drone strike

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How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales From the Pentagon by Rosa Brooks

airport security, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, big-box store, clean water, cognitive dissonance, continuation of politics by other means, different worldview, disruptive innovation, drone strike, Edward Snowden, facts on the ground, failed state, illegal immigration, Internet Archive, John Markoff, Mark Zuckerberg, moral panic, pattern recognition, Peace of Westphalia, personalized medicine, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, Turing test, unemployed young men, Valery Gerasimov, Wall-E, War on Poverty, WikiLeaks

But given the lack of transparency around U.S. drone strikes, it is impossible to say whether any given strike (or the totality of strikes) satisfies these legal and ethical principles.19 Are all U.S. drone strikes “necessary”? Could nonlethal means of combating terrorism—such as efforts to disrupt terrorist financing and communications—be sufficient to prevent future attacks? Might particular terror suspects be captured rather than killed? Do drone strikes inspire more terrorists than they kill? Also, to what degree does U.S. drone policy distinguish between terrorist threats of varying gravity? If drone strikes against a dozen targets prevented another attack on the scale of 9/11, few would dispute their appropriateness or legality—but we might judge differently a drone strike against someone unlikely to cause serious harm to the United States.

CIA personnel were the first American government agents to enter Afghanistan, paving the way for Army Special Forces; in some cases, CIA personnel fought (and died) alongside Afghan Northern Alliance soldiers.34 CIA personnel also participated actively in the Battle of Tora Bora and Operation Anaconda, and in the years that followed the CIA has substantially beefed up its paramilitary side, recruiting heavily within the military special operations community.35 Today, the CIA is widely reported to engage in raids against high-value terrorist targets, and is reportedly responsible for scores—possibly hundreds—of drone strikes.36 Officially, none of this is happening. Or, rather, although U.S. officials are happy enough to take credit for turning live terrorists into dead terrorists, the U.S. government officially insists, “Whether or not the CIA has the authority to be, or is in fact, directly involved in targeted lethal operations remains classified.” What’s more, asserts a 2012 Justice Department legal brief, “Notwithstanding widespread reports that drone strikes occur, the CIA has never confirmed or denied whether it has any involvement or intelligence interest in any of those drone strikes.”37 In response to Freedom of Information Act requests for records relating to drone strikes, the CIA itself has been unambiguously ambiguous. Writing to the ACLU, for instance, the CIA’s Information and Privacy Coordinator offered only a stock response: “The CIA can neither confirm nor deny the existence or nonexistence of records responsive to your request.

., Guantánamo rulings of, 58–59, 60–61, 410 surveillance, 355, 364 new rules needed for, 355 post-9/11 increase in, 303–4, 414–15 SWAT teams, 298–99 Syria, 12, 157, 226, 227, 229, 280, 344, 349 bombing in, 291 chemical weapons in, 248, 283, 314–15 civil war in, 248 U.S. drone strikes in, 107 U.S. military intervention in, 251 Syrian civil war, 261 Taliban, 29, 33, 55, 56, 59, 60, 74, 75, 98, 99, 100, 121, 232, 277, 278, 279, 293, 329, 331 Tanzania, bombing of U.S. embassy in, 83, 223 targeted killings, 27, 103, 108, 115–16, 118, 119, 122–23, 124, 134, 196–97, 266, 273, 274, 276, 284, 286, 343, 363, 383, 409 new rules needed for, 354–55 secrecy surrounding, 355, 364 see also drone strikes technological change, history of, 264 10th Special Forces Group, 17 terrorists, terrorism, 12, 41, 295, 339 drone strikes on, see drone strikes unconventional tactics of, 120–21 Terry, James, 148 Thirty Years War, 229, 261 Thomas Aquinas, Saint, 185 Thonden, Yodon, 235 3–2 “Stryker” Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, 147 Through the Looking-Glass (Carroll), 287 Tilly, Charles, 217–18, 230 Tokyo, firebombing of, 138, 190, 365 Tokyo tribunals, 192, 193, 215 Too Fat to Fight, 321 Tora Bora, Battle of (2001), 119 torture, 193 Bush administration’s definition of, 58, 199–200, 201–3, 204 legal prohibition on, 200–201 Obama’s banning of, 34 U.S. use of, 33, 58, 60–61, 199–200, 320–21, 322, 363, 410 “Tragedy of the American Military, The” (Fallows), 15 Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), 150 Tripoli, 48, 49 Truman, Harry, 329 Tueller, Matthew, 154–55 Tunis, 48 Turing Test, 139 Turkey, 26 Turse, Nick, 147–48 Twitter, 349 Uganda, 27, 84, 85 author in, 235–36, 237–38, 241 Lord’s Resistance Army in, 176–81, 235–40, 241, 242 Ukraine, 280 high-tech warfare vs. low-tech in, 333 uncertainty, geopolitical: as increased by U.S. counterterrorism actions and legal arguments, 284–89 interconnectedness and, 261–67 rule of law as undermined by, 283 Uniform Code of Military Justice, 197–98, 202 Union Army, 185, 187 United Kingdom, 248 United Nations, 190, 232–33, 262, 365, 366 Dutch peacekeeping troops of, 215, 396 politics and, 192 Responsibility to Protect doctrine and, 247 United Nations Charter, 35, 190, 191–92, 231–32, 233, 250, 251, 290, 339, 342–44, 366 military intervention and, 194–95, 234–35, 243–44, 246, 248–49, 252, 286, 343–44 United Nations General Assembly, 247, 394, 407 United Nations Security Council, 194–95, 215 military intervention and, 234–35, 243–44, 246, 248–49, 252, 286 paralysis of, 291 veto powers in, 289 United States, 234 Barbary pirates and, 47–49 China’s relations with, 349 core values of, 63–64, 100, 101, 203, 295, 353–54 detention and interrogation policies of, 33, 54–61, 276, 284, 355, 363, 410 geopolitical power of, 266–67 hubris of, 97 idealism of, see idealism, American “imminent threat” as defined by, 286–87 increasingly unpredictable behavior of, 284 military of, see military, U.S.

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Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control by Medea Benjamin

airport security, autonomous vehicles, Chelsea Manning, clean water, Clive Stafford Smith, crowdsourcing, drone strike, friendly fire, illegal immigration, Khyber Pass, megacity, nuremberg principles, performance metric, private military company, Ralph Nader, WikiLeaks

Noor Behram, a photographer who is constantly putting his life at risk to photograph the aftermath of drone strikes, agreed. “For every ten to fifteen people killed, maybe they get one militant,” he said.196 The US government prefers to stick to the myth that drone strikes are only killing militants. According to the official story, the tribal areas of Pakistan are infested with militants, shadowy figures planning acts of mass murder in the region’s stark caves and crannies that harbor the world’s worst terrorists—and that these, the worst of the worst, are the only ones being killed. And US officials have been getting away with telling that story, since corporate media outlets are more interested in running unverified government spin as “news” than talking to people on the ground to actually uncover the truth. Like clockwork, after every drone strike purporting to kill a handful of militants, an anonymous US government official speaks to the press, calmly reassuring reporters that only bad people die in America’s drone wars.

“It helped destabilize Somalia and strengthen Al Shabab, which barely existed before the US heavy-handed response to the ICU.” In Iraq and Afghanistan, years of war with high-tech drones did not lead to victories. Regarding drones strikes in Pakistan, counterinsurgency expert David Kilcullen and former Army officer Andrew McDonald Exum wrote in a 2009 opinion piece: “Every one of these dead noncombatants represents an alienated family, a new desire for revenge, and more recruits for a militant movement that has grown exponentially even as the drone strikes have increased.299 They concluded that it would be in the best interest of the American and Pakistani people to declare a moratorium on drone strikes in Pakistan. New York Times reporter David Rohde, emerging from seven months as a Taliban hostage in Afghanistan and Pakistan, wrote that his kidnappers’ hatred for the United States was fueled in part by civilians being killed by drones.300 “To my captors,” he wrote, “they were proof that the United States was a hypocritical and duplicitous power that flouted international law.”

Drone Attacks in Pakistan get Mixed Response,” The Los Angeles Times, May 2, 2010. 191 “Drones Are Successful Tool in War on Terror,” The Wall Street Journal, January 9, 2010. 192 Chris Woods, “Number of CIA Drone Strikes in Pakistan Hits 300,” TBIJ, Oct 14, 2011. 193 Scott Shane, “C.I.A. Claim of No Civilian Deaths From Drones Is Disputed,” The New York Times, August 11, 2011. 194 “The Year of the Drone,” Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative, NewAmerica.net. 195 Chris Woods, “Number of CIA Drone Strikes in Pakistan Hits 300,” TBIJ, October 14, 2011. 196 Saeed Shah and Peter Beaumont, “US Drone Strikes in Pakistan Claiming Many Civilian Victims, says Campaigner,” The Guardian, July 17, 2011. 197 Pir Zubair Shah, Sabrina Tavernise and Mark Mazzetti, “Taliban Leader in Pakistan Is Reportedly Killed,” The New York Times, August 8, 2009. 198 Jane Mayer, “The Risks of the C.I.A.’s Predator Drones,” The New Yorker, October 26, 2009. 199 Carlotta Gall, “Pakistani Militant Chief Is Reported Dead,” The New York Times, June 4, 2011. 200 Salman Masood and David E.

pages: 1,117 words: 305,620

Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield by Jeremy Scahill

active measures, air freight, anti-communist, blood diamonds, business climate, citizen journalism, colonial rule, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, drone strike, failed state, friendly fire, Google Hangouts, indoor plumbing, Islamic Golden Age, Kickstarter, land reform, Mohammed Bouazizi, Naomi Klein, private military company, Project for a New American Century, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, WikiLeaks

See National Security Service Nuhaas, Ibn, 137 Nur, Mohamed Ahmed, 494 Nur, Sheikh Aden Mohamed, 277 Obama, Barack, 169 and Afghanistan, 270, 284 and Afghanistan, surge in, 328–329 and Afghanistan strategy, 282 and African policy, 298 and al Qaeda, 248, 255–257, 294, 320–321 and al Shabab in Somalia, 271–272, 272–273 and AQAP bomb plot against US, 390 and assassination operations, 253 and assassination policy, 353–354 and Awlaki, Anwar, 237–238, 243, 354 and Awlaki, Anwar, hunt for, 401 and Awlaki, Anwar, killing of, 499–500, 501 and Awlaki, Anwar, strikes against, failure of, 314–316, 453–454 and Awlaki, Anwar as top terrorist, 269 and Awlaki, Nasser, letter from, 326–327 and bin Laden at Abbottabad compound, 435, 436, 437, 440, 441, 442–443, 444, 445, 446–447, 449, 450, 451–452 and bin Laden raid, protest over, 458 and Blackwater-CIA-JSOC covert action, in Pakistan, 252–253 and Bush, drone strike policies of, escalation and preservation of, 250, 251 and Bush-era counterterrorism policy, expansion of, 261, 516–517, 520 and Bush-era covert wars, expansion of, 248, 256, 259–260 and Bush-era detention policy, expansion of, 296 and Bush-era torture and detention programs, dismantling of, 248 cabinet selection of, 246 and Cheney, 247, 320 and CIA interrogation and torture/techniques, 245 and CIA-JSOC divide, 350–351 and clandestine action, 282–283 and counterinsurgency, in Afghanistan, 328–329 and counterterrorism policy, 246–247, 249–250, 295–297 and counterterrorism policy, expansion of, 261 and counterterrorism policy, reframing of, 297–298 and counterterrorism policy, SOFs role in, 355 and covert wars, US, 301–302 and Davis incident, 403, 404, 423, 424, 425 and drone program, 515–516 and first annual budget request, 298 foreign policy of, 244–247 and Global War on Terror, 468 and Guantánamo, and Yemeni prisoners, repatriation of, 323 and Guantánamo, and Yemeni prisoners, transfer of, 256, 257–258, 261 and Guantánamo prison break, 254 inauguration of (second term), 513 interrogation policy of, 261 and Israel, and right to defend against missile attacks, 519 and JSOC, 329 and JSOC, and clandestine action, 282 and JSOC, expansion of authority of, 297 and JSOC, in Somalia, 295–296 and JSOC, support for, 355 and JSOC, transformation of, 259 and JSOC-ization of US counterterrorism policy, 350–351 and JSOC operations, intensification of, 350 and JSOC/SOFs, admiration for, 276 and “just war” theory, 353 and kill/capture operations, 245–246 and Maersk Alabama, hijacking of, 274–276 and Majalah massacre, 308 and McCain, 245–246, 256 and McChrystal, resignation of, 349 and Musharraf, 245 Nobel Peace Prize speech of, 301–302 and piracy industry in Somalia, 482–483 Republicans’ attack on, 320–321 and Saleh, Ali Abdullah, 256, 257–258 and secret prisons/black sites, 294, 296, 473 and Shabwani incident, 357–358 and Shaye, 399 and Signature Strikes, 249, 352 and smart war, 515 and SOFs, increased presence of, 354–355 and Somalia, dual-track policy in, 474–475, 476, 477 and spy programs, in Pakistan, 250 and targeted killings/drone strikes, 295–296, 473 and targeted killings/drone strikes, and al Qaeda recruitment, 494 and targeted killings/drone strikes, expansion of, 513–514 and targeted killings/drone strikes, final authority over, 351–352 and targeted killings/drone strikes, in Pakistan, 248–250, 255, 352 and targeted killings/drone strikes, in Yemen, 78 and targeted killings/drone strikes, legality of, 517–518, 519–521 and US citizens, assassination strike against, 314–316, 325–326 and US citizens, assassination strike against, and Awlaki lawsuit against, 369–374, 392 and US embassy bombings, 236, 277 West Point speech of, 301 and Yemen, downplay of US role in, 321–322 and Yemen, expansion of SOFs in, 261–263 and Yemen, focus on, 269, 285–287 and Zinjibar siege, 464 Obama, Michelle, 513 Obama administration and Afghanistan war, 258 and al Qaeda, in Yemen, 268 and AQAP, 321 and clandestine action, 282–283 and detainee policy, legality of, 519 and detainee policy, violation of, 453 and Saleh regime, weakening of, 465 and SOFs, expansion of, 283–284 and Yemen, assistance to, 386 O’Connell, Thomas, 141 Office of Combating Terrorism, 117 Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict, 170 Olson, Eric, 282, 442 Omar, Mullah Mohammed, 167, 174 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (aka Night Stalkers), 51, 443 O’Neill, John, 63 O’Neill, Paul, 13 Operating Base Alpha, 139 Operation Black Hawk, 120–121 Operation Cannonball, 176 Operation Desert Shield, 102 Operation Desert Storm, 102 Operation Eagle Claw, 49, 50, 103 Operation Enduring Freedom, 23, 104 Operation Gothic Serpent, 125 Operation Green Quest, 46, 70 Operation Honey Badger, 49 Operation Infinite Reach, 126 Operation Just Cause, 53 Operation Neptune Spear, 440, 441 Operation Red Dawn, 141 Operation Troy, 499 Oversight, 16–17, 23–24.

