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Telecom Engineer Writes Novels About Abuses of Science and Technology

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Thomas J J Starr

"Innovations intended to help society prove to have unforeseen consequences," says engineer turned novelist Thomas J J Starr.

Thomas J J Starr applied his insights as a telecommunications engineer to "Retrograde," a novel that explores the Internet's vulnerabilities and the disastrous impacts of a cyberwar that shuts down servers, radio, TV, phones, and sets the U.S. on a course back to the Stone Age.

Starr, the chairman of a United Nations chartered committee developing industry standards for Internet access technology, spent 44 years on the development and standardization of broadband access and home networking technologies for AT&T. "I am always thinking about the impacts of various technologies on society," he says. "Too often innovations, intended to help society, prove to have unforeseen consequences." He cites social media as an example.

The story for his first novel, "Virtual Vengeance," occurred to Starr while he was thinking about breakthrough computer research performed at the University of Illinois, where he earned his master's degree in Computer Science.

"The story examines what distinguishes humans from machines," he says. "The answer is not what most people think it is."

From Daily Herald
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