens. Wow the hardness will be astounding, as long as it still transmits visual light well. 
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The next big thing in tech will be *Life* itself.

Genetic editing and synthetic biology are about to usher in dramatic changes to our world. If you think that's far in our future, read this recent article to bring you current on CRISPR gene drive research.
Researchers hope to use the powerful biological tool to alter the genetic destiny of species and eliminate diseases.
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The Long Now Foundation

The future is where we'll all be living, so it makes sense to think and act with an eye to long-term consequences. This is why I support the efforts of  the +Long Now Foundation.  The Long Now, an organization engaged in numerous projects to safeguard human knowledge and our ecosystem.

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation—or become a member and join the worldwide Long Now community. Membership starts at $8/month, including complimentary event tickets, and only takes a few minutes to set up. https://longnow.org/support/    #LongNow
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So honored to have your support Daniel!
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WHIPLASH ~ by Joi Ito and Jeff Howe
How to Survive Our Faster Future

If you're looking for an enlightening non-fiction read over the holiday break, check out  Whiplash by MIT Media Lab director, +Joichi Ito,  and author +Jeff Howe.

The thesis of Whiplash is that rapid innovation coupled with the increasing complexity of the modern world will bring an ever-increasing pace of change and leave traditional hierarchical organizations in the dust. To operate successfully in this environment, organizations need to embrace constant change and treat failure as a part of an inevitable and iterative process -- placing more value on human social networks than centralized authority.

This might sound like familiar Silicon Valley doctrine, but a couple things make this book different: 1) Joi Ito has actually been using this approach to get big things done for decades, not only at the Media Lab, but throughout his formidable career, and 2) the authors apply this philosophy in very unexpected and intriguing ways – complete with case studies.

As one might expect from a book by the director of the Media Lab, there are a few obligatory chapters outlining the success of several Lab projects; however, there is a rich trove of information here, and some outstanding observations about what makes organizations effective in the modern age – nimbleness, constant adaptation, and diversity of thought.

This last concept grapples directly with the lack of cultural, gender, and ethnic diversity in high-tech and why encouraging diversity in the workplace goes well beyond social justice. Instead, it makes good business sense. That's because the metrics for assessing new talent in such a rapidly changing world are suspect. Who will have the answer to the next big challenge facing humanity? No one knows. Given the same encouragement and training, bright minds from every strata of society are as likely to innovate--but outsiders are less likely to be saddled with institutional thinking. By nurturing a truly diverse workforce, an organization begins to see through cultural blind spots and find new opportunities.

Such diversity also extends to skillsets – encouraging not just an interdisciplinary mindset, but an anti-disciplinary one, where people with wildly different skills (in sometimes surprising combinations) come up with solutions that subject matter experts alone never would have.

There's quite a bit more in here, and all of it told through real-world examples. While parts of the book might come across as techno-cheerleading, that's most likely because the authors have had a front row seat to some of the more interesting plays in the history of innovation.  Bottom line: this fast read is well worth your time.

To learn more about #Whiplash visit:
https://www.amazon.com/Whiplash-How-Survive-Faster-Future/dp/1455544590/
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If humans need a license to drive cars, then so do algorithms.

George Hotz had a bold plan to create a car automation kit that would make your car self-driving for $999. He launched a company called 'Comma One' to do just that, and back in September I Tweeted about the automation kit: "First it's impossible -- then it's $999."

Well, Hotz has already pulled the plug -- but not for the reason you might expect. His tech might have been up to the challenge, but Hotz was apparently not expecting regulators and lawyers to get involved.

You read that right. After receiving a 10-page letter from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Hotz canceled the product, Tweeting: “Would much rather spend my life building amazing tech than dealing with regulators and lawyers. It isn't worth it."

Reality check: any company that plans on releasing algorithmic drivers onto the nation's roadways needs to be prepared to defend itself in potential lawsuits for wrongful death or injury or commercial loss -- or a myriad of other outcomes. In that sense the NHTSA -- which enforces motor vehicle safety standards here in the U.S. -- actually helps the automotive industry manage risk. This combination public-private system (which is replicated in various forms throughout the industrialized world) is why people can walk away from 40mph offset crashes nowadays.

Autonomous driving algorithms should follow a similar process. We don't allow humans to drive until they demonstrate proficiency behind the wheel and familiarity with the rules of the road. So, too, with the algorithms powering autonomous vehicles. But since autonomous driving software is part of the car itself, it makes sense that the NHTSA would get involved.

Silicon Valley might have a rapid-innovation mindset, but last time I checked, they've still got lawyers. And yes, Google and Tesla engineers knew they'd be talking with government regulators to get their autonomous cars certified for public roadways. Unlike George Hotz apparently they still think it's worth it.
Hacker founder would rather build tech than deal with regulators and lawyers.
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Furthermore, the system should make sure that false data from other "cars" or whatever would not make things worse.
I see many cases in which the autonomous car should just refuse to drive, or should drive very slow. 
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When Pittsburgh says coal is done, you know it's done.

Coal is a bad energy source for numerous environmental reasons, but market forces will likely do it in here in the U.S.
Coal production in the United States has declined enormously in recent years due to the simple reason that the coal-fired power industry is producing less of the country’s electricity than ever. As recently as 10 years ago, coal-fired power plants provided half of America’s power needs. Today that number is closer to 30 percent — and falling. Coal is not likely to fade entirely from the scene any time soon, but informed analysts see its share of ...
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Story
Introduction
NY Times bestselling author.  Writes high-tech / sci-fi thrillers:  Daemon, Freedom™, Kill Decision, Influx and Change Agent (new release APRIL 2017).
Education
  • University of Delaware
    English literature
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Birthday
December 21
Other names
Leinad Zeraus (my sometimes pen name)
Work
Employment
  • Novelist
    2008 - present
  • Verdugo Technologies, Inc.
    President, 1997 - 2016
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Los Angeles
Previously
Anchorage, Alaska - New York - Delaware - New Jersey