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Hipbonegamer on the Art of Future Warfare

[ by Charles Cameron — writing in a very different mode this time — I’m chuffed ]

Today a quasi-science-fictional scenario I wrote for The Atlantic Council’s Art of Future Warfare proect was posted as a “featured entry” in their “Great War” war-art challenge. You may recall my commenting on the challenge in an earlier post, Art of Future War? August Cole, who is running the project, encouraged me in a comment to write up an entry for the challenge, which I did.

My entry begins like this:

Flashing across my sub-eyes and a few dozen others today, those tiny edge of vision thunderclouds that when my saccade leaps to them indicate increasing war chance – lit by a single bolt of miniscule lightning. As my transport turns itself into its parkplace, too far from the Ed’s for me to throat her a quick morning buzz, I flipvision up and “Temple” appears in yellow and red across the sub-world, and an accompanying jolt from the adrenals gets me out of the comfort of my now stationary pod, through visual check-in and up to my console where I can dig into deets.

I was the key-chooser of “Temple” for an accelerated, amplified and psychenhanced notification, having back in the day read Gorenberg on Temple Mount as the “most hotly contested piece of real estate on earth” – a phrase which haunts me still, since the clashing “end times” beliefs of the three relevant belief systems – all three messianic, one mahdist into the bargain – are undercurrents I track “out of the corner of my subs” on the principle that we shouldn’t overlook what seems vaguely irrational to us, when it’s passionately real to others. That way lies blindsiding, never a pleasant outcome.

In out-reality, which my in-reality strives to keep accurately mapped and understood — though that’s a clear impossibility in practice… in out-reality, then, attempts to wipe one holy place off another’s sacred site are standard fare in crisis sparks, have been since the Ayodhya riots, hey, maybe since Hagia Sophia became a mosque or the Mezquita in Cordoba sprouted a cathedral. I could go back into antiquity, if any of my throatees are interested.

And so on — you can read the whole thing on their site under the title News Enhancement In An Info Overloaded Age. I had me a great time writing this, and long time Zenpundit readers will recognize many familiar strands of my thinking, under cover of some fun futuristic jargon..


Overall project description:

The Atlantic Council’s Art of Future Warfare project is driven by the Scowcroft Center on International Security’s mandate to advance thinking and planning for the future of warfare. The project’s core mission is to cultivate a community of interest in works and ideas arising from the intersection of creativity and expectations about how emerging antagonists, disruptive technologies, and novel warfighting concepts may animate tomorrow’s conflicts.

The “Great War” challenge winning entry:

  • Nikolas Katsimpras, Coffee, Wi-Fi and the Moon
  • Other featured entries posted to date:

  • Ashley Henley, Dec. 8, 2041: Another Day of Infamy
  • Sydney J. Freedberg, Jr., Tallinn Is Burning
  • Matt Cavanaugh, Fear Paralyzes Pacific As Army Major Awaits Hearing
  • Saku, Pacific Plunged Into The Abyss!
  • **

    They’re inviting artist, writers and other creative thinkers to spin out ideas in the general direction of future preparedness — in their own way, approaching some of the same territory as the Office of Naval Research and Naval Postgraduate School‘s MMOWGLI (“Massive Multiplayer Online Wargame Leveraging the Internet”) — which Im also thinking about, and will probably dip my toes in..

    All of which is forcing me to think a whole lot about boxes and assumptions — how to recognize our assumptions and think outside our boxes — questions that are never too far from my mind in any case.

    Stay tuned, there’s more to come.

    3 Responses to “Hipbonegamer on the Art of Future Warfare”

    1. Cheryl Rofer Says:

      Congratulations, Charles!
      An interesting project, but it makes me wonder if envisioning particular futures doesn’t bias us toward them. So we have imagining future war. How would we go about envisioning future peace? Ah, that doesn’t include nifty gizmos and action, action – or does it?
      And a small prediction, which I seldom make: all, or nearly all (say 1 or 2 exceptions) the creative thinkers selected will be male.
      (btw, “Tallinn Is Burning” has some geographical oddities, undoubtedly introduced to make it more vivid for those who haven’t been to Tallinn, but a problem for those of us who have. Trivial point, but that kind of thing seems to be happening too much these days, or maybe I’ve just been to too many places.)

    2. zen Says:

      Congratulations Charles! You had some Gibsonesque touches in your submission that gave your piece a nice plausibility.
      Cheryl – isn’t “future peace” simply “futurism” since most predictions tend to revolve around tech and civil society?

    3. Cheryl Rofer Says:

      Good question, Mark.
      I think there would be a difference if we focused on peace the way this competition focuses on war. “Futurism,” as I understand it, focuses on how we might live our lives in a future world and assumes peace so that we can have flying cars and all the rest.
      I agree that both war futures and futurism futures tend to revolve around tech. But another component is sociological, or even personal. The influence tends to be from the tech to those two rather than the other way around. Looking at future peace might take that other way around: what do we do to make peace more achievable? Does tech do that? Can tech do that? What tech might we need? How might we use it?
      Civil society is one thing, again often assumed in “futurism” to be rather like today’s with some changes due to tech. But since wars are usually fought with other countries or external groups, at least by the United States, external relations would be another subject of future peace.

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