RE: sleep and extropian dreams

Billy Brown (
Wed, 3 Nov 1999 11:53:55 -0600

Spike Jones wrote:
> Good deal! If they are ready in 10-20, that fits my definition of
> "threshold of a dream." We will never see anything like the
> horrifying first world war again. Huge armies are more of a liability
> than an asset. Infantry would be a special team of highly trained people
> lotsa high tech gear and an intense focus.

Far from making big armies obsolete, high technologies encourage them. The difference is that instead of having 1,000,000 riflemen you end up with thousands of different kinds of specialists working together in very complex ways. There is a strong selection pressure in favor of large, well-funded armies that manage to be a little less hidebound than their competitors.

So, you won't see a return to trench warfare, but that doesn't rule out new and innovative ways of committing mass murder.

> Ja. What I have in mind is surgical damage to the enemy infrastructure,
> that disables communication, command and control, in such a way that
> repair is easy after the short war is over.

As the air force has discovered time and time again, the enemy starts repairing damaged systems the instant your air raid is over. To disable an entire nation you have to destroy things faster than the enemy can rebuild them, and keep doing it for long enough to win the war. Unless the enemy suffers a failure of will (i.e. surrenders without a fight), that means there is going to be a very large amount of damage.

> This *assumes* terrain must be taken and held. Of course this is the
> way it has *always* been done, but I urge you to ask yourself why
> exactly this is necessary.

It isn't the terrain per se that you want to control of, its the enemy population, manufacturing centers, and other resources that can be used to resist your attack.

> I can imagine many scenarios in which a technologically advanced society
> could get its way, while allowing the adversary to keep all their terrain,
> even allow it to imagine itself as having won the war, yet stop whatever
> behaviour that we found objectionable to start with.

Then you are probably imagining a relatively genteel enemy. Suppose your adversary decides they are tired of dealing with tricky cyberterrorism, and simply exterminates your entire population? If you don't keep an actual, physical army on hand you won't be able to do anything about it.

> Please someone more advanced than me, chip in here and extrapolate

Sure. Over the next 20 years or so (CRNS, of course) most humans in combat roles are replaced by machines. Armies have much lower headcounts, operate at a higher tempo, and are far more deadly to both enemies and civilians. In 20 - 40 years CRNS mass mind control becomes a popular tool in authoritarian circles, and genocide is made easy by genetically targeted bioweapons. Emerging AI technology enables the creation of Orwellian superstates where all human action is constantly monitored by machines, and the need for actual human subjects begins to decline as the AIs improve. Within another century your typical authoritarian state has become a borganism in which all action is constrained my layer upon layer of loyalty programming.

I think that those of use who favor freedom can find ways to counter these trends, but it isn't going to be an easy task.

Billy Brown, MCSE+I