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Stranger Than Fiction Futurist & Author Peter W. Singer Discusses His New Book Burn-In - Ep. 80

Peter W. Singer’s new book, Burn-In: a blend of nonfiction and fiction like never before, sharing research on what is looming in AI, remote work, and tech/cybersecurity futures (which all just got accelerated by CV-19 outbreak), but mixed into a story. Of note, the project was also woven into the CyberSolarium Commission Report, literally being the opening section of it.

Episode Table of Contents

  • [01:15] Introducing Peter W. Singer, Author and Strategist
  • [06:45] Fiction Connecting to the Emotion
  • [11:26] Cybersecurity Threats Accelerated by the Pandemic
  • [18:57] Peter W. Singer Explores Algorithmic Bias
  • [23:40] Peter W. Singer Tackles on the Issue of Trust
  • [30:02] The Tale of the Squeaking Shoes by Peter W. Singer
  • About Our Guest

Introducing Peter W. Singer, Author and Strategist

Arika: So we are really excited to welcome Peter W. Singer to the podcast today. He is a strategist at New America and the author of an upcoming book that's actually being released today.

Arika: So this is breaking news for our listeners. It's titled Burn-In: A Novel of the Real Robotic Revolution. How are you doing, Peter?

Peter: I'm hanging in there like everyone else. Thanks so much for having me.

Eric: Peter, I would actually call you a futurist in my mind based on what I've read of you and all of your content. It's amazing.

Peter: I appreciate that. I wear a couple of hats and this book really hits it. I work in the realms of nonfiction and fiction. So I've done books on cybersecurity and most recently a book looking at information warfare, disinformation campaigns, and social media, but then also played with these books in the fiction realm.

Peter: We did one in the past looking at what it was called Ghost Fleet. It looked at what future war would be like and Burn-In is the new one that brings these two worlds together.

Eric: But I hope you miss it, not hit it because it's a very scary world that you're writing about.

Arika: I think what you're writing about, it's reality. We would like it to be escapism, but now some of it is the world that we live in.

A Blend of Techno-Thriller And Non-Fiction

Peter: Actually, the very title of the book plays with that. So, for people with a technical background, they'll recognize that a burn-in is when you push something to the breaking point in order to learn from it. So if we're making a joke back to a great old movie, it's when you play the stereo speakers up to 11, to see how long they can play before they break.

Peter: Or you take a new watch, how deep can it dive? So that's the title of the book, but that's also what the book is. It's a new kind of book. It's a blend of a techno-thriller and nonfiction.

Peter: So you follow an FBI agent, as she hunts for a terrorist through the streets of Washington, DC of the future. So it's hopefully a fun, entertaining story. She's also relevant to the listeners of this show following a new kind of criminal who's going after in particular IoT vulnerabilities and we can talk further about that.

Peter: So he's carrying out kinds of crimes that have never been possible before. But baked into that story are over 300 explanations and predictions with the endnote references to show, "No, this is the reality of it." So it might be a tiny detail when a certain, a six-rotor drone flies overhead the footnote to know, Singer didn't dream this up. Here's Amazon's patent for it.

Peter: Or it might be a cybersecurity vulnerability. When the bad guy does something, we want to watch our plot spoilers here, here's the footnote to the actual vulnerability. Here's where someone showed that you could do this. I'm a parent. It's like sneaking veggies into the morning so creepily.

A Warning From Tomorrow

Eric: In the postscript to the book, you have a section that actually made it into the beginning of the Congressional Cyberspace Solarium Commission Report. Is that accurate? A warning from tomorrow?

Peter: Yes and it hits this idea of bringing together fiction and nonfiction. You have as the opening to the Cyber Solarium Commission Report, which is this massive report that aims to essentially recreate US cyber strategy for the next couple of decades, really important effort.

Peter: The prelude to it, the opening of it is actually a story. And it's a story drawn from Burn-In, where it's written from the perspective of a congressional staffer in the future who's looking out on Washington, DC, plot spoil where lots of really bad things have just happened because of cyber attacks that we didn't deal with.

Peter: Cyberattacks going after all sorts of critical infrastructure but not the boring old story of, "Oh, the power grid's going to go out." Actually the water system here is oof, some major things there.

Peter: But so, it's written from the perspective of that congressional staffer who is filled with regret as they sit down to write cybersecurity legislation in the wake of a massive catastrophe. They're saying here, "Gosh, I wish I had listened to all these prior reports that came out."

