[ExI] Our Ageing World

Anders anders at aleph.se
Sun Aug 14 21:02:26 UTC 2016

On 2016-08-14 18:18, spike wrote:
> I disagree with Major Westerdahl.  There are plenty of scenarios whereby
> virtual warfare can be waged without hurling chunks of metal, without any
> particular type of foot-ware in any particular geographical location.  We
> are seeing a virtual civil war in the USA apparently being instigated by
> Russians with no physical presence, no traditional weapons, no particular
> foot-ware.

You can destabilize countries virtually. But can you occupy them? 
Clausewitz point was that "war is politics using other means" - there is 
a big spectrum of political actions and goals. Messing up a rival power 
and hoping that a useful idiot gets into power? Totally reasonable, and 
might have little downside if you have less to lose than the rival. But 
suppose you want to take the loot from the national museums and decorate 
your own museums with it? Then cyber or drones do not cut it. You either 
need to issue the right ultimatums and achieve coercion of the regime, 
or you need boots on the ground. Same thing if you want to institute a 
proper neopagan religious government, or stop the slaughter of some 

The Delta chaos is, according to the infosec sources I read, more likely 
due to bad integration of various subsidiary computer systems bolted 
together rather than enemy action. If major corporations had software 
breakdowns just because cyberwarfare, then the world would be a *far* 
safer place. Instead it looks like we life in a world where attackers 
tend to have advantage, bad security practices such as security through 
obscurity thrive, bugs are dense, much of software is a huge systemic 
risk mess of interconnected dependencies (case in point: 
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/03/23/npm_left_pad_chaos/ ) and the 
incentives for getting real software quality are too weak.

Do not ascribe to malice what is likely due to overly patched systemic 

Dr Anders Sandberg
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
Oxford University

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list