Reflections are only that, reflections, nothing more nothing less. Often these reflections are related to books I read, but occasionally also other things. These are often written very late, very fast,  using notes from my mobile phone, so the grammar and spelling is horrible.

Ghost Fleet by Peter W. Singer and August Cole

This was an interesting book on many levels, tone, style and purpose, but also as it felt like a future imagined by people representing an old world that is still very influential. So many of future scenarios are either just incremental or only look at the new. This was very much on the incremental side, but extrapolated to far that it became a reflection of the world we live in. I enjoyed reading it the same way I read material from established mainstream people like Klaus Schwab, or organizations like McKinsey/PwC, that distill new ideas in a shape that the “old” system understand and can use. These texts are less interesting to read if you want to understand how the future will look like, but they are interesting to read if you want to develop strategies that result in real change, as they help you undertand how the "old" structures will react.

On an overall level the book is therefore a little unsavory, as large parts of it comes a cross as chanting for more traditional military investment by the US. Part of the book actually felt as if a, pretty smart, PR agency had come up with a script for a movie for Lockheed Martin. Without any spoilers it actually turns out that it could be a PR project from another sector in the US.

Beyond the plot where the traditional, and American home made, solutions are what can save us the geopolitical framing is entertaining. Building the story around the emergence of an aggressive side of a commercial conglomerate in China that has taken over the government is interesting, although there are many other scenarios that I think would have been more interesting to explore. The kind of conflict portrayed feels very 19th century.

Even if they play on the fear of a raising China and the dependence on Chinese technology/manufacturing in a very simplistic way there is such a string of fun observations that the worst China bashing is pretty easy to forgive.

One thing that I find equally amusing and frustrating is how all authors now need to include hackers in any plot with a major conflict. As in many other books the hacking/cyber elements seem to be the area where the authors do not have much interest and knowledge. I wonder when, is ever, we will find a language (written and imagery) where coding/hacking can be communicated in a relevant way that can reach beyond a few and capture the complexities.

What saves the book for me is that it feels genuine. I think the writers have a passionate interest in new military technology, geopolitical changes and different scenarios.