Blogospheric 5GW, with short comments

Curtis, on Dreaming 5GW:

Which is to say, rather than an automation of rule sets, or of One Common World View, some stable dynamic which allows for multiple world views and perhaps different applicable rule sets might be required. If one likes mice, one does not want a mice-catching cat, and being supplied with the choice of a white mice-catching cat or a black mice-catching cat — and being forced to have at least one of these — will produce conflict, whether 3GW, 4GW, or 5GW.

No need for one common world vew, only one common world. No need for only one civilization, just no civilizational apartheid.

Shloky:

Using Dan’s OODA Loop analysis – When we run out of links to analyze as representative of generations of terrorism the OODA loop becomes irrelevant. Restated: The human decision cycle becomes irrelevant.

Rather, the human decision cycle thrives under limited information.

Mark, on ZenPundit:

The vulnerability of individual actors vis-a-vis groups or the state puts a premium on secrecy for 5GW actors, as previously noted by Dan. The state in turn, is vulnerable to a proliferation of such superempowered individuals and will have to defend itself with a combination of surveillance and active cultivation of primary loyalties ( reducing the motivation for such individuals to act out in antisocial ways).

Rather than focusing on building state loyalties, the State may do well to focus on distributing itself. Federalism provides a model. An actor’s ability to control a system goes down as the complexity of the system goes up. The American System of Government is as brilliant at defending itself from 5GWs as from 4GWs.

John, over at Robb’s Weblog:

It’s clear we are in a phase transition from classic 4GW guerrilla warfare to something worse. In my view, that something worse is ultimately going to be the super-empowered individual that can use the technologies of self-replication to collapse/kill on a grand scale. That is, in a nutshell, is what 5GW is all about. It is the end game in human conflict (at least as far as we can imagine).

This shows the basic difference between John Robb and I. We both sees the end of war, as we have meant “war.” To Robb, this is a bad thing. He retreads some initial misconceptions about the evolution of warfare, as well.

Tom, over at P.M. Barnett :: Weblog:

Constant observation of the foe. Unrelenting surveillance. Every gaffe exposed and then run ad nauseum on the web. His ability to orient himself as desired in the race is disrupted.

Conrad Burns, the incumbent, is trailed everywhere on the campaign by a young operative for the Dems who videotapes him non-stop every chance he gets, waiting for the screw-up.

Once found, it’s run on YouTube.

For the 5GW, Secrecy is needed for success. The Open Society is death for Closed Cabals.

22 thoughts on “Blogospheric 5GW, with short comments”

  1. “Rather than focusing on building state loyalties, the State may do well to focus on distributing itself. Federalism provides a model. An actor's ability to control a system goes down as the complexity of the system goes up. The American System of Government is as brilliant at defending itself from 5GWs as from 4GWs.”

    Great comment. It is the distribution of state systems/resources, learning/evolving ability, and ability to react to change that should keep a state existing. Competitive federalism, strong civil society and an binding identity such as “we are all Americans” should do the trick.

  2. “An actor's ability to control a system goes down as the complexity of the system goes up. The American System of Government is as brilliant at defending itself from 5GWs as from 4GWs.”

    As the complexity of the system goes up:

    –Hiding within it becomes easier.

    –Isolating the origins of memes becomes more difficult.

    –Individuals have more difficulty maintaining a coherent concept of the system and of others within the system.

    I.e., conditions for 5GW improve.

    In a system like the American system, one only needs to influence a majority of the people — sometimes, only a bare majority — to create large effects which will in turn influence many more people. Or else, create that majority. Remember the 'canary in the mine' which will die unheard / unnoticed? Given the disadvantages for a state created by increased complexity, and given the conceptual disadvantages for an individual living within such a state, the general tendency is for individuals to put more faith in beliefs and opinions expressed by others concerning events which they, themselves, have had little opportunity to ctually observe: “If a million people say it is so, it must be so.” Personal skepticism is dismissed because it is scary — because the individual begins to fear the collective power of parties; thus the individual will tend to buy into a majority for defense, even without knowing everything the leaders of that majority believe or may do. I.e., they'll vote for a Representative who is sending sexually suggestive emails to teenagers, simply because he's of their party. For instance.

  3. Using Dan's OODA Loop analysis – When we run out of links to analyze as representative of generations of terrorism the OODA loop becomes irrelevant. Restated: The human decision cycle becomes irrelevant.

    Rather, the human decision cycle thrives under limited information.

    The scenario I was describing is based on the idea that when/if the singularity occurs the human mind will be outmoded by technology (AI, gray goo, whatever).

    Which means that every feedback loop ends with flatlining.

  4. Shloky, regarding the Singularity, I imagine the same is true for the Second Coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ as well. After all:

    ” When we've been there ten thousand years,
    Bright shining as the sun,
    We've no less days to sing God's praise
    Than when we'd first begun. ” [1]

    But how are either scientifically or heuristically useful outside the realm of theology?

