I think cyber security and warfare will be more important than the lock on our doors or troops on the ground. Perhaps it is for the better too. Less deaths mean more people are given the chance to prosper and create.
Thanks for this report, Cabe. Fascinating stuff, and scary to learn that cyber-attacks may be interpreted as formal declarations of war. But I can't agree that more people are a good thing when overpopulation is directly related to the number and scope of the planet's environmental problems.
Ann, you are certainly correct. But I can assure you that cyberwar is, at least so far, more humane than the military bullets and bombs type of warfare. Of course that may change if some decide to hack into all of he various robotic things that are in use. Just consider what it could do to a portion of the power grid if somebody were able to switch everything off and on at the same time, and then started cycling it with a three second period. Probably they could take down any grid that thy attacked, and also do a lot of damage to individual systems. Possibly a different cycle rate would be more damaging, but that one certainly could cause problems.
William, I was responding to Cabe's statement that "Less deaths mean more people are given the chance to prosper and create." which sounded to me like it implied that it's OK for more people to live and reproduce. I know he didn't say that, but more people actually means a lot more people, since reproducing is one of the things humans (or any other animals) do when we prosper.
@Ann: There are definite social, economic, and ecological advantages to smaller family sizes. However, discussions of overpopulation are often problematic.
El Salvador, with 761 people per square mile, is often considered to be "overpopulated," while countries with higher population densities (such as Belgium, with 945 people per square mile, or the Netherlands, with 1287 people per square mile) are not.
Many of the countries with the highest population densities (Monaco, Singapore, Bahrain, Malta, Taiwan, etc.) have relatively high standards of living, while many of the countries with the lowest population densities (Mongolia, Western Sahara, Namibia, etc.) have very low standards of living.
That's not to say that there are no limits to population growth, but I think most of the resource problems in today's world are more related to the distribution of resources (wasteful overconsumption in some places, while others don't have enough), rather than the total number of mouths to feed.
The idea that there is anything good about people dying in war is rather horrifying.
You are certainly correct about the idea of people dying in war being horrifying. It goes way beyond horrifying: remember, somebody said that " war is hell", but my opinion is that it is way worse than that. But please, don't anyone take that as a heresy or an attack on anybody's religious beliefs.
My assertion is based on the reality that you don't have to die to go to war, and that sometimes it sticks to you even if you do come back.
But as soon as there is found a way to link computers to our brains, which some are working toward even now, cyber warfare will take a large step toward being just as nasty as the gun and bomb type of warfare. That will be one of those "unintended consequences" that people were not thinking about as they blasted the lid off of Pandoras box. ( That reference to Greek mythology is a very handy way to describe a concept.) I hope that a few other people consider that reality. PLEASE!!
William, thanks for an eloquent description. I have been close to men who served in Vietnam, as friends and boyfriends. My father was at Guadacanal in WWII. I know what bringing it home means. I also like your reference to Pandora's Box--good metaphor.
Ann, it is one of those "unintended consequences" that are the secondary results of something that "seemed like a good idea at the time". They appear by a method similar to fault tree analysis, where we would consider each possible condition of something not being made exactly as designed, and then figure out what the result of that fault would be. Then sometimes we would need to determine what the result of the secondary fault would be. The purpose of all this analysis was to determine which manufacturing flaws had to be tested for and at what stage of production. Sort of like "Failure Mode Analysis" but more intense.
And since we know that computers often suffer frommviruses and other types of malware, it is completely reasonable that a computer linked to a brain would have that happen eventually.
That would probably be a good basis for a serious horror movie, or even a TV series. Much more believable than zombies, too.
William, I like the way your mind works, and the fault tree/failure analysis metaphor. I also completely agree about unintended consequences. And as far as the sci-fi aspects go, I'm happy to see almost *any* sci-fi that doesn't involve zombies!
Localized population densities alone don't tell the whole story. At the local level, much of the problem occurs when there's a big mismatch between population and resources. But standard of living is also not determined by only those two factors. High standards of living often are made possible in one area of the world because low standards of living occur in other parts--often, where the high-standard political entities are exploiting the heck out of the low-standard ones. On the macro level, many people working in this and related fields are convinced that there are just too many people on the planet, and that a high standard of living is not sustainable, evidenced by pollution, food shortages and environmental wastage. Obviously, there has to be a limit somewhere to both people and usage since the globe and its resources are limited, not infinite. Some think we've already passed it: http://www.whatnext.org/resources/Publications/Volume-III/Single-articles/wnv3_andersson_144.pdf
Ann, consider the workers at the auto plants in Mexico City. I have seen them, and they were earning more than they could any place else around there. Also at the other plants in more rural areas, as well. Were they being exploited? Quite probably. But were they also living a lot better than they would be if they were not being so exploited? Definitely! And they were certainly not being hurt by that better income than they could get anyplace else.
