A hack is any means of subverting a system’s rules in unintended ways. The tax code isn’t computer code, but a series of complex formulas. It has vulnerabilities; we call them “loopholes.” We call exploits “tax avoidance strategies.” And there is an entire industry of “black hat” hackers intent on finding exploitable loopholes in the tax code. We call them accountants and tax attorneys.
In A Hacker’s Mind, Bruce Schneier takes hacking out of the world of computing and uses it to analyse the systems that underpin our society: from tax laws to financial markets to politics. He reveals an array of powerful actors whose hacks bend our economic, political and legal systems to their advantage, at the expense of everyone else.
Once you learn how to notice hacks, you’ll start seeing them everywhere-and you’ll never look at the world the same way again. Almost all systems have loopholes, and this is by design. Because if you can take advantage of them, the rules no longer apply to you.
Unchecked, these hacks threaten to upend our financial markets, weaken our democracy and even affect the way we think. And when artificial intelligence starts thinking like a hacker-at inhuman speed and scale-the results could be catastrophic.
But for those who would don the “white hat,” we can understand the hacking mindset and rebuild our economic, political and legal systems to counter those who would exploit our society. And we can harness artificial intelligence to improve existing systems, predict and defend against hacks and realise a more equitable world.
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