Peter: So it's a fictional story but it's pulled from the real world research of both Burn-In and also the Solarium Commission. Even down to that regret it pulls legislative language from right after 9/11.

Fiction Connecting to the Emotion

Peter: So, the idea is to put the reader in that position of "I better pay attention because I don't want to have the same experience of those people right after 9/11 who went, 'Why didn't we act earlier? Why didn't we pay attention to the things that we were told?'"

Peter: So again it hits this idea of melding nonfiction, these things can happen or they already did happen and fiction connecting to that emotion.

Peter: The idea is to make it more likely to be read and more likely to be paid attention to. So we did that with the commission and we're also doing that here with Burn-In.

Eric: I found it fascinating. The end of it talks about, not to spoil it, but the United States being the nation that invented and became dependent on the Internet. Whereas we grew too accustomed to digital interference in our society. It talks about all these things that happen.

Eric: Then it ends with, "Now, therefore be it resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled that the government of the United States must." The next line Arika is must what? Peter? What's the answer?

Peter: So the first thing is it also has a little tiny number at the end of it. Which is the footnote reference to that is pulled from the actual language of the legislation right after 9/11. So it's not us dreaming it up. It's literally this is the language of, in the wake of some kind of catastrophe, you're going to be writing legislation like this.

Exploring a Nightmare Scenario

Peter: Do you want to be stuck in the person asking themselves, "Must what?" And then, we get to the next part which the Solarium Commission says, "Okay, here's what, here's all the things that we recommend"

Eric: "That we must do."

Peter: That you can put into place right now to try and avoid that nightmare scenario. So it kind of goes back to what you were kind of saying, "You're a futurist." Actually, what we're hoping, what they were hoping is that it's not an act of prediction but an act of prevention, by exploring a certain world, by exploring a nightmare scenario.

Peter: You give people the entertainment, you give them the, "I stayed up late at night reading it." But you also get this, "Okay, what ought I do so that I don't have to face this kind of situation?" And in Burn-In, we try and hit that from the large macro societal level, all the way down to someone working on the business side.

Peter: So if we think about IoT, how IoT is going to change all the different applications, it's going to change how companies operate. It's going to change your home. It's going to change the way you relate to your kids. It's going to lead to a lot of incredibly positive things.

Peter: It's one of the best ways to deal with climate change. It's going to save a lot of money. By the way, we're making all of the same mistakes that we made with the Internet and its security 20 years ago. We're baking in so many different vulnerabilities right now.

Exploring the Book Burn-In by Peter W. Singer

Peter: That means that we need to think about a very different type of cyber threat. It's not just going to be people stealing secrets. Whether it's e-mail, whether it's intellectual property, whether it's credit card information.

Peter: It's going to be increasingly cyber attacks that cause a physical change in the world. Some kind of physical damage, whether it was the early version of this with Stuxnet, to ransomware.

Peter: Is ransomware going to just be holding files hostage? Or will it, as we explore in the book beholding things hostage? It might be an operational system at your business. It might be a city bus that's largely automated. The point is that we've played out this scenario but here we have the footnote to the ransomware report on it.

Peter: Then you get to your must. What are you going to do about that? Well, I need to plan for not just the best day but the worst day so I'm more likely to have the best day. That might be at the micro-level, what am I doing about vulnerability, to the macro level, how are we thinking about this in our overall strategy?

Arika: While we're touching on the Solarium Commission Report, I was reading today that they are actually looking at making new recommendations. Because COVID has exposed already different threats that I think were just thought of or anticipated.

Arika: So as we look to the future and even thinking about using the past. But it's like the present, it can quickly already be out of date when we're thinking about cybersecurity and the things that we do have to prepare for?

Cybersecurity Threats Accelerated by the Pandemic

Peter: One of the things that have been particularly striking for us is how the trends that we were looking at have been drastically accelerated by the pandemic. So when you think about the forces of automation, artificial intelligence, IoT, they were already in play. In the same thing when we think about various cybersecurity threats from those areas, they were already happening. But they've all been accelerated. In some senses, jump-started.

Peter: Think about it this way. We've had one generation thrown into remote work at a level no one thought would ever happen. Another generation thrown into distance learning. We've seen application of AI automation into fields that range from telemedicine is at a level right now which we didn't think would be for about 10 years. AI tracking of individuals and big data for society writ large. We're exploring a layout that was not even thought of in the most extreme of science fiction.

