[ExI] future of warfare again, was: RE: Forking
anders at aleph.se
Mon Jan 2 20:45:52 UTC 2012
On 02/01/2012 19:37, Stefano Vaj wrote:
> One wonders, isn't that incredibly myopic for a would-be planetary
> empire when being the first to control viable industrial production of
> fusion energy would have guaranteed it a competitive edge on any
> conceivable competitors for decades or perhaps centuries?
I think it is a mistake to assume the actions of states are rational for
the state as entity. States are composed by many players and groups, and
what is rational for one might not be rational for the other - and when
information is imperfectly distributed and incentives improper the
behavior can get really ineffective or irrational. Just consider the
gridlocks of US internal politics - solving them would be very useful
for a planetary empire, but that doesn't help.
In regards to warfare, it is worth noting that the US defense
establishment has worked on developing e-weapons to wipe out
electronics. Very useful against hightech foes dependent on information
processing, and especially effective if there is a large unshielded
civilian infrastructure. Which is of course a much better fit to the US
than most current adversaries - this is the kind of weapon that will
come back and bite you. Especially since current trends in globalization
means that technology diffuses faster and faster. After all, Greenpeace
is operating drones now to pursue whalers.
A world where drone warfare is available to not just the leading forces
but to minor nations and non-national groups might be rather unstable.
You don't need to have a formal declaration of war to send a drone down
Fifth Avenue, and it can be controlled from a botneted computer -
tracing the originators and controllers might be very hard. Drone
warfare might favor asymetrical strikes not just on war-making
infrastructure, but whatever other functions someone think are
strategic/bad: finance, whaling, nanotechnology labs, competitors...
Future of Humanity Institute
Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University
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