Counterterrorism Policy,” Washington Post, October 24, 2012. Epilogue 513 “A decade of war”: Transcript, “Inaugural Address by President Barack Obama,” January 21, 2013. 513 US drone strike: Reuters, “U.S. Drone Strike Kills Four in Yemen: Sources,” January 21, 2013. 513 more people had been killed: According to available estimates, in 2012 drone strikes killed at least 246 people in Pakistan, and at least 185 people in Yemen. In Somalia, there were only two confirmed strikes—although operations in Somalia are especially likely to go underreported—killing at least a dozen people. See Chris Woods, Jack Serle, and Alice K. Ross, “Emerging from the Shadows: US Covert Drone Strikes in 2012,” Bureau of Investigative Journalism, January 3, 2013. As of November 2012, there were 166 people in detention at Guantánamo Bay; see Associated Press, “Report Shows U.S.

The crashed drone was an omen of things to come. As al Qaeda regrouped in Yemen, it began to carry out a series of small-scale actions, primarily in Marib Province, the site of the 2002 US drone strike that killed Harithi, including suicide attacks against oil and gas facilities. In March 2007, they assassinated the chief criminal investigator in Marib, Ali Mahmud al Qasaylah, for his alleged role in the drone strike. In an audiotaped message, Wuhayshi’s deputy, Qasim al Rimi, announced that Wuhayshi was officially the new head of al Qaeda in Yemen. In the message, Rimi vowed the group would continue to take revenge on those responsible for the US drone strike. Two weeks after Rimi’s tape was released, suicide bombers attacked a convoy of Spanish tourists in Marib, killing eight of them, along with two Yemeni drivers. After eighteen months in prison, Awlaki reentered a world in which the US wars he had grown to militantly oppose had spread.

pages: 389 words: 108,344

Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins by Andrew Cockburn

airport security, anti-communist, drone strike, Edward Snowden, friendly fire, Google Earth, license plate recognition, RAND corporation, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, too big to fail, WikiLeaks

The country’s foreign office called it: Manzoor Ali, “Pakistan Furious as U.S. Drone Strike Kills Civilians,” Express Tribune, March 18, 2011. “in a manner consistent…”: Sebastian Abbott, “New Light on Drone War’s Death Toll,” AP Impact, February 26, 2012. “These guys were terrorists”: Tom Wright and Rehmat Mehsud, “Pakistan Slams U.S. Drone Strike,” Wall Street Journal, March 18, 2011. A separate probe by the Associated Press: Abbott, op. cit. Although the positions held by the dead men were now of course vacant: Stanford and NYU Law Schools, op. cit., p. 60. When presented with the tool of a Hellfire-armed Predator: Steve Simon and Dan Benjamin, Age of Sacred Terror (New York: Random House, 2002), p. 345. Soon, visiting dignitaries: Mazzetti, op. cit., p. 6. In 2004, when the CIA sought Pakistani permission to launch drone strikes: Mazzetti, op. cit., p. 103ff.

So, when Sherabat climbed into a car with three of his followers on the morning of March 17 and set off for the jirga, he was under the scrutiny of at least two CIA drones. It would have been feasible to strike the car while en route, and indeed this was a routine drone strike tactic. Just six days earlier, for example, there had been two separate attacks on two cars, one of which had employed another favored CIA drone tactic, the “double tap,” in which a second missile is reserved for rescuers, and had killed eight people. But the targeters at Langley and the pilots in Nevada (CIA drones are flown by air force personnel at Creech Air Force Base) held off. They were awaiting a more lucrative target—the crowd of men converging on the bus depot to which the car was headed. After all, it was an established point of drone-strike doctrine that any “military aged male” (from thirteen up) in the company of terrorists could themselves be deemed a terrorist in the absence of explicit intelligence to the contrary.

“It was like inmate politics,” one official in close touch with the drone program commented to me, “gangs settling scores in the prison yard with knives.” The intense fusillade of drone-launched missiles continued, roughly 1 every 3 days in 2010 (117 overall), but drone strikes declined to half that rate in the following year. Confusingly, although the majority of strikes were now aimed at Pakistan’s allies, the so-called good Taliban at peace with Islamabad while at war in Afghanistan, ISI (Pakistani military intelligence) claimed to a Western journalist in the spring of 2010 that they were supplying the targeting information for all drone strikes. In this Machiavellian environment, ISI, intent on regaining the control of Afghanistan it had lost in 2001, was playing a devious game. “Hitting the Haqqanis and other groups that were allied with Pakistan helped ISI keep them under control,” a former adviser to the U.S. military commanders in Kabul pointed out to me.

pages: 335 words: 82,528

A Theory of the Drone by Gregoire Chamayou

drone strike, failed state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, moral hazard, Necker cube, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, private military company, RAND corporation, telepresence, Yom Kippur War

Elaine Scarry, The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985), 78. 8. Department of Defense, Report to Congress on Future Unmanned Aircraft Systems, April 2012, www.fas.org/irp/program/collect/uas-future.pdf. 9. Chris Woods, “Drone Strikes Rise to One Every Four Days,” Bureau of Investigative Journalism, July 18, 2011, www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2011/07/18/us-drone-strikes-rise-from-one-a-year-to-one-every-four-days. 10. “Obama 2013 Pakistan Drone Strikes,” Bureau of Investigative Journalism, January 3, 2013, www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2013/01/03/obama-2013-pakistan-drone-strikes. 11. “Flight of the Drones: Why the Future of Air Power Belongs to Unmanned Systems,” The Economist, October 8, 2011. 12. Elisabeth Bumiller, “A Day Job Waiting for a Kill Shot a World Away,” New York Times, July 29, 2012.

—Daniel Reisner, former head of the Israeli Defense Forces Legal Department Within what legal framework do drone strikes take place today? Where the United States is concerned, it is impossible to say. Everything is blurred. The administration refuses to reply to the question, even in court.1 A speech given by Harold Koh, legal adviser to the State Department, in 2010 before the American Society of International Law is symptomatic of this calculated opacity. He performs a kind of belly dance, maintaining ambiguity, switching between a variety of registers, using them all at once or in turn but without ever deigning to choose between them, as if he were leaving the final decision until later. In any case, he claims, drone strikes are licit and are undertaken either “in an armed conflict or in legitimate self-defense.”2 But he does not explain exactly which of these the United States is engaged in, nor how the legal standards for the use of lethal force would differ depending on whether they were operating in the first or the second of those two situations.

Now, those two sets of rules are radically different.”3 This artistic blurring has puzzled many jurists.4 They tell politicians they must declare whether it is a matter of war or of legitimate self-defense; they must choose. However, the administration refuses to do that because the consequence of resolving ambiguities in the framework of reference would entail the prohibition of the present drone strikes or would drastically limit their lawfulness. The problem is that those drone strikes are hard to fit into established legal frameworks. For anyone seeking to justify them legally, there are only two possible options—either the law of armed conflicts or else that of law enforcement5 (which can loosely be defined as the law relating to the police, but which can be extended to include “military and security forces operating in contexts where violence exists but falls short of the threshold for armed conflict”).6 To seize upon a first approximation of the difference between those two models, we must consider what it is that distinguishes the prerogatives of a soldier on the battlefield from those of a police officer on patrol when it comes to the use of lethal force.

pages: 455 words: 131,569

Predator: The Secret Origins of the Drone Revolution by Richard Whittle

Berlin Wall, Charles Lindbergh, cuban missile crisis, drone strike, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Google Earth, indoor plumbing, Khyber Pass, Kickstarter, Mikhail Gorbachev, precision agriculture, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Yom Kippur War

The New America Foundation, a think tank that began using open media and what it called “U.S. sources” to track drone strikes beginning in 2004, estimated that the CIA conducted about 50 strikes in Yemen and Pakistan under President George W. Bush and more than 400 during President Barack Obama’s first term, launching 122 in 2010 alone. As many as thirty-three hundred Al Qaeda, Taliban, and other militants were killed as a result, the foundation estimated, including more than fifty senior terrorist leaders. Initially, the CIA drone strikes raised little controversy in the United States, and public opinion polls showed that most Americans supported them. The reaction overseas was very different. Critics contended that drone strikes often killed innocent civilians, an allegation that U.S. officials denied. After a decade of tracking, the New America Foundation reported that unintended casualties from drone strikes had steadily declined over the years, but reliable numbers were unavailable.

“Very frankly, it’s the only game in town in terms of confronting or trying to disrupt the Al Qaeda leadership,” CIA Director Leon Panetta said in May 2009. But over the next couple of years, the debate over the legality and morality of drone strikes heated up and came home. In 2010 the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions denounced U.S. drone strikes and the secrecy surrounding their conduct as an “ill-defined license to kill without accountability.” More Americans expressed misgivings the following year after a drone strike in Yemen killed U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, an Islamic militant said to have aided and abetted Al Qaeda operations, including attempts to explode bombs in airliners in flight. Critics questioned whether it was legal to kill a U.S. citizen in places such as Yemen, which was not at war with the United States, and without affording the person his or her constitutional rights.

What rules should be adopted to avoid collateral damage, especially that which killed or hurt women and children? And how would the CIA and the rest of the government deal with the aftermath of a drone strike that killed bin Laden? “Okay, we’re going to shoot,” he posited. “What comes next? What do we do the next day?” Campbell and his Army officer briefer later held a smaller tabletop for more senior CIA officials and encountered much greater division. Despite the existence of secret presidential orders, findings, and other directives relating to bin Laden and Al Qaeda, Director Tenet was sure his agency lacked the legal authority to kill someone by firing a missile from a drone, a worry others shared. Some in the smaller meeting also expressed concern about what might happen if the CIA’s hand in a drone strike became known. Other meetings about the Predator were held that summer at both the CIA and the White House.

pages: 519 words: 136,708

Vertical: The City From Satellites to Bunkers by Stephen Graham

1960s counterculture, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, Buckminster Fuller, Buy land – they’re not making it any more, Chelsea Manning, Commodity Super-Cycle, creative destruction, deindustrialization, digital map, drone strike, Edward Glaeser, Edward Snowden, energy security, Frank Gehry, ghettoisation, Google Earth, Gunnar Myrdal, high net worth, housing crisis, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, late capitalism, low earth orbit, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, megastructure, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, planetary scale, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-industrial society, Project Plowshare, rent control, Richard Florida, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, Skype, South China Sea, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, trickle-down economics, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, white flight, WikiLeaks, William Langewiesche

There is no escape, nowhere is private.’29 Stanford’s Living Under Drones researchers, meanwhile, have shown that civilians in Pakistan and Afghanistan are reluctant to help those hit by the first strikes because rescuers themselves have often been killed by follow-on drone strikes. Injured relatives in the rubble of the first strike have been known to tell their relatives not to help rescue them because of the frequency of these so-called ‘double-tap’ strikes. People also avoid gathering in groups in visible places. Many children are permanently kept indoors and often no longer go to school. Other children struggle with permanent disabilities caused by drone strikes; many amputees have to use poor-quality prosthetic limbs. One example is Sadaullah Wazir, a teenager and former student from the village of Machi Khel in Mir Ali, North Waziristan. He lost both of his legs and one of his eyes in a September 2009 drone strike on his grandfather’s home. ‘Before the drone strikes started, my life was very good’, he relates to the Stanford team, I used to go to school and I used to be quite busy with that, but after the drone strikes, I stopped going to school now … Two missiles [were] fired at our hujra [home] and three people died.

