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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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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