Book Review: The Pentagon’s Brain by Annie Jacobsen


Courtesy of Little, Brown & Company

The Pentagon’s Brain

By Annie Jacobsen

LITTLE, BROWN AND COMPANY

Imagine a research incubator that steals ideas from sci-fi novels and movies like The Terminator and turns wild theories into technologies far beyond what’s commercially available. We’re talking, of course, about the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the birthplace of spy satellites and a bomb—”an evil thing”—that could wipe out millions. DARPA’s eggheads once even tried to create a literal force field against Soviet warheads; nowadays, envisioning “a mentally and physically superior breed” of warfighters, they tinker with “transhumanism” and cyborg tech. In this fascinating and terrifying account, Annie Jacobsen regales us with the stories behind the agency’s “consequential and sometimes Orwellian” innovations, including autonomous weapons systems—killer robots that could decide, without human intervention, who lives and who dies. As Jacobsen ominously puts it, “DARPA creates, DARPA dominates, and when sent to the battlefield, DARPA destroys.”

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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