The image emphasises, above all, how the racist mechanisms through which imperial power constructs humans to be of differential value between a notional ‘us’ in the ‘homeland’ and a threatening and racialised enemy – a ‘them’ – have been switched through drone killing from a largely horizontal to a vertical frame (although one organised though satellites, communications systems and military technologies that are horizontally organised across continental scales).15 One example is Israel’s switch from a permanent military occupation of Gaza to a policy of dominating the area from above through drone surveillance and strikes. Although it is difficult to disentangle Israeli drone strikes from assaults by artillery, helicopters and warplanes, the Gazan human rights group al-Mezan calculates that drone strikes killed at least 760 Gazans between 2006 and 2012.16 During its 2012 ‘Pillar of Defence’ bombardment of Gaza, 36 of the 162 Palestinians killed died through drone strikes, and a further 100 were seriously injured. Of those 36 killed, two-thirds were civilians.17 In analysing such violence, architectural researcher Eyal Weizman invokes Edward Said’s influential critique of the tradition of Western ‘Orientalism’ – the construction of an imaginary, primitive and exotic Other in the Middle East and Asia to justify violent Western colonialism and militarised control.18 Weizman argues, however, that Israel’s approach to Gaza now involves a vertical – rather than a traditionally horizontal – form of Orientalism.

This perspective is combined, however, with an almost complete absence of knowledge about, and media coverage of, those on the ground unlucky enough to get in the way of the Hellfire missiles fired down upon them from the sky.26 In northern Pakistan the mysterious machines flying far above have entered local folklore: the term ‘I will drone you’ has even entered day-to-day conversation as a morbid joke.27 Research efforts are also starting to reveal the impacts of drone strikes on the people and communities below. Like the artists behind #NotABugSplat, Stanford University’s Living Under Drones project has recently challenged the dominant narratives surrounding drone strikes. The Stanford group document in detail the deep psychological trauma of whole communities living with the persistent threat of instant and unknowable death and destruction from usually invisible vehicles far above. Beyond the deaths and injuries they cause, the Stanford team argue, ‘US drone strike policies cause considerable and under-accounted-for harm to the daily lives of ordinary civilians.’ Drones, they continue, hover twenty-four hours a day over communities in northwest Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles, and public spaces without warning.

pages: 339 words: 99,674

Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War by James Risen

air freight, airport security, banking crisis, clean water, drone strike, Edward Snowden, greed is good, illegal immigration, income inequality, large denomination, Occupy movement, pattern recognition, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, Stanford prison experiment, Stuxnet, too big to fail, WikiLeaks

Bush, in fact, Barack Obama has had a love affair with drones. By 2012, the CIA had conducted six times more drone strikes in Pakistan during the three years of the Obama administration than the agency had conducted under the entire eight years of George W. Bush, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a British journalism group that has reported extensively on American drone campaigns in Pakistan and other countries. By May 2013, there had been a total of 368 American drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004, killing between 2,541 and 3,533 people, according to the journalism group. Those figures include between 411 and 884 civilians—with somewhere between 168 and 197 children among them. The vast majority of the drone strikes—316—have been conducted during the Obama administration. The Obama administration acknowledged in 2013 that four American citizens had also been killed in drone strikes overseas, including some who were not intended targets.

The Obama administration acknowledged in 2013 that four American citizens had also been killed in drone strikes overseas, including some who were not intended targets. That admission highlighted the fact that the government was choosing the targets of its drone strikes with secret standards of evidence. There was no legal due process provided to the intended targets, even for American citizens. As the drone strikes have intensified under Obama, international opinion has finally begun to turn against them. In late 2012, for example, a researcher affiliated with the United Nations launched an investigation of the civilian casualties caused by the American drones. “The exponential rise in the use of drone technology in a variety of military and nonmilitary contexts represents a real challenge to the framework of established international law,” said Ben Emmerson, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism.

On March 17, 2011, American drones fired at least two missiles into a gathering in Datta Khel that killed more than forty people. The U.S. government insisted that the drone strike killed a Taliban commander, but villagers later told investigators that the drones had attacked a meeting of local elders gathered to negotiate a dispute over a chromite mine. Many of those killed were men who were both local elders and heads of large families. Their deaths triggered yet another round of anti-American protests in Pakistan. Confusion and angry finger-pointing over the strike reverberated in the United States and Pakistan for a few days, but eventually quieted down. Meanwhile, the drone strikes continued unabated, killing suspected terrorists and civilians alike. The Pentagon and the CIA kept buying more drones, General Atomics kept building them, and Neal Blue kept making money.

pages: 649 words: 172,080

Hunting in the Shadows: The Pursuit of Al Qa'ida Since 9/11: The Pursuit of Al Qa'ida Since 9/11 by Seth G. Jones

airport security, battle of ideas, defense in depth, drone strike, Google Earth, index card, Khyber Pass, medical residency, Murray Gell-Mann, RAND corporation, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, trade route, WikiLeaks

In June 2011, al Qa’ida’s external operations chief, Ilyas Kashmiri, who had advised David Headley, was killed in a drone strike in South Waziristan. In August another drone strike killed Atiyah abd al-Rahman al-Libi, al Qa’ida’s general manager, who served as a conduit between al Qa’ida’s affiliated groups and its leadership. In September 2011 the United States killed Anwar al-Awlaki in northern Yemen. And later in 2011 a drone strike in Pakistan killed Jude Kenan Mohammad, an American who was part of the North Carolina jihad cell that planned attacks against the U.S. Marine base in Quantico, Virginia, but who had fled to Pakistan in late 2008.34 The third wave was over, thanks to several factors. First, the United States had developed a light-footprint approach, where it effectively targeted al Qa’ida leaders like Awlaki. In Pakistan the U.S. increased drone strikes that severely disrupted al Qa’ida’s command and control, hampered communications, decreased morale, limited freedom of movement, and delayed the planning cycle of terrorist operations.

“A lot, if not most, of the injuries resulting from the spy planes are a result of the negligence of the brothers who don’t want to change their lifestyle and abandon simple things that every sane person would try to avoid.”1 The pace of drone strikes had increased under CIA director Leon Panetta. With the support of the White House and Pentagon leadership, CIA officials believed that drone strikes were having a dramatic impact on al Qa’ida. As with most of America’s successful efforts against al Qa’ida since September 11, the drone campaign involved several U.S. intelligence agencies, which recruited human assets in villages, intercepted electronic communications, and analyzed satellite and other imagery. The difference now was that they had improved the ability to pull it all together quickly and fire a missile when an opportunity arose. But the drone strikes were controversial; one Western public opinion poll found that 76 percent of respondents in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas opposed the U.S. drones and only 22 percent supported them.2 Zawahiri probably realized that if central al Qa’ida operatives in Pakistan failed to improve their security and change their procedures, the organization would be eliminated.

As his nom de guerre indicated, he originally hailed from Somalia, and he had advanced in al Qa’ida’s propaganda outfit to head operational planning.14 He was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan in December 2009. As a token of his dedication, Zazi gave Bangash a camera, a laptop, and cash for Somali.15 Zazi, Ahmedzay, and Medunjanin were then transported to an al Qa’ida training camp in South Waziristan. Unlike the expansive training camps in Afghanistan before the September 11 attacks, such as Derunta and al-Farouq, the al Qa’ida camps in Pakistan around this time tended to be small and were not well populated. They were also easier to abandon quickly if there was advance notice of a Pakistani raid or U.S. drone strike. After several days of weapons training, the three men left South Waziristan. For Zazi, the interaction with al Qa’ida operatives and visits to North and South Waziristan had a profound impact, bordering on a religious revelation.

pages: 572 words: 179,024

Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base by Annie Jacobsen

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, drone strike, Maui Hawaii, mutually assured destruction, operation paperclip, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, Project Plowshare, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, uranium enrichment, urban sprawl, zero day

Revealing Ambassador Hull to be the central organizing player in the drone strike exposed the Department of State as having a hand in not just the espionage game but targeted assassination as well. Surprisingly, little fuss was made about any of this, despite the fact that diplomats are supposed to avoid assassination plots. In political circles, Ambassador Hull was greatly embarrassed. He refused to comment on his role in what signaled a sea change in U.S. military assets with wings. The 2002 drone strike in Yemen was the first of its kind in the war on terror, but little did the public know that hundreds more drone strikes would soon follow. The next one went down the very next week, when a Predator targeted and killed al-Qaeda’s number-three, Mohammed Atef, in Jalabad, Afghanistan. As the war on terror progressed, some drone strikes would be official while others would go unmentioned.

Only in 2008 did the drones really come online. During that year, which included the last three weeks of the Bush administration, there were thirty-six drone strikes in Pakistan, which the Air Force said killed 268 al-Qaeda and Taliban. By 2009 the number of drone strikes would rise to fifty-three. Since the Air Force does not release numbers, and the CIA does not comment on being involved, those numbers are approximate best guesses, put together by journalists and researchers based on local reports. Since journalists are not allowed in many parts of the tribal areas in Pakistan, the actual number of drone strikes is unknown. As much publicity as drones are getting today, there is a lot more going on in the skies than the average citizen comprehends. According to T. D. Barnes, “There are at least fifteen satellites and an untold number of Air Force aircraft ‘parked’ over Iraq and Afghanistan, providing twenty-four-hour-a-day coverage for airmen and soldiers on the ground.

Brigadier General Frank Gorenc was remotely viewing: Major John Hutcheson, “Balad Predator Strikes Insurgents Placing Roadside Bomb Near Balad,” Red Tail Flyer, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, Public Affairs, Balad Air Base, Iraq, March 31, 2006, 5. 18. “put a weapon on a target within minutes”: Ibid. 19. By 2009 the number of drone strikes would rise to fifty-three: http://www.longwarjournal.org/pakistan-strikes.php; these numbers vary. Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann are considered the authorities on the subject of drone strikes. The pair keep track of numbers and provide analysis for organizations including New America Foundation and the New Republic magazine. 20. “These are just the assets we know about”: This is because when missiles are fired it is often the work of the CIA, and CIA drone strikes are not made public. As per my interview with Pentagon officials, “That we can’t confirm or deny.” State Department officials also refuse to comment on CIA drone attacks and deflect attempts to get confirmation on the CIA’s role in drone operations.

pages: 517 words: 147,591

Small Wars, Big Data: The Information Revolution in Modern Conflict by Eli Berman, Joseph H. Felter, Jacob N. Shapiro, Vestal Mcintyre

basic income, call centre, centre right, clean water, crowdsourcing, demand response, drone strike, experimental economics, failed state, George Akerlof, Google Earth, HESCO bastion, income inequality, income per capita, information asymmetry, Internet of things, iterative process, land reform, mandatory minimum, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, natural language processing, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, statistical model, the scientific method, trade route, unemployed young men, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey

Nor do they deny terrorist entities the ability to organize and train, as the record from Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, and Afghanistan makes clear. Second, when intelligence fails, drone strikes endanger civilians. All too often a drone strike intended to target a key HVT instead targets a wedding party or other gathering of noncombatants. On 16 March 2017, for example, a 500-pound bomb dropped from a U.S. UAS platform reportedly struck a mosque in Jinah, a village in the Aleppo province of Syria, killing 46 civilians crowded inside. So drone strikes are problematic. They risk incurring civilian casualties, which generate an expected backlash and reduced popular support, which in turn reduces information flow.41 Johnston and Sarbahi are careful to note that they cannot rule out this backlash effect. Third, drone strikes and raids by special forces, by themselves, cannot set up a political solution to an asymmetric conflict the way constructive COIN does because they do not create conditions for government control of territory.

Say you wanted to test whether drone strikes reduced terrorist activity. The drone program is designed to affect a very rare outcome: attacks by al Qaeda and other groups. It might take decades of treatment to accumulate enough attacks to establish a precise statistical relationship. In medical terms the number of doses is large, but it all goes to very few patients actually at risk. Given the small number of places being targeted by the drone program we would simply have an insufficient sample to establish the treatment-control contrast. Moreover, imagine that a particular region, because of some institutional quirk, was allowed a sufficiently high number of randomized drone strikes (treatments) and potential targets that weren’t struck (controls) to generate a precise estimated effect of drone strikes. Could we extrapolate from that region with the quirky institution to infer what we should expect the effect of treatment to be in other places, with different institutions?

Doing so would be like using the relationship between movie ticket sales and house prices in Beverly Hills to understand the broader U.S. real estate market. The third reason is ethical. In medical trials, it is considered unethical to withhold a drug from the control group (i.e., those not receiving it) once one believes the treatment works. The U.S. government is not capacity constrained in drone strikes, at least not once the target is under sufficient surveillance to decide that a strike is worthwhile, and officials do not order strikes unless they strongly believe the target is of high value. Withholding a drone strike for research purposes (or, perish the thought, applying one for research purposes) necessarily fails a basic ethical test.24 So, RCTs are valuable but very often out of the question. If you are unable to conduct experiments, what is your next option? You gather all available knowledge on the situation and seek natural experiments you can use.

pages: 328 words: 100,381

Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State by Dana Priest, William M. Arkin

airport security, business intelligence, dark matter, drone strike, friendly fire, Google Earth, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, immigration reform, index card, Julian Assange, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, WikiLeaks

In Yemen, Obama took advantage of the political void caused by the popular uprising against the regime in June 2011 by secretly ordering a dramatic increase in drone strikes against leaders of the terrorist group there, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The Yemen strikes were considered bold by international legal norms not only because the United States was not at war with Yemen but because, in the absence of a Yemeni government, Obama did not seek its approval. The unilateral move symbolized just how comfortable the new president had become with remote-control warfare. Obama’s unprecedented use of drones began shortly after he took office, when he ordered an increase in lethal drone strikes in Pakistan. The strikes were facilitated by a coordination center set up near the border post not far from Peshawar, where Pakistanis sit alongside U.S. and British intelligence.

