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Shlok Vaidya’s Singularity of Warfare


Shlok posts up on the future of war in response to Lexington’s Green’s prospective speaking engagement:

The History and Future of Warfare

…..The history of warfare looks something like this cycle that repeats itself within the governance market – between an insurgent governance platform and the dominant platform of the time. Victory is gauged by market-share of each platform.

  1. Tribe vs. Tribe
  2. Tribe vs. State
  3. State vs State
    1. Marked by the invention of the nuke.
  4. Network vs State
    1. Where we are now. Networks are essentially information empowered tribes.
  5. Network vs. Network
    1. When the nation-state collapses into its component resilient communities and combats the networks that won.
    2. Insurgencies and private military corporations act as governance platforms.
  6. Small-Scale Networks vs Network
    1. Advanced information flows decreases mass requirements and increases decentralization.
    2. Trend continues until post-human age.
  7. Small-Scale Network vs Small-Scale Network
  8. Individual vs. Small-Scale Network
  9. Individual vs. Individual
  10. Post-human vs. Individual
    1. When the difference between man and machine is negligible.
  11. ? vs Post-Human

*Acceleration really takes off when the network barrier is broken.

I like the flow in the outline. Potential countervailing trends to Shlok’s model? Here’s a couple:

  • Aggressive migration/refugees-in-arms – think Hutu militiamen fleeing to the Congo from Tutsi rebels, but scaled up for a failing great or regional power.
  • Rogue nuclear events will cause a countervailing, centralizing, “circling the wagons” effect that will temporarily strengthen states and allow them to “take off the gloves” against networked opponents.

5 Responses to “Shlok Vaidya’s Singularity of Warfare”

  1. joey Says:

    Someone read Brave New War.

    I like the bit where the Author prophesies that soon one man will be able to declare War on the World and win.

  2. zen Says:

    Shlok and John are on the same wavelength

  3. Shlok Says:

    Heh. Thanks for the post Zen. Agree, there are feedback loops (black swan events where the winner… doesn’t and sends us spiraling into awkward places), but in the Long View, I think the outline will play out correctly. Apocalyptic black swans in particular, are the only thing I can see ending this trend. Changing it though… that would be the subject of an interesting book. 

  4. Ryan Says:

    so we just jumped straight from the tribe to the state with nothing in between? I don’t think so…

  5. zen Says:

    Hi Ryan,
    I think Shlok was aiming for "outline" rather than "essay". If he chooses to flesh it out more then the next logical step is to move to historical case studies where the gamut of social complexity emerges over time ( or regresses).

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