Peter: Robotics used in everything from policing of curfews via drones to cleaning subways and streets. In the book, the opening of Burn-In, one of the little tiny details on the side is a wheeled robot that drives down the street. It seems really futuristic. That system is actually been deployed in Washington, DC already to deliver groceries.

Peter: One of the characters in the book is the husband of the main character who's doing remote work. It's having an effect on his marriage, his own sense of self, even his politics. We've all been thrown into that right now.

The Twin Nature of Technology

Peter: But the challenge and this circles back to something that everybody is dealing within cybersecurity are all of those issues, that acceleration, it also means all the business political, security issues that we would have had these years to work through.

Peter: They all just got accelerated. That's why you're seeing some major challenges right now. But even more so, we need to think, "Okay, the decisions that we're making right now in a crisis, we're going to have to live with them for the long term. So we better be really thoughtful about it."

Eric: It was actually on May 10th, listening to Face The Nation. Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, said, "We made 10 years of progress in the past two months." And I found that fascinating but how do we live with those decisions?

Peter: Maybe let's amend it. It's progress but it also means peril. It's that twin nature of every kind of technology. Whether it was the very first stone picked up to the Internet itself, you're going to get all of these wonderful, cool, great applications. That's why we use it but there's going to be all sorts of ripple effects for good and bad.

Peter: There's also going to be new vulnerabilities, particularly for people who work on the cybersecurity side. And we're going to spend a lot of time cleaning up after them. Hopefully we're a little more docile about it. That's one of the values of doing that kind of future look but doing it in a way that's not boring.

Moving to New Applications

Peter: So that people can enjoy it on their side time. To leaders who aren't going to read a white paper may well pick up a novel and get that value the same way.

Eric: Let's hope so. But you're right, we made these changes but the laws didn't change. There's no legislation on how the courts are closed in most cases. So there's a whole bunch of, I don't want to call it baggage. But componentry of American society and globally. Even that didn't come with the change of work from home.  That didn't come with the change of telemedicine.

Peter: By the way, it isn't like, do you remember that sort of early first couple of days of this? Where it was like, "Well, we're hopeful that threat actors are going to respect the crisis that we're all going through"?

Peter: They're like, "We got to feed our families, too."

Peter: And they're going after this too. So, we've seen an acceleration of all that. It's the same thing as we move into all of these great new applications. Whether it's smart homes, all the way up to how we're planning to automate aspects of critical infrastructure. Whether it's water treatment systems, whether we're thinking about the military side of this, you're going to do it. It's going to have great value.

Peter: Threat actors are also going to be going after it. So let's game that out. Let's explore it. And by the way, let's try and close off some of those vulnerabilities before they get there. It's what we think about with red teaming or this is just another form of doing it.

Mastering a World of More Intelligent Systems

Eric: I don't want to keep quoting you but I read your 2020, 2030 future prediction in The New York Times. You, along with a lot of other really brilliant people. You talk about the transition to an autonomous always watching us. Internet of things will be bumpy, "The economy, politics, and even family life will struggle to master a world of ever more intelligent systems that operate in ways we understand less and less." That line blew me away.

Eric: We're doing more and more. We're doing it faster and faster, Arika, but we understand it less and less. To me, my mind went to, there's even less control now. And I think we see that in information systems.

Eric: We're in the time of Coronavirus right now. We're seeing that in information campaigns. We're seeing that in attacks on labs and the vaccine manufacturer. Things are moving fast and people do not have a good handle on how to deal with the technology advancements. What are your thoughts there, as somebody who's written and researched on this?

Peter: That's interesting. There's a term that people describe of AI, that it's a black box. The way it's normally talked about is that, the very value of AI is that it works in ways that we humans can't wrap our heads around. It works in ways that are hard for us to understand and that it comes to conclusions. It comes to insights that we wouldn't come up with on our own.

Peter: That's why we are turning to it increasingly. Again, that might be AI applied into cybersecurity bug hunting or it might be AI applied to looking for Coronavirus treatments.

Peter W. Singer Explores Algorithmic Bias

Peter: It might be AI applied into education for your kids. That's the black box part of it, at its very nature, it's part of why we use it. But there's also the fact that it's a black box that we don't understand means first that sometimes it comes to conclusions and we really don't know why.

Peter: Maybe they're not the ideal conclusions. One issue that we explore in the book is algorithmic bias. We've seen this, if anyone's ever followed their GPS and it's given you wrong directions. And you're like, "I know I'm not supposed to go this way, but the machine is telling me to go this way," you've experienced that.

