virus: Book review for Virions
Sat, 18 May 1996 01:37:36 -0400

Here is a book that many Virions should find interesting: _War In The Age
of Intelligent Machines_ by Manuel Delanda. Zone Books, 1991.

Uniquely eccentric angle here. Delanda is a postmodern theorist/professional
computer programmer/Complexity enthusiast, so you know you're in for
something from the get-go... this book is written from the vantage point of
an AI System reviewing the historical evolution of its 'species'. (don't
worry, it's not at all kornball in the presentation... treated more as an
useful thought experiment) Logically, this AI historian discovers that the
complex patterns in human military science possess many of the key
bifurcations leading to the eventual emergence of machine all the way back to simple projectiles and the "first
radar curtain: the fortress walls".

Delanda draws on post-structuralist philosophical frameworks and complexity
theory to weave this fictional/non-fiction history of warfare, starting with
arrows and bullets and ending with the intersection of man/machine resulting
from a knowledge of networks.

The central thesis revolves around the idea of a "machinic phylum" which is
taken to be a distributed quality inherent to all complex systems... the
fuzzy catalyst between organic and inorganic.

This is just great brain food.

I'd love to hear your opinions on this book... even have a discussion of
selected passages. It's kinda hard to find on shelves, so in this economy of
scarcity, ordering from your favorite striated retailer might be the only
option.... unless, er, 00110001... just send me a note.