Nothing in the horror genre has scared me since that one scene in the 1988 movie Willow where everyone starts turning into pigs (PG my ass!). Frankly, I just don’t find the genre to be very scary, often because everything that happens in the genre is reliant on the characters being so stupid. But the reddit post where someone in detail describes what happens to you when you get rabies? Now THAT’S scary. Why? Because its real, and once rabies is set in there is nothing you can do about it. Marc Goodman’s Future Crimes is scary in much the same way.
This book is about crime, and how the criminal elements in society love to be first adopters of technological progress. The crime mentioned in the book is often as much contemporary as it is futuristic, and the point that the author ultimately wants to prove is that when it comes to technological progress, not only does no one seem to be commanding the ship, but now one seems to be paying attention to just what waters we are sailing through. Progress seems to be focusing a lot on the ‘can we?’, and not nearly enough on the ‘ought we?’ or the ‘yes but if we do…’ This book will emphasize the fact that you, living as you are right now, are probably a lot more vulnerable to crime than you ever imagined, and it is currently a hay day for criminals.
Our journey towards future technology is somewhat similar to our journey through the internet. Gleefully, we browse and browse and browse till somehow we find ourselves on some kind of unspeakable website and we are no longer sure what rabbit hole we well down to end up here. Here, there are ne’er-do-wells, and this book endeavors to show you just how many there are, and what it looks like when one is just around the corner waiting for you. It gives you the beginings of the knowledge you would need to defend yourself against some of this.
This book is pretty much your freshmen level 101 course on technological crime. It lets you know, superficially, what the issues are and gives you occasional insights into some stories that have happened regarding each type of technological exploit. If you want an in depth analysis, you have to go elsewhere. But I think the author only wanted to create a rallying cry for the lay person, and it does that extremely well. More people need to know that the same technology that is making our lives easier is doing much the same for the criminal element.
This book started an obsession with the technological crime genre that has led me to many other books. That’s about the best praise I can give it.