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazing_Grace

  5. Purpleslog,

    Right on the money.

    Federalism is associated with dynamic governance. Something new is always going on, and whatever your political orientation, there is a future somewhere for you in a federalist union. Contrast this to the systems that create terrorism (Saudi Arabia, Egypt), to see another whole advantage of distributed governance. Sadly, even though the worst of Roosevelt's reforms have generally been done away with, we still suffer under the dead hand of Earl Warren and other centralizers. Too bad, and too dangerous.

    Curtis,

    Your three “complexities of the system” show why federalism decreases 5GW. The inability to trace the spread of memes, for example, is directly related to the inability to control the behavior of memes. The complexity of the system blinds our 5GW enemeis in the fog of complex adaptive systems. Thus it is perhaps a perfect 5GW counter-attack: avert an assault on our observation ability by first plucking out the eyes of our enemies.

    Even in a centralized parliamentary system where the will of a majority of the people become law (like, say, Britain or Israel and unlike, say, America), that is primarily a concern for 4GW forces.

    Clean, unitary systems are ripe for 5GW explanations precisely because they are so mechanical. Attack precise pressure to certain criticla points and you can bring the whole thing down. (This is reminding me of Global Guerrillas la-la land, heh).

    Your concern about working from a minimum of information was addressed at a recent forum on campus [1]. The authors conclusion was increased transparency, which I agree with. Anti-5GW strategies must make it organically difficult for 5GW forces to evolve, both by preventing them from having fixed, easily cacluable goals (achieved through complexity) and making it easy to see them and degrade them into 4GW forces (achieved through transparency).

    [1] http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/politicalsciencehendricks/2/

  6. “The inability to trace the spread of memes, for example, is directly related to the inability to control the behavior of memes.”

    This is very important and something I have considered. No one said 5GW would be easy! (Although the discussion of 5GW sometimes may look that way, simply because so far we're cutting across the difficulties in our attempt to outline how 5GW may look when it is successful.)

    “The complexity of the system blinds our 5GW enemeis in the fog of complex adaptive systems. Thus it is perhaps a perfect 5GW counter-attack: avert an assault on our observation ability by first plucking out the eyes of our enemies.”

    On the other hand, the same thing blinds those living within that system……

    “Clean, unitary systems are ripe for 5GW explanations precisely because they are so mechanical. “

    Maybe, maybe not — depending on the nature of those systems. In a totalitarian system where the Dear Leader does his own thing and disregards the whispers on the common street, 5GW effectors may have no doorway or window for their 'messages.' On the other hand, should the right catalysts make their way into the Dear Leader's decision-making process, nothing will stop the 5GW plan.

    This gets back a little to something Arherring said in a recent D5GW post [1]: that indoctrination may work temporarily as a defense against 5GW. It also reminds me of old discussion on TDAXP concerning kin, folk, and trade: That insularity may be a defense against 'infection'. [2] And to round it out, the type of “clean, unitary systems” most safe from 5GW attacks are those that are largely self-driven, whether the individual skeptic who questions everything he sees or the mania-driven madman who has all the answers before he sees anything.

    “Anti-5GW strategies must make it organically difficult for 5GW forces to evolve, both by preventing them from having fixed, easily cacluable goals (achieved through complexity) and making it easy to see them and degrade them into 4GW forces (achieved through transparency).”

    These two considerations are a little at odds, aren't they? The 'transparency' which makes them easy to see would not be able to achieve the sort of confusion through complexity required to make their development difficult. In fact, transparency may hand them their methods on a silver platter.

    But what's really the worst part of this conflation is the assumption that perfect transparency is possible: It assumes a sort of homogenous, cross-domain sameness nature to the society, as well as omniscience and omnipresence for all the members of that society. Whereas, I think that the lack of transparency is birthed within the individual, due to limited observational capability and the natural bounds of intelligence. I.e., the 'society' (or the leaders of that society, really) may profess transparency and lay all the laws down on tablets viewable by everyone, but not everyone will see those tablets or, seeing them, will realize that the entire society is so focused on the 'signs of transparency,' they are blind to other things.

    Finally, BTW, I was very interested in your recent consideration of cooperative, social learning [3] — which, quite frankly, has major implications for 5GW.

    [1] http://www.fifthgeneration.phaticcommunion.com/archives/2006/10/welcome_to_the_world_of_5gw.php

    [2] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2006/01/25/liberal-education-part-iii-infection.html

    [3] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2006/10/14/learning-evolved-part-ii-social-motivation.html

  7. “On the other hand, the same thing [complexity] blinds those living within that system……”

    Yup, and complexity benefits openness (diversity generators, intergroup competition, etc). Open, transparent, see-through systems kill 5GW.