My point being that not all exploitation is being harmful.
Of course there are also evil exploiters, which are much closer to the forced slave labor camps that we have heard about in the past.
I don't agree that all exploitation is not harmful. Those individual workers may not be harmed in the short-term. But in the long term, they will be hurt when the jobs are taken away. And in the short term, the higher-wage workers whose jobs are displaced in another country or a different area of the same country, are definitely hurt. History tells us that this scenario has been played out again and again around the world.
Ann, any time that jobs are taken away from anybody, for any reason, employees are hurt. Been there, done that, quite a few times. But every job offers the chance to learn new skills and become more valuable to the next employer. The one exception that I have heard of was the job of "tail-gunner" in the old Flying Fortress aircraft back in WW2. The only useful skill from that job was performing well under extreme pressure.
Jobs do become obsolete, and companies do close their doors. So it happens that jobs do go away and people are hurt to a greater or lesser extent. BHut that is how it works in this world, quite independant of any degree of exploitation.
I was not born at that time. I was never a tail gunner, but I worked at one place that had quite a few vetrans including a guy who had been a tail gunner. They did learn independance and fast reactions, and how to repair a gun in a real hurry. He did a bit of everything in that place. It is just an excellent example of developing a skill that most companies don't need.
What I can see now about the "hotter" incidences of cyberwarfare is that with the amount of computerized everything that we presently have, if the oppositions computers could be impaired then the advantage would be held, mostly because tactical communications are the tactical advantage, at least in most instances.
During somewhat more peaceful intervals, grabbing trade secrets is a cheap way to beat the competition. Development costs for many products are a big part of the product expense.
You made me remember an important factor in war. The side with better communication will win.
Cyberwarefare is about taking out the opposition's communication, in some area or other.
Reminds me when I play paintball. My friends and I would just run out there, barely talking to one another. Like lone gunmen running around. We would all get shot at some point. We now use wireless headsets to stay in constant contact. We do way better in coordination and usually dominate the other side. Cyberwarefare would be knocking out our communications by hacking into our system (walkie talkie channel) and drowning us out.
This gave me a good idea about doing this to organized opposition. I would drown every channel in static. My friends and I would use a secure private connection. Hmmmm.....
Cabe, before jamming the other side's communication, be sure to check on the legality of it, since intentional jamming is often illegal. But you caertainly could have a receiver tuned to their communications channel and play it through a loud PA system. That would serve as both a great demoralizer and a means to make their com system useless. Although there may be a problem with some of the new laws relating to the privacy of communications. My take on that is that only an idiot or a fool would believe that radiom signals are only received by those that they are intendded for. The very basic rules of physics show otherwise.
Cabe, Some of the stuff from that area was different. But just consider how it would gfeel if suddenly your phone conversation was being played outside, in real time, very loud, for ecveryone to hear. That w my concept, first invented to make drivers pay attention to driving instead of their phone calls. It no longer is a valid option se because cell conversations are digitized instead of analog, which they used to be.
It's amazing to me how the definition of war has changed over the years and how we now fight wars; unmanned drones, cyber attacks, etc. I think theft of intellectual proper should also be considered warfare. I know this is a real stretch to some but billions of dollars are lost each year due to this activity and when we talk about theft from DoD facilities, there certainly could be lives lost. With ever-increasing acceptance of digital process, cyber warfare of any description will only increase.
Theft of intellectual property? As in if Apple steals a concept from someone else, that would be an act of war? Is the future where corporations declare war openly I've read about in scifi books finally here? You might be on to something.
Cabe, you are correct, just because something is a large financial crime does not make it an act of war. But then we see the drug cartels waging war as part of their ongoing crime enterprise. But in that case all of those warlike activities are incidental to the primary criminal activity.
A war prosecuted in an attempt to be less than maximally evil is soldiers fighting soldiers, with the goal of subduing the opposing armed soldiers. A war intended to be maximally evil is soldiers killing and injuring the nonparticipating populations just for the sake of killing them. Examples would include the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto, and much more recently the bombing of the Boston Marathon crowd by those jihadist soldiers. A different technology but a similar level of cowardice.
Cyberwarfare, while certainly having the potential to be quite damaging is probably not as evil in most instances. The exceptions would be the "spoofing" of the commercial airliners navigation system to lead it into enemy airspace where it was shot down. That did happen just a few years ago.
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