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A Fire Upon the Deep
In article <[email protected]>, [email protected]
(Timothy C. May) says:
>Finally, his Hugo-winning novel, "A Fire Upon the Deep," has some
>casual mentions of crypto, including the odd speculation that those in
>the know in the distant future don't really trust public key crypto.
This is quite sensible given that in the Zone universe, you may have no
idea how much computing power your enemies have, so no cryptography
that is only computationally secure can really be trusted.
_A Fire Upon the Deep_ also describes how anarchy might work on a
galactic scale. For example, Vinge seems to think that arbitration
organizations would be very important in such an anarchy and would
acquire military characteristics. Issues of trust and reputation
are also treated implicitly.
There was some recent talk about network agent technology on this list.
Vinge mentions almost in passing how an entire planet (or maybe planets)
was taken over by an "intelligent net packet". Makes me rather nervous
about things like Magic Cap...
One more thing that's marginally related to cypherpunks (hey I really
like this book so I'll take any chance I can to talk about it ;-) is
the idea that the efficiency of distributed computation (and distributed
intelligence) depends on high bandwidth and low latency of the communication
medium. Since anonymity seems to have rather high costs in terms of
bandwidth and latency (compare anonymous e-mail with internet video
conferencing or even with normal e-mail), this implies that
an organization of anonymous agents will not work as efficiently as
a similar orginzation whose members are not concerned about
PGP encrypted mail welcome.