The CIA drone operations are handled out of the one north of Las Vegas, Nevada, too, from where the conventional military’s Predators and their newer, more lethal cousin, Reapers, are also flown. The Arizona, California, New York, North Dakota, and Texas Air National Guards now also take part from their home bases. Although those bases are close to civilian cities, too, no secret location speaks more powerfully to the evolution of Top Secret America than the one in Virginia where the managers of the drone strikes sit. Targeted killings—critics call them assassinations—have been conducted by the U.S. government for a decade, and drones have played a large part in the continuation and frequency of such activities. Armed Predators and Reapers have become the weapons of choice for killing individual terrorist leaders in foreign lands. The success of weapon-carrying unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) created a demand within every branch of the military and the CIA for as many of them as their corporate inventor, California-based General Atomics, could produce.

In Yemen, where the government of Ali Abdullah Saleh had agreed to allow the CIA and JSOC to operate, authority was delegated to commanders in the region. In Pakistan, however, in August 2010, after a number of civilians had died in drone attacks and the public there began to grow more vocal in its opposition to them, CIA director Leon Panetta announced that he would personally approve every drone strike. The director’s input had not been required since the first year after 9/11. The CIA process for putting a person on the hit list begins at Langley headquarters. There, analysts and operatives in the Counterterrorism Center (CTC) pore over reports from informants and foreign intelligence services, as well as intercepts from the National Security Agency, whose interpreters and analysts have transformed voice files collected from sensors into English-language transcripts.

pages: 334 words: 82,041

How Did We Get Into This Mess?: Politics, Equality, Nature by George Monbiot

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Alfred Russel Wallace, bank run, bilateral investment treaty, Branko Milanovic, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Attenborough, dematerialisation, demographic transition, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, first-past-the-post, full employment, Gini coefficient, hedonic treadmill, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), investor state dispute settlement, invisible hand, land reform, land value tax, market fundamentalism, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mont Pelerin Society, moral panic, Naomi Klein, Northern Rock, obamacare, oil shale / tar sands, old-boy network, peak oil, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, rent-seeking, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, urban sprawl, wealth creators, World Values Survey

Yet there are no presidential speeches or presidential tears for them; no pictures on the front pages of the world’s newspapers; no interviews with grieving relatives; no minute analysis of what happened and why. If the victims of Mr Obama’s drone strikes are mentioned by the state at all, they are discussed in terms which suggest that they are less than human. The people who operate the drones, Rolling Stone magazine reports, describe their casualties as ‘bug splats’, ‘since viewing the body through a grainy-green video image gives the sense of an insect being crushed’.2 Or they are reduced to vegetation: justifying the drone war, Obama’s counter-terrorism adviser Bruce Riedel explained that, ‘You’ve got to mow the lawn all the time. The minute you stop mowing, the grass is going to grow back.’3 Like Bush’s government in Iraq, Barack Obama’s administration neither documents nor acknowledges the civilian casualties of the CIA’s drone strikes in north-west Pakistan. But a report by the law schools at Stanford and New York universities suggests that during the first three years of his time in office, the 259 strikes for which he is ultimately responsible killed between 297 and 569 civilians, of whom 64 were children.4 These are figures extracted from credible reports: there may be more which have not been fully documented.

See also Fire Brigades Union (FBU); General, Municipal, Boilermakers and Allied Trade Union (GMB); National Farmers’ Union (NFU); National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT); Transport and General Workers’ Union (TGWU) breaking of/smashing of, 218, 220 Gordon Brown government and, 263–7 shaking off of, 190 subsidies and, 121 testing of, 264 and Tories, 265 Unison, 266 Unite, 265 United Kingdom (UK) abortion rate, 74 and age of criminal responsibility, 69 children’s well-being in, 22 consumer debt in, 217 income in, 191 market fundamentalism in, 16 neoliberalism in, 15 pay gap in, 187 taxation in, 276–7 teenage pregnancy rate, 75 wage of care workers in, 185 United States (US) abortion rate, 74 bridge inspections in, 217 cocaine use in, 33 Conservatives in, 288 crime rates in, 161 deaths caused by pollution from coal plants in, 170, 171 demands of blue-collar workers in, 285 and drone strikes. See drone strikes and illegal money transfers, 239 income in, 191, 205, 272 lead withdrawn from petrol, 161 market fundamentalism in, 16 neoliberalism in, 15 productivity in, 191 reforestation in, 97 shift of wealth in, 218 taxation in, 209–12 teenage pregnancy rate, 75 wage of care workers in, 185 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 196 universalism, 285 University of Milan, 11 University of Tasmania, 83 UN Office on Drugs and Crime, 32, 34 upland grazing, 121–2 US Congress, millionaires in, 24 utility, inverse relationship of with reward, 184 V values, importance of in changing political map, 288 van Valkenburgh, Blaire, 89 Verhaeghe, Paul, 14, 15, 17 vertebrate wildlife, loss of, 88 Victorians, 60, 61 Virgil, 120 Virunga national park (Africa), 177 W wages of care workers, 185 redistribution of, 187 Wales coal mining in, 147, 155 livestock farming in, 121 tree-planting grants in, 132 Walking Football, 13 Wallace, Alfred Russell, 234 WalMart, 193 Walton, Izaac, 22, 137 war of every man against every man/war of all against all, 9, 10, 12 Warwick agreement, 265, 267 Warwick University, 50 Washington, George, 230 wealth as ambition, 10–11, 12 correlation between global warming and, 105–6 global wealth, 12, 176 shift of in US, 218 wealth creators, 190, 221, 276 Weekly Standard, 230 Wellcome Trust, 182 Welz, Adam, 204 West Antarctic ice sheet, 176 whale poo, 79, 82, 83 whale pump, 82, 84 whales, as maintaining populations of animals they eat, 82–3 whaling, impact of on Californian condors, 84–5 What About Me?

When his Attorney General, Eric Holder, tried to do so last year, he got himself into a terrible mess, ending with the extraordinary claim that, ‘“Due process” and “judicial process” are not one and the same … the Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.’8 So what is due process if it doesn’t involve the courts? Whatever the president says it is? Er, yes. In the same speech Obama admitted for the first time that four US citizens had been killed by US drone strikes in other countries. In the next sentence he said, ‘I do not believe it would be constitutional for the government to target and kill any US citizen – with a drone, or a shotgun – without due process.’9 This suggests he believes that the legal rights of those four people had been respected before they were killed. Given that they might not even have known that they were accused of the alleged crimes for which they were executed, that they had no opportunities to contest the charges, let alone be granted judge or jury, this suggests that the former law professor’s interpretation of Constitutional rights is somewhat elastic.

pages: 294 words: 82,438

Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World by Donald Sull, Kathleen M. Eisenhardt

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, barriers to entry, Basel III, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, Checklist Manifesto, complexity theory, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, haute cuisine, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Kickstarter, late fees, Lean Startup, Louis Pasteur, Lyft, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, Network effects, obamacare, Paul Graham, performance metric, price anchoring, RAND corporation, risk/return, Saturday Night Live, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Startup school, statistical model, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, transportation-network company, two-sided market, Wall-E, web application, Y Combinator, Zipcar

Consider the case of military drones, where a computer screen can register a bird’s-eye view of even the most remote village, with small figures scrambling to and fro. The human operating a drone has one of the most stressful office jobs imaginable. Deciding whether to pull the trigger on a drone strike is an extremely difficult call, based on imperfect information and often made under extreme time pressure. Every case is a life-or-death situation. Fire and you risk killing innocent civilians, but refrain and you might let a terrorist live to kill others. And even when the target is almost certainly the enemy, every drone strike has geopolitical ramifications, particularly when it encroaches on a foreign government’s sovereignty. There are many factors to consider before pulling that trigger, every one of them momentous, and the person making that decision may only have a split second to decide what to do.

After all, the events are unfolding on the screen in real time. In a 2013 speech, President Barack Obama laid out three rules for deciding whether to launch a drone strike against a specific target. The starting point was the national security, geopolitical, and civilian-safety objectives the president hoped to achieve. Three simple rules translated these broad goals into more concrete guidelines: Does the target pose a continuing and imminent threat to the American people? Are there no other governments capable of effectively addressing the threat? Is there near certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured? Only if the answer to all three of these questions was yes would a drone strike be authorized. The American drone program is shrouded in secrecy, and it is unclear exactly how these simple rules have been used within the chain of decision making.

So only about 9 percent (9 out of 98) of women who test positive for breast cancer actually have it . . . a huge relief for those who test positive. [>] In a 2013 speech: “Out of the Shadows,” Economist, June 1, 2013, http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21578689-barack-obamas-rules-drones-could-shape-new-global-laws-war-out-shadows?frsc=dg|c. [>] In 2013, the year Obama: “Report: Sharp Decline in Confirmed Civilian Casualties by Drone Strikes,” Voice of America, January 21, 2014, http://www.voanews.com/content/report-sharp-decline-in-confirmed-civilian-casualties-by-drone-strikes/1834807.html. [>] The United States has enjoyed: Sarah Kreps and Micah Zenko, “The Next Drone Wars: Preparing for Proliferation,” Foreign Affairs 93 (2014). [>] In the late 1990s: Donald Sull, Fernando Martins, and Andre Delben Silva, “América Latina Logística” (Harvard Business School Case, Cambridge, MA, 2003); Sergio de Azevedo Marques, Privatização do Sistema Ferroviário Brasileiro (Sao Paulo: IPEA, 1996). [>] In the ensuing centuries: John F.

pages: 320 words: 87,853

The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information by Frank Pasquale

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, American Legislative Exchange Council, asset-backed security, Atul Gawande, bank run, barriers to entry, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, bonus culture, Brian Krebs, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chelsea Manning, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, computerized markets, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Debian, don't be evil, drone strike, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, financial innovation, financial thriller, fixed income, Flash crash, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Google Earth, Hernando de Soto, High speed trading, hiring and firing, housing crisis, informal economy, information asymmetry, information retrieval, interest rate swap, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, kremlinology, late fees, London Interbank Offered Rate, London Whale, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, mobile money, moral hazard, new economy, Nicholas Carr, offshore financial centre, PageRank, pattern recognition, Philip Mirowski, precariat, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, regulatory arbitrage, risk-adjusted returns, Satyajit Das, search engine result page, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, social intelligence, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, Steven Levy, the scientific method, too big to fail, transaction costs, two-sided market, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, value at risk, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

Aune, “20+ Places for Public Domain E-Books,” Mashable, November 12, 2007, http://mashable.com /2007/11/12/public-domain-ebook-sources/. 22. Christina Bonnington and Spencer Ackerman, “Apple Rejects App That Tracks U.S. Drone Strikes,” Wired, August 30, 2012, http://www.wired .com /dangerroom /2012/08/drone-app/. 23. Ibid. 24. Nick Wingfield, “Apple Rejects App Tracking Drone Strikes,” New York Times Bits Blog, August 30, 2012, http:// bits.blogs.nytimes.com /2012/08 /30/apple-rejects-app-tracking-drone-strikes/. 25. When he fi nally began listing out every drone strike via Twitter, his tweets sparked sobering conversations about U.S. actions; clearly, there is an appreciative and constructive audience out there for Begley’s work. Michael Kelly, “The NYU Student Tweeting Every Reported U.S. Drone Strike Has Revealed a Disturbing Trend,” Business Insider, December 12, 2012, http://www.businessinsider.com /us-drone -tweets-reveal-double -tap -plan-2012-12. 26.

Drone Strike Has Revealed a Disturbing Trend,” Business Insider, December 12, 2012, http://www.businessinsider.com /us-drone -tweets-reveal-double -tap -plan-2012-12. 26. Bonnington and Ackerman, “Apple Rejects App That Tracks U.S. Drone Strikes.” 27. Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, “After 5 Rejections, Apple Accepts App That Tracks U.S. Drone Strikes,” Mashable, February 7, 2014, http://mashable .com /2014 /02/07/apple-app-tracks-drone-strikes/. 248 NOTES TO PAGES 63–64 28. Benjamin Poynter, in an interview with GameScenes (transcript posted Oct. 2012). Available at http://www.gamescenes.org/2012/10/interview.html. On persuasive gaming generally, see Ian Bogost, Persuasive Games (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007). 29. Yves Smith, “Wired’s Embarrassing Whitewash of Foxconn,” Naked Capitalism (blog), February 8, 2012, http://www.nakedcapitalism.com /2012/02 /wireds-embarrassing-whitewash-of-foxconn.html. 30.

But the content of Begley’s app was news stories, quoted and plotted on a map. 24 Apple has approved plenty of apps that describe and depict the destruction reported in the news, so that rationale is hard to swallow.25 Despite national publicity criticizing the decision, Apple held firm for two years.26 After five rejections, Begley finally got the app included in the store in 2014 by removing the word “drone” from its name and description, rechristening it Metadata+.27 Whether those interested in tracking drone strikes can fi nd his app without its using the term “drone” is anyone’s guess. In a Permanent Save State. Artist Benjamin Poynter submitted his In a Permanent Save State as a “persuasive gaming” app, a form of combined entertainment, provocation, and instruction.28 It offered an interactive narrative inspired by the suicides of workers at Apple supplier Foxconn’s plant, which had taken an enormous public relations toll on Apple the year before.29 Poynter intended Permanent Save State to highlight the dark contrast between Apple’s dream machines and nightmarish conditions in its supply chain.

pages: 407

Disrupt and Deny: Spies, Special Forces, and the Secret Pursuit of British Foreign Policy by Rory Cormac

anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, colonial rule, currency manipulation / currency intervention, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Etonian, illegal immigration, land reform, Malacca Straits, Mikhail Gorbachev, private military company, Ronald Reagan, Stuxnet, trade route, union organizing, WikiLeaks, Yom Kippur War

The government denies having a ‘targeted killing’ policy, but senior parliamentarians have pointed to a ‘policy to use lethal force abroad outside armed conflict for counterterrorism purposes’.107 Despite SIS officers long opposing assassination, they faced a difficult conundrum in Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan. Intelligence that they, GCHQ, and special forces supplied to America was being used to target drone strikes. GCHQ supplied in-depth surveillance of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, the area of Pakistan most hit by US drone strikes, including coverage of satellite telephone communications. It also provided tactical intelligence to support military operations there. This, GCHQ noted, was an imminent and high priority.108 Critics have asked similar questions about British intelligence enabling drone strikes in Somalia too.109 That said, clear procedures were in place to ensure that British intelligence did not aid unacceptable operations. SIS met with other intelligence agencies, notably the CIA and Mossad, in advance of sharing its intelligence and stipulated that if lethal force were to be used then it had to meet British, rather than looser American or Israeli, criteria.