Peter: We've seen larger, worse versions of that. In for example, one study, they were using AI to sift through who should get loans from the bank. It ended up being racist. It was not giving African-Americans loans at the same rate. No one had told the AI to be racist but that was the outcome of what it was recommending.

Peter: Because of this issue of us not understanding the way that it works. So we have this challenge of AI that it's out there, it's being used, it's shaping our world, but we also don't well understand it. There's an added aspect to this that's a real big issue that we try and go after in the book, is that it seems like it's something that would be way out in the future.

Peter: For example, the Secretary of the Treasury said that AI and automation, and you could wrap into this IoT, is something that we don't have to.

Peter W. Singer Looks Into the Future as a Futurist

Peter: It's not on his "radar screen" because it's not going to be an issue for his quote was, "fifty to a hundred years." That's crazy. It's playing out right now, let alone 50 to a hundred years. Come on. So we've got to start to understand it.

Peter: We've also got to think thoughtfully about it. Again, it matters whether you are a Senator, you're a CEO, or you're just working in a sock and thinking about, "How am I going to apply this to ..." Oh, by the way, how you're thinking about as it plays out in your home, how it plays out for your kids, their smart toys?

Eric: Well, if it adds to your credibility, or maybe it takes away from his. They're still sending treasury checks out to deceased people at this point, from what I'm reading.

Arika: They do have to send them back now.

Peter: The other thing he said was if you'll recall, related to this was what was it, that people could live on $1,200 for 10 weeks, I think it was? You're like, "Yeah, good luck with that."

Eric: Well, you can in 1840.

Arika: So, Peter, when you do look towards the future as a futurist, I mean, you've made these predictions. What do you really put your odds on? What do you think we will see in terms of just innovation, security, all of these things, technology, AI, machine learning, in the next 10 years or so?

The System of a Stove With a Tea Kettle on Top

Peter: It's interesting. To me, it's important the way you go about it. I actually think of the parallel of, if you're looking at a system that had a stove and a tea kettle on top of it, with all of our advanced science today, you could not predict the individual behavior of the molecules in that tea kettle, the water itself. So if you're trying to make these sort of micro predictions at that level, good luck.

Peter: But if you were looking at that system, you would say, is the heat on? Knowing that if enough heat is applied to that tea kettle, so that's your trend. At some point those water molecules are going to turn to steam. That doesn't mean that's a definitive thing that's going to happen. Your kid could come along and knock the tea kettle over. But the point is if you're looking at that system and you're trying to predict the future, you would say, "What are the key trends that are out there?". Rather than trying to be micro about it, "Is the heat on?"

Peter: So when we look at our world today, we can identify most of these trends that are out there. One trend that we're talking about is automation. It's a trend that works for both good and bad. So we will see both good and bad actors deploying this into their craft in cybersecurity, we can already talk about that.

Peter: Another trend that's out there is the challenge of trust. And we think about trust as interpersonal trust, "I like you, I trust you." But for engineers, trust is really, "Does it work according to your expectations?"

Peter W. Singer Tackles on the Issue of Trust

Peter: So for example, I can trust that someone is a liar. I may not trust them but I can trust that they're a liar and then operate well in a world where I know they're always going to lie to me.

Peter: That issue of trust, that I think another key, it cuts across whether the challenges in our society right now to cybersecurity threats. So much are not just about going after vulnerabilities. They're about going after trust, creating distrust in the system. So that theme of trust is another big one that's out there.

Peter: Somewhat related to that is the challenge of truth under siege. Another way of framing is, we're in a world where virality, Trump's veracity, and when we think about whether you're talking about elections, marketing, Coronavirus treatment.

Peter: It's more important that it goes viral than it actually be true. It doesn't mean that the truth can go viral. But it's the virality of it that gives it the impact on the world. That means whether you are thinking about defending American elections, to your thinking about defending your company from cyber threats.

Peter: You need to think about not just someone getting inside my network but also how is someone going to drive something viral about my organization or my leadership. That is a form of attack right now. You can see this hitting, again, it might be an election.

Peter: Is that threat someone stealing an e-mail? Or is the threat someone running thousands of false front accounts to drive false information? If you're running a company, is the threat someone stealing the CEO's e-mail?

Building More Resilience

Peter: Is the threat someone organizing an online campaign to spread misinformation about the company to drive down the share price?

