[extropy-chat] 9/11 Commission Report

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Sun Jul 25 23:13:30 UTC 2004

Adrian Tymes wrote:

>--- Olga Bourlin <fauxever at sprynet.com> wrote:
>>As a personal aside, in the last year or so I've had
>>the worst dreams of my life regarding
>>"end-of-the-world scenarios" caused by explosions -
>>nuclear bombs and such (actually I haven't had
>>nightmares any like this, ever - and they've been
>>coming intermittently but consistently). 
>>Is anyone else on this list as worried as I am? 
>>Does anyone see any end in sight?  
>Even as a grade schooler in the '80s, I looked back on
>history and saw Mutually Assured Destruction keeping
>us from nuclear war.  I see parallels to that here:
>Muslim leaders see that American (and by extension
>Western) vengeance is not as precise as they would
>like, sweeping up some innocents along with those who
>assaulted them, and that America's military options
>are being stretched thin.  (I emphasize the leaders
>here, who would be aware of this.)  Which makes
>turning the Middle East into a glass desert seem like
>possibly the only remaining solution that will make
>America safe, *if* one of its cities is nuked (or
>subject to large-scale biochemical attack, or the
>like).  The other nuclear powers that can hit the US
>might object somewhat, but in the aftermath of such an
>attack, and since their own soil wouldn't be touched,
>it is unlikely any of them would seriously threaten
>MAD if America employed this option.  Which, in turn,
>comes up with a kind of MAD even now: Muslim leaders
>can make sure America is not attacked that way, or...
Unfortunately, we can no longer rely on MAD, because it relied on power 
kept balanced but escalated until the less fit system collapsed, with 
whatever remained of it to join the other, forming a more cooperative 
growing whole.

The current playing field is quite different, and quite unbalanced, with 
small organizations increasingly able to inflict repeated damage on the 
larger organization.  This changes the current playing rules quite a 
bit, but the overall game is still the same:  Separate systems trying to 
maximize their own growth. We will struggle at the current plateau until 
the overall system finds a way to maximize overall growth at a higher 
level of cooperation.

Our near term challenge is to get from the current level to the next 
with minimum loss.  This will be achieved by reconfiguring the two 
competing systems as necessary, with destruction of less fit subsystems 
and enhancement of more fit subsystems.  The key to minimizing loss is 
increasing intelligence in order to take accurate and effective action.

Increasing the intelligence of military systems to defend and destroy 
accurately.  Increasing the intelligence of human-based social systems 
to minimize conflict and increase cooperation.  This is what will reduce 
the pain.

What works is Mutual Assured Growth.  What will get us there is 
increasing the intelligence of the human-social organism.

- Jef

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