David Leppard, ‘GCHQ Finds Al-Qaeda for American Strikes,’ The Sunday Times, 25/7/10; Alice Ross and James Ball, ‘GCHQ Documents Raise Fresh Questions over UK Complicity in US Drone Strikes,’ The Guardian, 24/6/15. 109. See, for example, JL Mombasa, ‘A Very British Execution?,’ The Economist, 25/6/12. 110. Private information. 111. Quoted in Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘UK Special Forces and MI6 Involved in Yemen Bombing, Report Reveals’, The Guardian, 11/4/16. 112. Private information. 113. Namir Shabibi and Jack Watling, ‘Britain’s Covert War in Yemen: A Vice News Investigation’, Vice News, 7/4/16. 114. Alice Ross and James Ball, ‘GCHQ Documents Raise Fresh Questions over UK Complicity in US Drone Strikes’, The Guardian, 24/4/15; Scahill, The Assassination Complex, pp.118–19. 115. Alice Ross and James Ball, ‘GCHQ Documents Raise Fresh Questions over UK Complicity in US Drone Strikes’, The Guardian, 24/4/15. 116. Namir Shabibi and Jack Watling, ‘Britain’s Covert War in Yemen: A Vice News Investigation’, Vice News, 7/4/16. 117.

GCHQ also monitored fixed locations and tracked movements in and out of buildings, corroborating identities with other forms of visual intelligence such as clothing or gait. By 2010, and at the request of the National Security Agency (NSA), Overhead turned its attention to Yemen. It appears that intelligence from GCHQ and Overhead was instrumental in tracking and targeting two terrorists, one of whom was a doctor specializing in surgically implanted explosives. A CIA drone strike killed both in March 2012.114 Later in the same year, the family of a tribal elder killed by a drone strike in Pakistan launched a legal case against the British government accusing GCHQ officers of accessory to murder. Judges refused to rule, fearing that doing so could harm Britain’s international relations.115 At the same time, special forces from Britain’s Special Reconnaissance Regiment trained Yemeni paramilitary forces in counter-terrorism.The head of the Yemeni unit described the British trainers as highly secretive, having prevented their students from taking photos or mentioning names.

pages: 383 words: 105,021

Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War by Fred Kaplan

Cass Sunstein, computer age, data acquisition, drone strike, dumpster diving, Edward Snowden, game design, hiring and firing, index card, Internet of things, Jacob Appelbaum, John Markoff, John von Neumann, kremlinology, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, national security letter, packet switching, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, Stuxnet, uranium enrichment, Y2K, zero day

., 215–16 Nunn, Sam, 46–47, 51, 59, 199 critical infrastructure hearings of, 47–48 Obama, Barack, 186, 187, 197–98, 201, 249, 259, 304n–5n Bush’s Stuxnet briefing of, 203 Chinese cyber attacks and, 221–28, 235 and cyber attack on Sony, 270–71 cyber security as priority of, 200–201 drone strikes supported by, 208 “Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity” executive order of, 274 intelligence review panel appointed by, see President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communication Technologies PPD-20 of, 217–20, 228, 314n–15n Stuxnet and, 203, 208–9, 210, 212 terrorism as priority of, 197–98 Xi’s summits with, 228–29, 308n Obama administration: cyber warfare and, 3–4 metadata “white paper” of, 238 Odom, William, 26, 28 Office of Technology Assessment, U.S., 43 Oklahoma City bombing, 39, 40, 89, 175 Olympic Games, Operation, see Stuxnet Orchard, Operation, 161 Pace, Peter, 211 Pacific Command, U.S., 67, 80 Pacific Gas & Electric, 52–53 Pakistan, U.S. drone strikes in, 201, 208 Paladin Capital Group, 233 Paltalk, PRISM and, 247 Panetta, Leon, as defense secretary, 220 Parkes, Walter, 9–10, 32 passwords, 82, 136 Patriot Act (2001), 192 Section 215 of, 245–46, 252–53, 261–63 Section 505 of, 254 sunset clause in, 261–63 Paulson, Henry, 174, 175 PDD-39 (“U.S.

(When the Secret Service demanded that he give up his BlackBerry for security reasons, Obama resisted; as a compromise, the NSA Information Assurance Directorate built him a one-of-a-kind BlackBerry, equipped with state-of-the-art encryption, shielding, and a few other highly classified tricks.) And he was the first president whose campaign records had been hacked by a foreign power. Obama understood the stakes. But something else stirred his concerns. A few days before inauguration day, President Bush had briefed him on two covert operations that he hoped Obama would continue. One concerned secret drone strikes against al Qaeda militants in Pakistan. The other involved a very tightly held, astonishingly bold cyber offensive campaign—code-named Operation Olympic Games, later known as Stuxnet—to delay and disable what seemed to be a nuclear weapons program in Iran. Coming so soon after Mike McConnell’s briefing on America’s vulnerability to cyber attacks, this disclosure switched on a different light bulb from the one that had flashed in the heads of presidents, senior officials, and advisers who’d been exposed to the subject in the decades before.

From the outset of his presidency, Obama articulated, and usually followed, a philosophy on the use of force: he was willing to take military action, if national interests demanded it and if the risks were fairly low; but unless vital interests were at stake, he was averse to sending in thousands of American troops, especially given the waste and drain of the two wars he inherited in Afghanistan and Iraq. The two secret programs that Bush pressed him to continue—drone strikes against jihadists and cyber sabotage of a uranium-enrichment plant in Iran—fit Obama’s comfort zone: both served a national interest, and neither risked American lives. Once in the White House, Obama expressed a few qualms about the plan: he wanted assurances that, when the worm infected the Natanz reactor, it wouldn’t also put out the lights in nearby power plants, hospitals, or other civilian facilities.

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Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World by Bruce Schneier

23andMe, Airbnb, airport security, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, augmented reality, Benjamin Mako Hill, Black Swan, Boris Johnson, Brewster Kahle, Brian Krebs, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, congestion charging, disintermediation, drone strike, Edward Snowden, experimental subject, failed state, fault tolerance, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, Firefox, friendly fire, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hindsight bias, informal economy, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, license plate recognition, lifelogging, linked data, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, moral panic, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, national security letter, Network effects, Occupy movement, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, payday loans, pre–internet, price discrimination, profit motive, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, RFID, Ross Ulbricht, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, South China Sea, stealth mode startup, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, TaskRabbit, telemarketer, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, undersea cable, urban planning, WikiLeaks, zero day

tasteless Facebook post: British Broadcasting Corporation (4 Jun 2014), “Man jailed for offensive Ann Maguire Facebook post,” BBC News, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-27696446. US military targets drone strikes: Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald (10 Feb 2014), “The NSA’s secret role in the U.S. assassination program,” Intercept, https://firstlook.org/theintercept/article/2014/02/10/the-nsas-secret-role. Cori Crider (4 Mar 2014), “Killing in the name of algorithms,” Al Jazeera, http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/3/drones-big-data-waronterrorobama.html. The second is “signature strikes”: John Kaag and Sarah Kreps (2014), Drone Warfare, Wiley, chap. 12, http://books.google.com/books?id=I8oOBAAAQBAJ. half of all kills were signature strikes: Richard Engel and Robert Windrem (5 Jun 2013), “CIA didn’t always know who it was killing in drone strikes, classified documents show,” NBC News, http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06/05/18781930-cia-didnt-always-know-who-it-was-killing-in-drone-strikes-classified-documents-show.

The NSA collects cell phone location data from a variety of sources: the cell towers that phones connect to, the location of Wi-Fi networks that phones log on to, and GPS location data from Internet apps. Two of the NSA’s internal databases, code-named HAPPYFOOT and FASCIA, contain comprehensive location information of devices worldwide. The NSA uses the databases to track people’s movements, identify people who associate with people of interest, and target drone strikes. The NSA can allegedly track cell phones even when they are turned off. I’ve just been talking about location information from one source—your cell phone— but the issue is far larger than this. The computers you interact with are constantly producing intimate personal data about you. It includes what you read, watch, and listen to. It includes whom you talk to and what you say. Ultimately, it covers what you’re thinking about, at least to the extent that your thoughts lead you to the Internet and search engines.

Police arrested him for the crime; his defense was that it was a parody and that no actual alcohol was consumed on the video. It’s worse in the UK. There, people have been jailed because of a racist tweet or a tasteless Facebook post. And it’s even more extreme in other countries, of course, where people are routinely arrested and tortured for things they’ve written online. Most alarming of all, the US military targets drone strikes partly based on their targets’ data. There are two types of drone targeting. The first is “targeted killing,” where a known individual is located by means of electronic or other surveillance. The second is “signature strikes,” where unidentified individuals are targeted on the basis of their behavior and personal characteristics: their apparent ages and genders, their location, what they appear to be doing.

pages: 448 words: 117,325

Click Here to Kill Everybody: Security and Survival in a Hyper-Connected World by Bruce Schneier

23andMe, 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, Brian Krebs, business process, cloud computing, cognitive bias, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Heinemeier Hansson, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, Firefox, Flash crash, George Akerlof, industrial robot, information asymmetry, Internet of things, invention of radio, job automation, job satisfaction, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, license plate recognition, loose coupling, market design, medical malpractice, Minecraft, MITM: man-in-the-middle, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, national security letter, Network effects, pattern recognition, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, ransomware, Rodney Brooks, Ross Ulbricht, security theater, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart transportation, Snapchat, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Stuxnet, The Market for Lemons, too big to fail, Uber for X, Unsafe at Any Speed, uranium enrichment, Valery Gerasimov, web application, WikiLeaks, zero day

It does not prevent any websites you visit from tracking you. 59Already, all new Toyota cars track speed: Hans Greimel (6 Oct 2015), “Toyota unveils new self-driving safety tech, targets 2020 autonomous drive,” Automotive News, http://www.autonews.com/article/20151006/OEM06/151009894/toyota-unveils-new-self-driving-safety-tech-targets-2020-autonomous. 59In 2015, John Deere told: Dana Bartholomew (2015), “Long comment regarding a proposed exemption under 17 U.S.C. 1201,” Deere and Company, https://copyright.gov/1201/2015/comments-032715/class%2021/John_Deere_Class21_1201_2014.pdf. 60Apple censored apps that tracked: Stuart Dredge (30 Sep 2015), “Apple removed drone-strike apps from App Store due to ‘objectionable content,’” Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/sep/30/apple-removing-drone-strikes-app. Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai (28 Mar 2017), “Apple just banned the app that tracks U.S. drone strikes again,” Vice Motherboard, https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/538kan/apple-just-banned-the-app-that-tracks-us-drone-strikes-again. 60“content that ridicules public figures”: Jason Grigsby (19 Apr 2010), “Apple’s policy on satire: 16 apps rejected for ‘ridiculing public figures,’” Cloudfour, https://cloudfour.com/thinks/apples-policy-on-satire-16-rejected-apps. 60in 2017, Apple removed security apps: Telegraph Reporters (31 Jul 2017), “Apple removes VPN apps used to evade China’s internet censorship,” Telegraph, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/07/31/apple-removes-vpn-apps-used-evade-chinas-internet-censorship. 60Google has also banned an app: AdNauseam (5 Jan 2017), “AdNauseam banned from the Google Web Store,” https://adnauseam.io/free-adnauseam.html. 61“Some of us have pledged our allegiance”: Bruce Schneier (26 Nov 2012), “When it comes to security, we’re back to feudalism,” Wired, https://www.wired.com/2012/11/feudal-security. 61Companies owning fleets of autonomous cars: Judith Donath (16 Nov 2017), “Uber-FREE: The ultimate advertising experience,” Medium, https://medium.com/@judithd/the-future-of-self-driving-cars-and-of-advertising-will-be-promoted-rides-free-transportation-b5f7acd702d4. 62Because the machines use software: After years of refusing to allow consumers to use refillable pods, Keurig now allows consumers to use any coffee they want, as long as they buy a special add-on.

Apple maintains strict control over which apps are available in its store. Before an app can be sold or given away to iPhone customers, it has to be approved by Apple. And the company has some strict rules about what it will and won’t allow. No porn, of course, and no games about child labor or human trafficking—but also no political apps. This latter rule meant that Apple censored apps that tracked US drone strikes and apps containing “content that ridicules public figures.” Such restrictions put Apple in a position to be able to implement government censorship demands. And it has done so: in 2017, Apple removed security apps from its China store. Apple is an extreme example, but it’s not the only company that censors your Internet. Facebook regularly censors posts, images, and entire websites. YouTube censors videos.

