Monday, May 2, 2016

My Political Position on Tech, Truth and the Future

You probably don’t know who I am. I don’t pretend to represent anyone else. But, I have been reading others opinions on social media and it seems my opinions are growing more common.
Why should you be interested in my opinions? Because I write technothriller fiction, and people read my books. Last year, nearly 40,000 books distributed. This year, that number should triple. My opinions are embedded in my fiction, although I present these opinions through plot points and character behaviors.
If you have political beliefs, yours are probably based in what has happened in your own life. Same here. So, here are the facts that inform my fiction:

I am a Type 1 diabetic, and am grossly disappointed in the medical community’s interest in curing the disease. Doctors, for the most part, stop learning the day after they begin practice. New technology requires time to learn, and using it without prior experience is risky. Doctors hate risk since that might expose them to malpractise. Example: Cancer. There are dozens of working cures for cancer, but most doctors still use medieval treatments instead of cures. In one of my books, GrayNet, I’ve depicted what actually happened to a cancer cure designed by a medical start-up company, but, of course, I fictionalized it. Needless to say, a big pharma corporation acquired the company and the cure disappeared.
I taught economics in one of the best graduate business schools. One of the things I researched was what happens to any empire when the gap between the richest and poorest grows too large: Armed uprising, revolution, and the fall of the empire. Happens to every empire, and no government ever learns the lesson. This theme is also found within my books. See ProxyWar.

I've worked in tech for decades before writing fiction. Tech changes everything. And the changes always happen slowly at first, with the speed of change increasing and accelerating until nothing remains as it was. The music industry, the publishing industry, and, most interestingly, the tech industry itself. Law can never keep up. Government is always subject to the changes before it can react. The result always tends toward chaos. In reacting to tech without any understanding of tech, elected and appointed government bureaucrats make colossal mistakes. All of my books carry this theme: Bloodridge, DeathByte, Swiftshadow, GrayNet, Baksheesh (Bribes) and ProxyWar. Failure to understand tech caused the Soviet Union to fall. It caused the rise of terrorism to be misunderstood and not tactically countered.

I read history books, lots of them. History teaches us nothing. It’s an old saw, but it’s true. Across the Spies Lie series, from book to book, the story starts with one seemingly small error of judgement by an intelligence service that continues to escalate through five more books, growing more dangerous every moment until the end of the sixth book. This mirrors my own life experience. A small mistake often has implications that are easily misunderstood and poorly estimated. Remember America’s ten year war based on the lie “weapons of mass destruction?” A trivial mistake when it was made, a mistake no one understood for over a year. A trillion dollars wasted. Thousands of lives lost, tens of thousands of lives destroyed. And, worst of all, we have learned nothing and might easily be convinced to do the same crazy thing again. All of my books are based on this human failing. Spies Lie, and people die.
I have served as an elected official for two terms in office. I can see things through the eyes of a politician. I believe that the entire planet is precariously wobbling on the verge of a major war right now. Russia seems intent on providing evidence that it has been underestimated as a world power, China is circling the drain economically and wants to show that what is happening there is inconsequential to its position as a world power, Europe is trying to recover but the recovery is too slow to suit its citizens, Africa is still an undeveloped land mass, and the United States has gone bat-shit crazy in its attempts to recover from the disease that battle between the poor and rich has triggered. I’ve read history when I’m not writing, and bits of the causes of World War I and World War II seems to be reemerging as potential causes of another world war. We won’t be careful enough or able to adjust our behavior fast enough, I fear.
Now, I write fiction so I don’t have to think too hard about what I see coming at us very fast now. If you’re reading my fiction, it might give you something to think about…