    “In a totalitarian system where the Dear Leader does his own thing and disregards the whispers on the common street, 5GW effectors may have no doorway or window for their 'messages.'”

    I think one can argue the reverse pretty easily. One always here talk of this faction or that in totalitarian countries, attempting to manipulate their leader while hiding their own presence from the leader. For instance, was the train explosion a few years back a clumsy assassination attempt by rogue KPA elements? An attempt by other rogue elements to get the regime to eliminate the first group of rogues? An attempt by ROK intelligence to get the DPRK to blame China, and so further Korean nationalism? Some other group/

    The more lee-way one leader has, the easier it is for the 5GWs to know where to apply their (limited) pressure.

    “that indoctrination may work temporarily as a defense against 5GW.”

    I haven't had time to read his post yet, but the key term seems temporarily. In the future, one has no guarantee that the indoctrination program isn't itself an effect of a 5GW operation.

    “That insularity may be a defense against 'infection'. “

    Hmmm… the “Liberal Education” series was mostly aimed at ideologies and 4GW groups, so it's interesting to see it applied here. A hermit-kingdom society may limit its susceptibility to foreign 5GWarriors (presuming it could actually seal even its security off, which is doubtful), but it may become more susceptible to internal 5GWarriors.

    “These two considerations [complexity and openness] are a little at odds, aren't they? The 'transparency' which makes them easy to see would not be able to achieve the sort of confusion through complexity required to make their development difficult. In fact, transparency may hand them their methods on a silver platter.”

    I understand your point, but I do not think they are at odds. This is not a pseudoscience moment. [1] The goal of the State is to design to System to automatically prevent and fight 5GWs without purposeful action, in the same way a body's immune system fights diseases without central direction. As 5GWarriors would quietly infest organizations to effect systems, the solution would be to make it harder to quietly infest and harder to change the system. The first is done through transparency (which holds the promise of degrading secret 5GW groups to public 4GW groups) and the second through complexity (so even if the 5GWarriors have their pawns, they can't know what to do with them).

    “But what's really the worst part of this conflation is the assumption that perfect transparency is possible:”

    Nope, no need for perfection. Merely for a toolbox that throws up interference. The immune system works the same way.

    Thank you for the kind words on the social learning series. I am excited by them, and happy you are as well. 🙂

    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2006/03/23/csikszentmihalyi-the-pseudoscientist.html

  8. Dan,

    It often seems to me, when you and I begin debating, that we are either arguing purely in the realm of semantics or else argue on two subjects when we think we are addressing only one.

    “Yup, and complexity benefits openness (diversity generators, intergroup competition, etc). Open, transparent, see-through systems kill 5GW.”

    For instance, you have these truisms which, if believed, would seem to entirely encase your argument in unassailable obviousness; but to me, these truisms are anything but obvious. Diversity generators, intergroup competition — lets add 'incessant chatter' and to that add 'opinion' in the Platonic sense (i.e., it is not knowledge). How does such complexity benefit openness; but really, I mean: how on earth are you choosing to define 'openness'? One might say that the various rights secured to Americans by the U.S. Constitution allow for all manner of speech, congregating, and so forth — that we 'get it all out there' — and that this is the epitome of openness. Or else, we might look at a very complex riddle or mathematical problem in which the 'answer' hides from those who cannot compute on the level of a mathematical genius: in which case, the problem is entirely open for viewing, but no one but such a genius can navigate it.

    As for factions within a totalitarian system: sure, they exist. So what? Who is more likely to be paranoid vis-a-vis such factions and hidden actors, the Senator in America or the Dear Leader? In which system will the hidden actor be able to move more freely: the one where so many people move in so many directions, and are expected to, or the one where our Dear Leader views every odd movement as a signal of a potential imminent threat or conspiracy?

    “One always here talk of this faction or that…”

    That's hearsay. But the fact that we hear of it might signal the fact that it's not incredibly hidden. We don't quite elevate the movement of factions within America to the same level, do we, because everyone knows that everyone in Washington has an agenda that might be at odds with our favored agenda. It's expected. It's familiar. When factions within America post their agendas on the WWW, have their agendas published in the NYT or elsewhere, etc., then we really don't need to enquire much into their motivation and their…er, real agenda.

    “The goal of the State is to design to System to automatically prevent and fight 5GWs without purposeful action, in the same way a body's immune system fights diseases without central direction.”

    There are different types of disease and illness, and not all are sure to be killed by an immune system set to autopilot. That's why we have the medical profession.

    The 'infestations of organizations', although it may be one way of conducting 5GW, is not the only method, I think. Infestation may not be the only type of systemic attack.

  9. “It often seems to me, when you and I begin debating, that we are either arguing purely in the realm of semantics or else argue on two subjects when we think we are addressing only one.”