While it might be technically true that human judges make bail decisions, if they all do what the algorithm recommends because they believe the algorithm is less biased, then the algorithm is as good as autonomous. Similarly, if a doctor never contradicts an algorithm that makes decisions about cancer surgery—possibly out of fear of a malpractice suit—or if an army officer never contradicts an algorithm that makes decisions about where to target a drone strike, then those algorithms are as good as autonomous. Inserting a human into the loop doesn’t count unless that human actually makes the call. The risks in all of these cases are considerable. Algorithms can be hacked. Algorithms are executed using software, and—as I discussed in Chapter 1—software can be hacked. All the examples in the previous chapters are the result of hacking software. Algorithms require accurate inputs.

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The Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities by John J. Mearsheimer

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Ayatollah Khomeini, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, Clive Stafford Smith, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, failed state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, global village, Gunnar Myrdal, invisible hand, laissez-faire capitalism, liberal world order, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, Peace of Westphalia, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, Steven Pinker, Ted Kaczynski, Thomas L Friedman, transaction costs

,” Times Literary Supplement, June 28, 2017. 92. Micah Zenko, “How Barack Obama Has Tried to Open Up the One-Sided Drone War,” Financial Times, May 23, 2013. Writing in January 2016, Zenko says: “Whereas President George W. Bush authorized approximately 50 drone strikes that killed 296 terrorists and 195 civilians in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia, Obama has authorized 506 strikes that have killed 3,040 terrorists and 391 civilians.” Micah Zenko, “Obama’s Embrace of Drone Strikes Will Be a Lasting Legacy,” New York Times, January 12, 2016. Also see Micah Zenko, “Do Not Believe the U.S. Government’s Official Numbers on Drone Strike Civilian Casualties: It’s Way, Way Too Low,” Foreign Policy, July 5, 2016; “Get the Data: Drone Wars,” The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, September 13, 2016, https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/category/projects/drones/drones-graphs/. 93.

The deep affection for secrecy shown by both the Bush and Obama administrations is not surprising in light of their illegal or at least questionable surveillance of American citizens, which they tried to hide from the public, Congress, and the courts.74 This is one reason President Obama was so determined to punish Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, and more generally why he went to war with unprecedented fervor against reporters and whistleblowers.75 He also went to great lengths to disguise how deeply involved the United States was in the Syrian civil war, and to divulge as little information as possible about drone strikes. Obama was given to claiming that he ran “the most transparent administration in history.”76 If true, the credit should go to the reporters and whistleblowers who defied his deep commitment to government secrecy. Another harmful consequence of a highly interventionist foreign policy is that it gives leaders numerous occasions to lie, or at least distort the truth, when trying to motivate the public to support military action abroad.

So Obama and his advisors apparently decided instead to assassinate suspected enemy combatants wherever they were found.90 While it is surely easier to kill suspects than bring them to Guantanamo and perpetuate its legal morass, the effects of this new policy may be even more poisonous. Drones, of course, play a central role in these assassinations. Obama had a kill list known as the “disposition matrix,” and every Tuesday there was a meeting in the White House—it was called “Terror Tuesday”—where the next victims were selected.91 The extent to which the Obama administration bought into this strategy is reflected in the distribution of drone strikes between November 2002, when they began, and May 2013. Micah Zenko reports that there were “approximately 425 non-battlefield targeted killings (more than 95 percent by drones). Roughly 50 took place during Mr. Bush’s tenure, and 375 (and counting) under Mr. Obama’s.”92 As the journalist Tom Engelhardt writes, “Once upon a time, off-the-books assassination was generally a rare act of state that presidents could deny.

pages: 306 words: 79,537

Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World (Politics of Place) by Tim Marshall

9 dash line, Admiral Zheng, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, California gold rush, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, drone strike, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Hans Island, Kickstarter, LNG terminal, market fragmentation, megacity, Mercator projection distort size, especially Greenland and Africa, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, Nelson Mandela, oil shale / tar sands, Scramble for Africa, South China Sea, trade route, transcontinental railway, Transnistria, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, zero-sum game

Things became so bad that the Pakistani military and government ended up having to give the United States military intelligence and coordinates allowing the United States to conduct drone strikes against Pakistani Taliban targets in the North-West Frontier. At the same time, when the strikes became apparent, Islamabad had to pretend to condemn them and describe them as a violation of Pakistani sovereignty due to the hundreds of civilian deaths attributed to mistakes by the United States. The drones were mostly flown out of a base in Afghanistan, but some are thought to have been launched from a secret base inside Pakistan. Wherever they came from, there were a lot of them. Drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan massively increased during the Obama presidency from the numbers fired during George Bush’s tenure. By the spring of 2015 things had got even tougher.

But it also means the United States needs to keep good relations with whichever country it receives permission from to house the regional drone HQ. This is a reminder of the conceptual map of US power required to fully understand geopolitics today. For example, the signal sent from Nevada may need to travel through an underwater cable to Germany and then be sent up to a satellite belonging to a third country that sells bandwidth to the Pentagon. Drone strikes are also subject to rules of engagement, but have been used to devastating effect against individual targets. They made a huge contribution to the situation the Islamic State found itself in during the summer of 2015, when it had lost several thousand square miles of territory in Iraq even though it still controlled large swaths of the Sunni-dominated regions of the country. Sunni Islamist fighters from across the globe, drawn like moths to the light of a billion pixels, have taken advantage of the three-way split between the Kurds, Sunni, and Shia in Iraq.

Pakistan cooperated, and that was that. Except—they hadn’t fully cooperated, and that wasn’t that. Islamabad was forced to act, and did; but not everyone in the Pakistani system was on board. The government banned several militant groups and tried to rein in religious groups it deemed extremist. By 2004 it was involved militarily against groups in the North-West Frontier and privately accepted the American policy of drone strikes on its territory while publicly decrying them. These were tough decisions. The Pakistan military and the ISI had to turn on the very Taliban leaders they had trained and formed friendships with in the 1990s. The Taliban groups reacted with fury, seizing complete control of several regions in the tribal areas. Musharraf was the target of three failed assassination attempts, his would-be successor, Benazir Bhutto, was murdered, and amid the chaos of bombing campaigns and military offensives, up to fifty thousand Pakistani civilians have been killed.

pages: 394 words: 117,982

The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age by David E. Sanger

active measures, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, British Empire, call centre, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, computer age, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Jacob Appelbaum, John Markoff, Mark Zuckerberg, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mutually assured destruction, RAND corporation, ransomware, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, undersea cable, uranium enrichment, Valery Gerasimov, WikiLeaks, zero day

Meanwhile the Pentagon, sensing Trump’s willingness to demonstrate overwhelming American force in cyberspace as in other military arenas, published a new strategy, envisioning an era of constant, low-level cyber conflict in which America’s newly minted cyber warriors would go deep behind enemy lines every day, attacking foreign computer servers before threats to the United States could materialize. The idea was classic preemption, updated for the cyber age, to “stop attacks before they penetrate our cyber defenses or impair our military forces.” Other proposals suggested the president should no longer have to approve every cyber strike—any more than he would have to approve every drone strike. In the chaos of the Trump White House, it was unclear how these weapons would be used, or under what rules. But suddenly we are in new territory. * * * — Cyber conflict remains in the gray area between war and peace, an uneasy equilibrium that often seems on the brink of spinning out of control. As the pace of attacks rises, our vulnerability becomes more apparent each day: in the opening months of 2018, the federal government warned utilities that Russian hackers had put “implants” of malware in the nation’s nuclear plants and power grid and then, a few weeks later, added that they were infesting the routers that control the networks of small enterprises and even individual homes.

In doing so, he gradually lifted the secrecy surrounding the use of drones so that the world could understand whether they were hitting terrorists, and when they went awry and killed children or wedding guests. Cyberweapons were different. The government would barely admit to owning them, much less talk about the rules for when and why it used them. But the issues were very similar; just as investigative reporting about the unintended costs of drone strikes had forced the debate about unmanned weapons, my editors and I felt a journalistic imperative to explain to readers how the government was embracing cyberweapons that could ultimately be turned against our homeland. Olympic Games had opened the door to a new dimension of warfare that no one fully understood. The only thing that was clear was that there would be no backpedaling. When Michael Hayden, who had been central to the early days of America’s experimentation with cyberweapons, said that the Stuxnet code had “the whiff of August 1945” about it—a reference to the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki—he was making clear that a new era had dawned.

This was the road map for going to war with Iran, either because negotiations over its nuclear program failed or because Iran lashed out, perhaps in response to an Israeli bombing strike. Cyber Command’s piece of the puzzle was to contribute to an operation named Nitro Zeus. It was a plan—using cyber and other methods—to shut down the entire country, preferably without firing a shot. If Olympic Games was the cyber equivalent of a targeted drone strike on Iran, Nitro Zeus was a full-scale attack. * * * — Paul Nakasone’s first encounter with computing was not exactly an inspirational Silicon Valley tale of discovery and invention. “It was 1986, and I bought a PCjr,” he recalled. Nakasone was a college student at St. John’s University, a small gem of a school on a beautiful lake in a remote part of Minnesota, so remote that the ability to connect to the outside world meant everything.

pages: 708 words: 176,708

The WikiLeaks Files: The World According to US Empire by Wikileaks

affirmative action, anti-communist, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Boycotts of Israel, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, central bank independence, Chelsea Manning, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, drone strike, Edward Snowden, energy security, energy transition, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, experimental subject, F. W. de Klerk, facts on the ground, failed state, financial innovation, Food sovereignty, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of journalism, high net worth, invisible hand, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, liberal world order, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, Mohammed Bouazizi, Monroe Doctrine, Nelson Mandela, Northern Rock, Philip Mirowski, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, statistical model, structural adjustment programs, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game, éminence grise

Worth, “Sergeant Tells of Plot to Kill Iraqi Detainees,” New York Times, July 28, 2006; “US Won’t Let Men Flee Fallujah,” Associated Press, November 13, 2004. 65Jo Becker and Scott Shane, “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will,” New York Times, May 29, 2012. See also Chris Woods, “Analysis: Obama Embraced Redefinition of ‘Civilian’ in Drone Wars,” Bureau of Investigative Journalism, May 29, 2012, at thebureauinvestigates.com; and Glenn Greenwald, “‘Militants’: Media Propaganda,” Salon, May 29, 2012, at salon.com. 66Spencer Ackerman, “41 Men Targeted but 1,147 People Killed: US Drone Strikes—The Facts on the Ground,” Guardian, November 24, 2014; “US Drone Strikes Kill 28 Unknown People for Every Intended Target, New Reprieve Report Reveals,” Reprieve press release, November 24, 2014. 67Madelyn Hsiao-Rei Hicks, Hamit Dardagan, Gabriela Guerrero Serdán, Peter M. Bagnall, John A. Sloboda, and Michael Spagat, “The Weapons That Kill Civilians—Deaths of Children and Noncombatants in Iraq, 2003–2008,” New England Journal of Medicine 360: 1,585–1,588 (April 16, 2009). 68Quoted in Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, Understanding Al Qaeda: The Transformation of War (London/Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press, 2007), p. 43. 69https://wikileaks.org/wiki/Classified_U.S_report_into_the_Fallujah _assult; https://wikileaks.org/wiki/Complex_Environments:_Battle_of_Fallujah_I,_April_2004. 70Global Policy Forum, “War and Occupation in Iraq,” June 2007, at globalpolicy.org. 71Martin Shaw, The New Western Way of War (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2005). 72For example, the prison’s oldest detainee, Mohammed Sadiq, was eighty-nine when detained.

Saleh offered the United States an “open door,” the cables show, while he and his subordinates joked in meetings with General David Petraeus that he had lied to the public by claiming that the strikes were exclusively the work of the Yemeni government. In reality, the popular opposition to Saleh’s regime, which it described as “terrorist,” was broad and diverse, and partly based on tribal opposition to the centralized nature of his rule, while US strikes routinely caused harm way beyond their al-Qaeda target. And as the Yemeni struggle against the regime intensified, so did the drone strikes. For example, in June 2011 alone, a major upsurge in the rate of air strikes in the province of Abyan killed over 130 people and created 40,000 refugees.46 Among Washington’s other repressive responses to the Arab Spring was the support it gave to Saudi Arabia’s invasion of Bahrain to suppress democratic dissidents. While public statements from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama called for “restraint” as the Bahraini ruling monarchy initiated the bloodshed, private briefings suggested that they were more concerned with stability than democracy.

When the US launched its assault on Fallujah in November 2004, it encouraged Iraqi civilians to flee before the bombing began—but prohibited all males estimated to be in this age range from escaping. Newsweek reported in 2006 that it had become common for US troops to treat all “military-age men” in Iraq as enemies. Later it emerged that soldiers charged with committing war crimes in Baghdad alleged that they had been given orders to “kill all military-age men.”64 More recently, the Obama administration used this category adroitly to misrepresent its drone strikes as attacks largely on “militants.” In an extraordinary, lengthy article in the New York Times, based on interviews with dozens of Obama’s advisers, it was revealed that Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.

