It’s not a risk you can take. And it’s not a risk you can explain to Barry Michaels, because you know his type, and after seventy years of data processing, they still think that coders can be hired and fired; that the engineers who ripped out the muscles and nerves of the modern world and replaced it with something entirely alien under the skin are still little artisans who will put their tools down and go home if you tell them to leave the job half-done.
The line is from Charlie Stross’ near-future scifi novel Halting State. The book was written in 2006, set in roughly 2016, and has proved remarkably prescient. He successfully predicted the rise of mobile gaming, murders committed over virtual items, and an independent Scotland (OK, we’re only halfway on the last one). The quote above shows why I think he’s one of the few people who really gets the profound weirdness of this new world we’re building.
The sequel Rule 34, set roughly in 2021, is even better (and weirder).