    I agree 🙂

    “How does such complexity benefit openness; but really, I mean: how on earth are you choosing to define 'openness'? “

    Excellent point. Operationalizatin is important. [1] And that ties in to the next point…

    “One might say that the various rights secured to Americans by the U.S. Constitution allow for all manner of speech, congregating, and so forth — that we 'get it all out there' — and that this is the epitome of openness.”

    I would argue that openness is the degree to which an organization's users and actions are publicly known. So that a faction that maintained a secret membership list was less open than one whose membership list was open, and that a faction who files a spending report with a regulating agency is more open than one that doesn't.

    This presents a problem, considering the rights implicitly and explicitly granted in the Bill of Rights. Is forcing the publication of membership list a violation of assembly or other rights? These are serious questions that I'm not sure on teh ansewrs on.

    “As for factions within a totalitarian system: sure, they exist. So what? Who is more likely to be paranoid vis-a-vis such factions and hidden actors, the Senator in America or the Dear Leader?”

    The Dear Leader, who will thus be more anxious and relying more on rational thought than fingertip feeling. This makes him more vulnerable to 5GW assaults, as his (rational) thinking is more limited by the visible and the quantifiable than the Senator's (intuitive) thinking.

    “In which system will the hidden actor be able to move more freely: the one where so many people move in so many directions, and are expected to, or the one where our Dear Leader views every odd movement as a signal of a potential imminent threat or conspiracy?”

    In which system will the “hidden” actor's visible moves have more effect on his target, the Senator or the Dear Leader? The tyrant, obviously, because he will be focused on his eyes.

    “There are different types of disease and illness, and not all are sure to be killed by an immune system set to autopilot. That's why we have the medical profession.”

    True, but 99.999% are.


    The 'infestations of organizations', although it may be one way of conducting 5GW, is not the only method, I think. Infestation may not be the only type of systemic attack.”

    Also true.

    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2006/09/11/be-resilient-part-iv-the-importance-of-measurement.html

  10. Busy busy busy right now. A couple things I want to highlight, though:

    “The Dear Leader, who will thus be more anxious and relying more on rational thought than fingertip feeling. This makes him more vulnerable to 5GW assaults, as his (rational) thinking is more limited by the visible and the quantifiable than the Senator's (intuitive) thinking.”

    This reminds me of something I wrote on PC but have since transferred to D5GW; concerning “fingertip feeling”:

    “I think, however, that the target will not sense the fighter for a slightly different reason. The 5GWarrior does not subvert fingertip-feeling or confuse it. He utilizes it. The target has a true fingertip-feeling, but he is put in the position of having that particular hunch by the 5GWarrior.” [1]

    This comment of yours, however, puts a very good question & answer:

    “In which system will the “hidden” actor's visible moves have more effect on his target, the Senator or the Dear Leader? The tyrant, obviously, because he will be focused on his eyes.”

    But since we began our to-and-fro, I've had in mind the notion that any 5GW organization worthy of that name will tailor its operations for the system it is attacking, and the issue of totalitarian vs democratic/federalist system may be moot.

    I've also had in mind that the best defense against 5GW will also be 5GW — but, please, let's not get into that just yet, because I'm too short on time for a day or two and it's only a very vague idea I've been having!

  11. Curtis,

    “But since we began our to-and-fro, I've had in mind the notion that any 5GW organization worthy of that name will tailor its operations for the system it is attacking, and the issue of totalitarian vs democratic/federalist system may be moot.”

    Life is not binary: things are not adapted or not, systems are not perfect or not. Rather, certain organisms are more or less adapted to certain systems. If my claim was “System X will prevent against any 5GW,” then of course it would be absurd. But that's not my claim: I'm saying that open federalism is more hostile ecosystem for 5GW organizations.

    This has downstream benefits, too. Efforts organization spend on immunizing themselves against their hostile environment cannot be spent defending against rivals or exploiting possible successes. Think of a bio-engineered grass that is immune to weed killer. If it escapes into the wild it is less adapted to the ecosystem than native grasses, because energy it has to spend on immunology other plants spend on growing and seeding.

    “I've also had in mind that the best defense against 5GW will also be 5GW — but, please, let's not get into that just yet, because I'm too short on time for a day or two and it's only a very vague idea I've been having!”

    Haha! 🙂

    But a simple topic, really. 5GW is an operational style optimized for non-state actors. Hence, it's unlikely that a state would be wise to symmetrically respond to 5GW. That would be as foolish as attempting to fight a 4GW with a rival 4GW! 🙂

  12. Perhaps this thread has become a dead-drop for some 5GW cell.

    Attention guedayUnredge – here is a followup message for you:

    The crow cries at midnight; the sheep shall become the Sheppards; SolentGreen is people; My baloney has a first name it is S-O-R-O-S; the world wonders.

    Godspeed guedayUnredge, Godspeed.

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