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The 99.998271% by Simon Wood

banking crisis, clean water, drone strike, equal pay for equal work, Julian Assange, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Steve Jobs, WikiLeaks

Imagine the following scenario - your 11-year-old daughter stays overnight at her friend’s house, which happens to be in a small apartment block. Consider also that, unknown to you, the CIA has identified it as a target. A predator drone delivers destruction and one more terrorist is history. Unfortunately, so is your daughter. And her friend. And her friend’s family. The media will report the news the next day in the following way - “A medium-level terrorist target was killed last night in a predator drone strike. Seven other casualties were reported.” And that is that. How would you react? This might (currently) be only a hypothetical nightmare for anyone living in a develope country, but for the people living in villages in northwest Pakistan, it is a reality. Believe it or not, those ‘strange’ people living there are actually real people with families, friends, feelings, senses of humor, and hopes for the future just like anyone else.

The intended target of the strike escaped unhurt, although he was later killed in another strike. Like Westerners, these foreigners also become rather upset and angry when someone drops a huge bomb on their children, even to the extent that they may swear revenge (or the preferred media word, jihad) against the perpetrator of the action. Anyone swearing revenge against the United States will by definition be designated a terrorist, a new target for the next drone strike. And so the cycle continues. Forever. Philip Alston, the UN investigator on extra-judicial killings, has said that these actions may constitute illegal assassinations and violate international law. The strategic usefulness of these strikes or otherwise is beside the point, as is whether one agrees or disagrees with the use of such a weapon. The essential point is that this program, which may well violate international law, and has killed thousands of civilians, is being run in near complete secrecy and completely beyond the control of the American people.

pages: 357 words: 94,852

No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need by Naomi Klein

Airbnb, basic income, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Brewster Kahle, Celebration, Florida, clean water, collective bargaining, Corrections Corporation of America, desegregation, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy transition, financial deregulation, greed is good, high net worth, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, income inequality, Internet Archive, Kickstarter, late capitalism, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, mass incarceration, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral panic, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, new economy, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open borders, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, private military company, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, sexual politics, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transatlantic slave trade, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, urban decay, women in the workforce, working poor

Above all, Trump extended the equation of wealth with magical powers to members of his own dynastic family, bestowing on son-in-law Jared Kushner (a real estate developer born a multimillionaire) a portfolio so overstuffed with weighty responsibilities it rapidly became a media joke. Tallying up the duties so far—brokering Middle East peace, planning the Mar-a-Lago summit with China, monitoring US activities in Iraq, ordering drone strikes on Yemen, making government run more like a business—New York Times columnist Frank Bruni wondered, “Why don’t we just stitch him a red cape, put him in spandex, affix a stylized ‘S’ to his chest and be done with it? SuperJared has taken flight.” It would be reassuring if we could pin this billionaire-as-savior complex on Trump’s Twitter-addled brain, or on his advisers at the Heritage Foundation, with their Ayn Randian worship of “free enterprise” and men who build tall things.

The Shock of War The most lethal way that governments overreact to terrorist attacks is by exploiting the atmosphere of fear to embark on a full-blown foreign war. It doesn’t necessarily matter if the target has no connection to the original terror attacks. Iraq wasn’t responsible for 9/11, and it was invaded anyway. Trump’s likeliest targets are mostly in the Middle East, and they include (but are by no means limited to) the following: Syria; Yemen, where Trump has already increased the number of drone strikes; Iraq, where deadly strikes with high civilian casualties are also on the rise; and, most perilously, Iran. And then, of course, there’s North Korea. Already, after visiting the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea, Secretary of State Tillerson declared “all options are on the table,” pointedly refusing to rule out a preemptive military strike in response to the North Korean regime’s missile testing.

Drought was not the only factor in bringing tensions to a head, but many analysts, including former secretary of state John Kerry, are convinced it was a key contributor. In fact, if we chart the locations of the most intense conflict spots in the world right now—from the bloodiest battlefields in Afghanistan and Pakistan, to Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and Iraq—what becomes clear is that these also happen to be some of the hottest and driest places on earth. The Israeli architect Eyal Weizman has mapped the targets of Western drone strikes and found an “astounding coincidence.” The strikes are intensely concentrated in regions with an average of just 200 millimeters (7.8 inches) of rainfall per year—so little that even slight climate disruption can push them into drought. In other words, we are bombing the driest places on the planet, which also happen to be the most destabilized. A frank explanation for this was provided in a US military report published by the Center for Naval Analyses a decade ago: “The Middle East has always been associated with two natural resources, oil (because of its abundance) and water (because of its scarcity).”

pages: 239 words: 80,319

Lurking: How a Person Became a User by Joanne McNeil

4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Ada Lovelace, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Burning Man, Chelsea Manning, Chris Wanstrath, citation needed, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, feminist movement, Firefox, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, helicopter parent, Internet Archive, invention of the telephone, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, l'esprit de l'escalier, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, moral panic, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, packet switching, PageRank, pre–internet, profit motive, QAnon, recommendation engine, Saturday Night Live, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Snapchat, social graph, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Turing complete, We are the 99%, web application, white flight, Whole Earth Catalog

Other tech companies and platforms are strongly censorious when they choose to be, given examples like Facebook’s quick deletion of users with Native American names in 2014 but its resistance to banning Alex Jones until 2019. It took Apple quite some time to remove Alex Jones’s Infowars podcast from its iTunes listings, but in 2012, Josh Begley’s Drone+ app—a simple project that provided users with updates on drone strikes and their location on a map—was swiftly purged from Apple’s App Store. The company told Begley, “We found that your app contains content that many audiences would find objectionable, which is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines.” Begley appealed to Apple, only to see his app, renamed Metadata+, rejected or removed from the platform several more times until it was finally accepted in 2017 … until it was rejected once again.

Google and Facebook alone account for more than 70 percent of the internet traffic, a share that has steeply climbed since 2014. These companies have taken over functions of a state without administering the benefits or protections of a state. Nation-states might appear today to be as fragile and theoretical as anything digital, but the difference is not small. Google might secure contracts with the defense department, but the company does not authorize drone strikes. Facebook can’t put you in prison. Apple doesn’t run black sites. Amazon’s foul treatment of its factory workers is iniquitous, but it is not extraordinary rendition. Infrastructure is power, but it is not the law, which means there is still an opportunity for users—as individuals and collectives, and working with government bodies—to hold platforms accountable. Some well-intentioned leftists have suggested nationalizing big tech.

,” The Guardian, August 10, 2018; John Paczkowski and Charlie Warzel, “Apple Kicked Alex Jones Off Its Platform, Then YouTube and Facebook Rushed to Do The Same,” BuzzFeed, August 7, 2018; Avie Schneider, “Twitter Bans Alex Jones and InfoWars; Cites Abusive Behavior,” NPR, September 6, 2018). Josh Begley wrote about his rejections from the Apple store in The Intercept (“After 12 Rejections, Apple Accepts App That Tracks U.S. Drone Strikes,” March 28, 2017). Rhett Jones wrote about the ban on Elon Musk parody accounts for Gizmodo (“Twitter Will Lock Your Account If You Try to Impersonate Elon Musk,” July 25, 2018). Stephanie M. Lee reported on pro-ana content bans in BuzzFeed (“Why Eating Disorders Are So Hard for Instagram and Tumblr to Combat,” April 14, 2016). Benjamin Plackett reported on Reddit moderators for Engadget (“Unpaid and abused: Moderators speak out against Reddit,” August 31, 2018), and Casey Newton reported on contract workers moderating Facebook (“The Trauma Floor,” The Verge, February 25, 2019).

pages: 158 words: 46,353

Future War: Preparing for the New Global Battlefield by Robert H. Latiff

Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, cyber-physical system, Danny Hillis, defense in depth, drone strike, Elon Musk, failed state, friendly fire, Howard Zinn, Internet of things, low earth orbit, Nicholas Carr, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, self-driving car, South China Sea, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, Wall-E

Robots can be human in form or they can take on the most efficient form for the purpose and the situation in which they will operate. They can be disembodied computer systems, like the alluring operating system in the movie Her, or they can be autonomous unmanned aerial or undersea weapons. They can be large, like Russia’s purported nuclear-weapon-carrying autonomous submarine, or they can be as small as an insect. Robots can be controlled, semiautonomous, or autonomous. They can also be lethal. Drone strikes, both military and otherwise, are commonplace. Soon the drones will be able to make engagement decisions on their own. Unmanned aerial, terrestrial, and naval systems with new, potentially autonomous and lethal capabilities are now being developed, and can be controlled by artificial intelligence. Many such systems already exist. On the eastern bank of the Potomac River, just outside of Washington, D.C., sits the U.S.

Are we going to place these new technologies and systems into the hands of our soldiers and ask them to figure out when, why, and how to use them? Are we going to ask our military to figure out the appropriate employment of such weapons? Policy regarding these systems is lacking. Training is lacking. We cannot expect young soldiers to understand the nuances. There are risks, both technical and otherwise, in deploying technologies that we don’t completely understand. No one anticipated the psychological toll that drone strikes would have on their pilots. We cannot possibly anticipate how an autonomous system will react to a confusing and ambiguous situation. How will the presence of hypersonic weapons, against which there are currently no effective defenses, change the behavior of an adversary? We must urgently consider how these developments will ultimately affect not only the enemy, but also the soldiers who are asked to adapt to them.

Because We Say So by Noam Chomsky

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Legislative Exchange Council, Chelsea Manning, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Julian Assange, Malacca Straits, Martin Wolf, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, Nelson Mandela, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, Powell Memorandum, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Slavoj Žižek, Stanislav Petrov, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks

On April 23, Yemeni activist and journalist Farea Al-Muslimi, who had studied at an American high school, testified before a U.S. Senate committee that right after the marathon bombings, a drone strike in his home village in Yemen killed its target. The strike terrorized the villagers, turning them into enemies of the United States—something that years of jihadi propaganda had failed to accomplish. His neighbors had admired the United States, Al-Muslimi told the committee, but “now, however, when they think of America, they think of the fear they feel at the drones over their heads. What radicals had previously failed to achieve in my village, one drone strike accomplished in an instant.” Rack up another triumph for President Obama’s global assassination program, which creates hatred of the United States and threats to its citizens more rapidly than it kills people who are suspected of posing a possible danger to us someday.

pages: 590 words: 152,595

Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War by Paul Scharre

active measures, Air France Flight 447, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, automated trading system, autonomous vehicles, basic income, brain emulation, Brian Krebs, cognitive bias, computer vision, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, DARPA: Urban Challenge, DevOps, drone strike, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, facts on the ground, fault tolerance, Flash crash, Freestyle chess, friendly fire, IFF: identification friend or foe, ImageNet competition, Internet of things, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Loebner Prize, loose coupling, Mark Zuckerberg, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Nate Silver, pattern recognition, Rodney Brooks, Rubik’s Cube, self-driving car, sensor fusion, South China Sea, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Wozniak, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, Tesla Model S, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, theory of mind, Turing test, universal basic income, Valery Gerasimov, Wall-E, William Langewiesche, Y2K, zero day

This increased accuracy saves lives. It also shifted public expectations about the degree of precision expected in war. We debate civilian casualties from drone strikes today, but tens of thousands of civilians were killed by U.S. and British bombers in the German cities of Hamburg, Kassel, Darmstadt, Dresden, and Pforzheim in World War II. Historians estimate that the U.S. strategic bombing of Japanese cities in World War II killed over 300,000 civilians. Over 100,000 were killed on a single night in the firebombing of Tokyo. By contrast, according to the independent watchdog group The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, U.S. drone strikes against terrorists in Somalia, Pakistan, and Yemen killed a total of between three and sixteen civilians in 2015 and four civilians in 2016. Sentiment has shifted so far that Human Rights Watch has argued that “the use of indiscriminate rockets in populated areas violates international humanitarian law, or the laws of war, and may amount to war crimes.”

Larger aircraft like the MQ-1B Predator can quietly surveil terrorists around the clock, tracking their movements and unraveling their networks. Smaller hand-launched drones like the RQ-11 Raven can provide troops “over-the-hill reconnaissance” on demand while on patrol. Hundreds of drones had been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in short order. Drones weren’t new—they had been used in a limited fashion in Vietnam—but the overwhelming crush of demand for them was. While in later years drones would become associated with “drone strikes,” it is their capacity for persistent surveillance, not dropping bombs, that makes them unique and valuable to the military. They give commanders a low-cost, low-risk way to put eyes in the sky. Soon, the Pentagon was pouring drones into the wars at a breakneck pace. By 2011, annual spending on drones had swelled to over $6 billion per year, over twenty times pre-9/11 levels. DoD had over 7,000 drones in its fleet.