Peter: I'm not giving made-up examples. We've seen these kinds of attacks, hit elections more than 30 democracies around the world, not just the US but Poland, UK, you name it.

Eric: It's a global problem.

Peter: Same thing, corporate side. Nike got hit by a campaign like this. Toyota got hit by another campaign like this. It's this idea of you're asking, "What do we pay attention to?" We pay attention to these new trends, and then, you game them out, and you say, how am I vulnerable to them?

Peter: What am I doing to respond to them? What am I doing to prepare to prevent them, or in situations that I can't prevent them? What am I doing to build resilience? Whether you're thinking about your company, cybersecurity network, or you're thinking about national cybersecurity, you want to be building in more and more resilience.

Eric: How do you sleep at night studying these topics, recognizing you have very little control over their outcomes?

Peter: Not well, sometimes, to be honest.

Eric: It's got to be scary as hell.

Peter: Honestly, there's so much else juggling that we're all dealing with right now. So yes, I'm out there trying to promote a book but I'm also trying to score paper towels.

Peter: These are the new challenges that we're all dealing with right now but it is what it is.

Arika: Peter, how long did this book take? I know it's not your first one.

Peter: We started on this about four years back.

Peter W. Singer Creates A Blend of Fiction and Non-Fiction

Peter: Because it's that blend of fiction and nonfiction. So the nonfiction side, you're doing classic research. You're gathering vulnerability studies or you're doing interviews with people. You all, and your listeners know this, that's where you really get some of the good stuff.

Peter: I remember I was talking to a water systems engineer. He talked through all the vulnerabilities, the things that kept him up late at night.

Eric: At least he knew of them. A lot of people are like, "Yes, we're fine. We've done it this way the whole time."

Peter: Well, he was more, it was the tone of, "They knew about it. I warned them about it but they're not dealing with it. And if someone doesn't, this is going to be a really, really bad problem."

Peter: Actually, what was funny is, so his wife was in the background and he particularly identified for vulnerabilities. That if you could go after, you could essentially flood a large portion of Washington DC. For your listeners who want to get a sense of what that looks like.

Peter: Google "1936 Washington, DC flood," and you can see what can be created through cyber means. His wife is in the background and she yells out, "You don't know him that well, don't tell him which four!" So you get, you do that kind of research.

Peter: At the same time, you're doing the fictional side, you're doing the world-building, you're creating the characters, you're creating the scenes, the little, little details. And hopefully the back and forth of that makes it a lot more entertaining but also informative.

The Tale of the Squeaking Shoes by Peter W. Singer

Peter: One of the little details, what's the rug like in the White House Situation Room, you know how thick it is. That's a cool thing for someone on the nonfiction side but it's also one of those little details that sells the scene.

Peter: You actually follow the character in it. I've had this experience of, first year in the old Executive Office Building where the National Security Council is and the floors there, your shoes squeak.

Peter: Part of it, I had this and so we carried it through the character, you, because you're an outsider, you're thinking in your head, "Oh, did they hear my shoes squeaking?" Like, "oh," and you try and change how you're walking to make them not squeak so much.

Peter: Then you get, you cross over from the asphalt in between the old building and then the White House. In the White House, it's thick carpet. It has created this old feel around it, of course. The thick carpet is to muffle the noise. It's also because the feel of the White House is, in some places, more like being in your grandmother's house. All the portraits and the like are, of course, older. And so, your shoes don't squeak there. Everything's muffled.

Eric: So my last question for you. You wrote Burn-In, multi-year project, you had no idea, well, maybe you did, that COVID-19 was going to hit us. Does the book apply in the modern world as we're all dealing with COVID-19?

Escapist but Relevant

Peter: I think it does. There have been some really kind reviews that have pointed that out. Just as an aside, we have the strangest collection of early reviewers of I think any book because of this cross.

Peter: So we've got, on the cybersecurity side, former heads of cyber command, saying, "This is useful," and tech leaders saying it's useful but we also have the creator of Lost and Watchmen which are people who don't normally read the same stuff.

Eric: As soon as Hollywood gets back to work but I don't think they're working right now but there may be reading scripts. So listen up, Hollywood.

Peter: Please do it, if you are particularly listening to this podcast, which would be another sort of interesting cross. But one of the kindest said that it was escapist and relevant. That's a really kind of, you wouldn't have normally talked about that mix.

