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This chapter is from the book

Structure of the Book

As I've already noted, Byte Wars does not discuss germ warfare, chemical weapons, nuclear weapons, and several of the other threats posed by terrorists in today's stark new environment. Instead, it focuses on IT-related issues, and it begins with a summary of the IT-related "strategic implications" of the September 11th attacks.

Following that overview, I've chosen six major aspects of information technology to discuss: security, risk management, emergent systems, resilient systems, good-enough systems, and death-march projects. Each of these topics is covered in a separate chapter; and each chapter begins with a review of basic concepts and techniques, followed by a summary of the "paradigm shift" that has occurred since September 11th. And each chapter concludes with some guidelines and suggestions for appropriate strategies that should be discussed and evaluated by the various "communities" of readers mentioned above: IT professionals, managers, government leaders, and citizens.

There's no guarantee that I've identified all of the IT issues that we'll be facing in the new world. Indeed, it's highly likely that there will be second-order and third-order consequences of September 11th that will lead to new technologies, new ways of looking at the technical design and implementation of computer systems, and new social/political paradigms about privacy and security. As such, a book like this may need to be revised every couple of years to remain current and relevant; and some critics might argue that it would be better to wait for several years, until the situation has stabilized, before documenting a new "equilibrium" that may have been established.

But we won't achieve such an equilibrium unless we start doing things now; indeed, some things have begun happening already, as part of the "knee-jerk" reaction to September 11th on the part of citizens, corporations, and government leaders. We need to make the best decisions we're capable of making, with whatever information and tools we have available today. If Byte Wars can make a contribution to that effort, I will consider it to have been a success.

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