Peter: That mix seems more important now, more than ever, and hitting both those parts, escapist. This is not a book about a pandemic, so you can read it, you can enjoy it, but relevant. Relevant because of what we were speaking about. Relevant because of the trends that are playing out right now. In particular, our response to Coronavirus and the world that we're going to have as a result of it.

Peter: Greater automation, greater use of AI but also greater distrust. Systems being thrown out there rapidly, which means we haven't worked out their effect, whether it's the social-political effect, to the cybersecurity vulnerabilities that were baked in.

How to Balance Home Office and New Home School

Peter: I think and I hope the book particularly speaks to the challenges that come for us over not just the next few weeks but the next few years. But my hope is that it does it in a way that's entertaining, escapist, but also informative.

Arika: Thank you, Peter. My last question is, are you working on the next book?

Arika: Is the next book about life in, during a pandemic?

Eric: Peter, what's the next book?

Peter: In ops security reasons, can't share it fully.

Peter: It may be not just where to get paper towels, but, how do you balance home office and new home school? We're all learning new lessons on how to operate in all this.

Arika: On one network.

Eric: It's funny. My son is 20 feet from me doing his homework and banging things around. They just decided to rip up the asphalt on the road, in my street, in front of me. I'm trying to keep the exterior sound down. But you're right, it's a new world for us. Who would have thought that? Who would have planned for them to rip the road up right now?

Peter: I guess it finally is infrastructure week. We waited so long. It finally came, just at the worst possible moment.

Eric: But the noise of asphalt flying into the dump truck is just killing me.

Peter: It's been an interesting challenge, but hopefully, we'll all get through this. We're obviously learning a lot of lessons on everything, from society, all the way down to our individual level. Hopefully, we figure out how to apply those when we get out of this.

A Huge Discount for the Listeners From Author Peter W. Singer

Arika: Thank you, Peter. We really appreciate you being on the podcast today. I also want to say thank you, because you have offered our listeners the ability to purchase the book at a 35% discount.

Peter: So people can get the book at all the different places that they are available. Whether it's the big online platforms, like Amazon and Barnes and Noble. There are some really great sites that support independent bookstores, like IndieBound, and Bookshop.

Peter: We've also been able to get, for listeners of the podcast, a discount coupon through a site called Porchlight.

Peter: The great thing about doing it online is it respects social quarantining and they deliver it to you either be via electrons, or in a box in the mail.

Eric: You can go read it on the beach if you think it's safe.

Peter: You can read it on the beach. Or you can read it alone in a room that's been wiped down with the very last disinfectant that you somehow found.

Arika: Especially right now, when people are home and watching a lot of Netflix. Reading a book is a good alternative, and this is a good one. So please go and check out Peter's new book. We will include all of the information in our show notes. And thank you so much for being on the show today. We appreciate it. Great conversation.

About Our Guest

Peter W. Singer

Peter W. Singer is a Strategist at New America. He’s been named by the Smithsonian as one of the nation’s 100 leading innovators. By Defense News as one of the 100 most influential people in defense issues, by Foreign Policy to their Top 100 Global Thinkers List, and as an official “Mad Scientist” for the U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine Command. Peter is the author of multiple best-selling, award-winning books. No author, living or dead, has more books on the professional military readings lists.

His non-fiction books include Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry, Children at War, Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century; Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know. Most recently LikeWar, which explores how social media has changed war and politics. It was named an Amazon and Foreign Affairs book of the year and reviewed by Booklist as “LikeWar should be required reading for everyone living in a democracy and all who aspire to.”

Peter W. Singer is the co-author of a new type of novel, melding the format of a technothriller to communicate nonfiction research. His first Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War which was both a top summer read and joined the professional reading list of every branch of the US military, leading to briefings everywhere from the White House to the Pentagon.

Burn-In: A Novel of the Real Robotic Revolution

His latest is Burn-In: A Novel of the Real Robotic Revolution. Out on May 26, it has been described by the creator of Lost and Watchmen as “A visionary new form of storytelling—a rollercoaster ride of science fiction blended with science fact.” And by the head of Army Cyber Command as “I loved Burn-In so much that I’ve already read it twice.”

His past work include serving at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Harvard University, an editor at Popular Science magazine, and as the founding director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at Brookings, where he was the youngest person named senior fellow in its 100-year history.

35% off for To The Point Cybersecurity listeners. To purchase a discounted advance copy of BURN-IN: A Novel of the Real Robotic Revolution by P.W. Singer and August Cole, please visit https://800ceoread.com/forcepoint