Arkin, “Governing Lethal Behavior: Embedding Ethics in a Hybrid Deliberative/Reactive Robot Architecture,” Technical Report GIT-GVU-07-11, http://www.cc.gatech.edu/ai/robot-lab/online-publications/formalizationv35.pdf. 281 “moral imperative to use this”: Ron Arkin, interview, June 8, 2016. 281 A typical bomb had only: “Accuracy and Employment of Air-Dropped Guided Munitions by the United States,” Center for a New American Security, https://s3.amazonaws.com/files.cnas.org/images/Accuracy-and-employment-air-dropped-guided-munitions.jpg. 281 More than 9,000 bombs: Richard P. Hallion, “Precision Guided Munitions and the New Era of Warfare,” APSC Paper Number 53, Air Power Studies Centre, http://fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/smart/docs/paper53.htm. 281 accurate to within five feet: “Accuracy and Employment of Air-Dropped Guided Munitions by the United States.” 282 U.S. drone strikes: “Drone Wars: The Full Data,” The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, accessed June 16, 2017, https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2017-01-01/drone-wars-the-full-data. 282 “the use of indiscriminate rockets”: “Ukraine: Unguided Rockets Killing Civilians,” Human Rights Watch, July 24, 2014, https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/07/24/ukraine-unguided-rockets-killing-civilians. 282 “some of it is quite dishonorable”:, Ron Arkin, interview June 8, 2016. 282 “utterly and wholly unacceptable”: Ronald Arkin, “The Case for Banning Killer Robots: Counterpoint,” accessed June 16, 2017, https://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2015/12/194632-the-case-for-banning-killer-robots/abstract. 283 “software safety”: Ron Arkin, interview, June 8, 2016. 283 “back in some general’s office”: Ibid. 283 “There is no doubt in my mind”: Jody Williams, interview, October 27, 2016. 283 “Should we create caged tigers”: Ron Arkin, interview, June 8, 2016. 284 “Where does the danger lurk?”

pages: 470 words: 148,444

The World as It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House by Ben Rhodes

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, British Empire, centre right, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, demand response, different worldview, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, eurozone crisis, F. W. de Klerk, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Ferguson, Missouri, illegal immigration, intangible asset, Mahatma Gandhi, Mohammed Bouazizi, Nelson Mandela, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Silicon Valley, Skype, South China Sea, trickle-down economics, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks

It was a somewhat unpleasant place, with a mini-fridge, a single-cup coffee maker, a dropped ceiling, piles of intelligence reports, multiple computer screens at different levels of classification, different-colored phones, and shelves half-filled with books, most of which appeared to be unread gifts. During one semirenovation, they found dead rats in the walls. Yet in the global war against al Qaeda—the mix of surveillance, drone strikes, and special operations that take place in some of the most remote parts of the world—Brennan’s office was the nerve center. Any decision that Obama had to make about whether to launch an operation to kill or capture someone came through here. “This is very sensitive,” Brennan said, folding his hands in front of him. “We may have a lead on bin Laden.” They described a scenario that seemed implausible no matter how much I wanted it to be true.

How do you establish your own voice when your entire reputation is founded on someone else’s? How much can you compromise your own positions in service of a larger good before you sacrifice them? I felt we had gradually trimmed our sails and lowered our sights—a year after the heady days of the Libya intervention and bin Laden operation, it felt as if we were becoming technocratic, competent managers of things amid a world roiling with change. Drone strikes to take out terrorists. Reducing the population at Gitmo but unable to close it. Averting a war with Iran while imposing sanctions. I was advocating proposals that weren’t expedient or politically popular. More pressure on the Egyptian military. More action in Syria. More time spent on places like Burma. And yet I also saw how little those issues mattered in the campaign that was taking place.

The downside of getting congressional authorization was, ironically, that we’d then have even more ownership over Syria; we’d be raising expectations around the world about what we were prepared to do and what we could achieve. But then I conceded that we had to, at some point, show that we meant what we said about not being on a permanent war footing. “We keep saying that,” I said, “and I guess we have to show that we mean what we say.” Speaking from my experience defending national security actions that we couldn’t talk about—from drone strikes to supporting the Syrian opposition—I said I thought it was time to make decisions in the open. Then I gave voice to the building frustrations I’d been feeling, the sense of being trapped in systems that don’t work. “In this Syria debate,” I said, “we’ve seen a convergence of two dysfunctions in our foreign policy—Congress and the international community. They both press for action but want to avoid any share of the responsibility.”

pages: 592 words: 161,798

The Future of War by Lawrence Freedman

Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, British Empire, colonial rule, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Donald Trump, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, Ernest Rutherford, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, Google Glasses, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), John Markoff, long peace, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, open economy, pattern recognition, Peace of Westphalia, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, the scientific method, uranium enrichment, urban sprawl, Valery Gerasimov, WikiLeaks, zero day

For an idea of scale, the administration put the numbers killed outside the recognized war zones of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria between January 2009 and December 2015 as between 2,372 and 2,581 combatants and between 64 and 116 civilians, while the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimated that as of August 2016 US drone strikes had killed between 492 and 1,138 civilians in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. 14. See Chris Woods, Sudden Justice: America’s Secret Drone Wars (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), and Jeremy Scahill and the staff of The Intercept, The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government’s Secret Drone Warfare Program (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2016). 15. The Trump Administration sought to ease restrictions on drone strikes. Greg Jaffe and Karen deYoung, ‘Trump administration reviewing ways to make it easier to launch drone strikes’, Washington Post, (13 March 2017). 16. Gordon Johnston of Pentagon’s Joint Forces Command quoted in Singer, Wired for War: 63. 17.

The temptation to use drones to gain tactical victories even though they provide scant strategic benefit was described as addictive.14 There was little evidence of addiction. Perhaps because the benefits were hard to confirm, while profound ethical and legal issues were being raised, the Obama Administration cut back on their use in Pakistan in 2012, and then worked to develop guidelines on targeting. As the number of drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen fell, so, too, did civilian casualties.15 Unmanned systems had other roles in counter-insurgency, for example in dealing with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). All this harked back to the early expectations of robot war, with all the anticipated advantages: ‘They don’t get hungry. They’re not afraid. They don’t forget their orders. They don’t care if the guy next to them has been shot.

pages: 397 words: 110,130

Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better by Clive Thompson

4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Benjamin Mako Hill, butterfly effect, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of penicillin, disruptive innovation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Edward Glaeser, Edward Thorp, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, Filter Bubble, Freestyle chess, Galaxy Zoo, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gunnar Myrdal, Henri Poincaré, hindsight bias, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, information retrieval, iterative process, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, lifelogging, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, patent troll, pattern recognition, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, Socratic dialogue, spaced repetition, superconnector, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, transaction costs, Vannevar Bush, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, X Prize, éminence grise

They had taken what the sentence was about and incorporated it into their general understanding of the world, or what psychologists would call their schemas. This phenomenon is familiar to everyone who reads the daily newspaper. On Monday you read a story about drone strikes in the Waziristan area of Pakistan and how the local Pashtun population reacts angrily. A few days later, you won’t recall the specifics. But you will probably have incorporated the knowledge into one of your schemas for understanding the world: “Drone strikes are seriously angering many Pakistanis.” If you’re in a bar a few weeks later arguing about this subject, you’ll lunge for a search engine or Wikipedia to remind you of the specifics—the precise evidence that supports what you generally know. In some ways, machines make for better transactive memory buddies than humans.

In some ways, machines make for better transactive memory buddies than humans. They know more, but they’re not awkward about pushing it in our faces. When you search the Web, you get your answer—but you also get much more. Consider this: If I’m trying to remember what part of Pakistan has experienced many U.S. drone strikes and I ask a colleague who follows foreign affairs, he’ll tell me “Waziristan.” But when I queried this once on the Internet, I got the Wikipedia page on “Drone attacks in Pakistan.” A chart caught my eye showing the astonishing increase of drone attacks (from 1 a year to 122 a year); then I glanced down to read a précis of studies on how Waziristan residents feel about being bombed. (One report suggested they weren’t as opposed as I’d expected, because many hated the Taliban, too.) Obviously, I was procrastinating.

Survival of the Friendliest: Understanding Our Origins and Rediscovering Our Common Humanity by Brian Hare, Vanessa Woods

Cass Sunstein, cognitive bias, desegregation, Donald Trump, drone strike, income inequality, Jane Jacobs, Law of Accelerating Returns, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, Milgram experiment, Nelson Mandela, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, out of africa, phenotype, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, smart cities, social intelligence, Stanford marshmallow experiment, stem cell, Steven Pinker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, white flight, zero-sum game

Obviously all these different populations are fully human, but a significant portion of participants saw variation where none exists.37 This dehumanization was not abstract. People who dehumanized Muslims were the most likely to sanction both their torture and drone strikes in the Middle East. As people felt more threatened by a particular group, Kteily found that dehumanization increased. He measured dehumanization of Muslims both before and after two extreme Islamists detonated bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, and he found that rates spiked by almost 50 percent after the attack.38 The same spike occurred in the UK after a Muslim man killed a British soldier. Again, people who dehumanized Muslims the most were more likely to support drone strikes and counterterrorism efforts. Both attacks also predicted a tendency to generalize a single attacker’s actions to the whole of Islam.37 It is not just Americans who respond this way.

pages: 525 words: 116,295

The New Digital Age: Transforming Nations, Businesses, and Our Lives by Eric Schmidt, Jared Cohen

access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, anti-communist, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, bitcoin, borderless world, call centre, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, Dean Kamen, drone strike, Elon Musk, failed state, fear of failure, Filter Bubble, Google Earth, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, information trail, invention of the printing press, job automation, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, market fundamentalism, means of production, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, offshore financial centre, Parag Khanna, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Peter Singer: altruism, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Robert Bork, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, The Wisdom of Crowds, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, young professional, zero day

His high profile was largely a result of his own self-promotion—he used viral videos and social networks to disseminate his charismatic sermons internationally. As the first major terrorist YouTube sensation, Awlaki’s influence is undeniable—several successful and would-be terrorists cited him as an inspiration—and his prominence earned him a spot on the U.S. government’s list of high-value targets. He was killed by a drone strike in September 2011. Awlaki’s social media mastery impressed the billionaire investor and reformist Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal al-Saud, who sees this as part of a broad trend across the region. “Even the most anti-Western religious figures in Saudi Arabia are now almost all using technology,” he told us, adding that “a number of them are even using mobile devices and increasingly social networks to issue fatwas”—Islamic edicts.

Military policies too will change in response to the threat cyber terrorists pose. Today, most of the terrorists the military chases down are in failed states or ungoverned regions. In the future, these physical safe havens will also be connected, allowing terrorists to engage in nefarious virtual acts without any fear of law enforcement. When intelligence reveals known cyber terrorists planning something dangerous, extreme measures like drone strikes will come under consideration. Western governments will try to attract skilled hackers to their side as well. In fact, hackers and government agencies in the United States work together already, at least in matters of cybersecurity. For years, agencies like the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the National Security Agency (NSA) have recruited talented individuals at venues like the computer-security conference series Black Hat and the hacker convention Def Con.

Even when it was revealed that the American Sentinel drone had violated Iranian airspace, the reaction in Tehran was boasting and display, not retaliation. The public will react favorably to the reduced lethality of drone warfare, and that will forestall outright war in the future. We already have a few years of drone-related news cycles in America from which to learn. Just months before the 2012 presidential election, government leaks resulted in detailed articles about President Obama’s secret drone operations. Judging by the reaction to drone strikes in both official combat theaters and unofficial ones like Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan, lethal missions conducted by drones are far more palatable to the American public than those carried out by troops, generating fewer questions and less outrage. Some of the people who advocate a reduced American footprint overseas even support the expansion of the drone program as a legitimate way to accomplish it.

pages: 330 words: 83,319

The New Rules of War: Victory in the Age of Durable Disorder by Sean McFate

active measures, anti-communist, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, computer vision, corporate governance, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, Donald Trump, double helix, drone strike, European colonialism, failed state, hive mind, index fund, invisible hand, John Markoff, joint-stock company, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, Peace of Westphalia, plutocrats, Plutocrats, private military company, profit motive, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, Washington Consensus, Westphalian system, yellow journalism, Yom Kippur War, zero day, zero-sum game

Glennon’s concern makes sense when observing the uncanny continuity of foreign policies among the George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump administrations, three leaders whose views were vastly different. Obama’s reproach of Bush’s military adventurism abroad was a centerpiece of his campaign. Then he did an about-face once elected, shocking voters, by expanding the Afghanistan War with a massive troop “surge” and increasing the use of drones strikes and private military contractors abroad. In due course, candidate Trump eviscerated Obama’s meddling in Syria and Afghanistan, calling for the United States to withdraw from those regions, and quit NATO, too. Then President Trump flip-flopped on all three issues, stunning his supporters. Trump’s only explanation was that things “are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office,” which doesn’t explain much.21 The deep state operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power.

Anything beyond the scope of that question does not make sense as victory, and simply declaring victory and leaving the conflict fools no one, especially history. Many today—some at the highest levels—confuse tactics with strategy, focusing on combat overmatch on the ground without linking it to a war’s political objectives. Tactical dominance achieves little in modern or future wars, as has been seen from Vietnam to Afghanistan. Precision drone strikes kill enemy leaders and other high-value targets, yet the threat grows. For every terrorist killed, three more appear. Troops joke that this is the “Whac-A-Mole” strategy, named after an arcade game and used colloquially to denote a repetitious and futile task: each time the enemy is “whacked,” it pops up again somewhere else. Whac-A-Mole fails because it is a purely tactical approach to a strategic problem.

pages: 308 words: 84,713

The Glass Cage: Automation and Us by Nicholas Carr

Airbnb, Airbus A320, Andy Kessler, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, Bernard Ziegler, business process, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Charles Lindbergh, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, computerized trading, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, digital map, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, High speed trading, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, natural language processing, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, software is eating the world, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, turn-by-turn navigation, US Airways Flight 1549, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William Langewiesche

Missile and bomb strikes by unmanned drone aircraft, such as the Predator and the Reaper, are already commonplace, and they’ve been the subject of heated debates. Both sides make good arguments. Proponents note that drones keep soldiers and airmen out of harm’s way and, through the precision of their attacks, reduce the casualties and damage that accompany traditional combat and bombardment. Opponents see the strikes as state-sponsored assassinations. They point out that the explosions frequently kill or wound, not to mention terrify, civilians. Drone strikes, though, aren’t automated; they’re remote-controlled. The planes may fly themselves and perform surveillance functions on their own, but decisions to fire their weapons are made by soldiers sitting at computers and monitoring live video feeds, operating under strict orders from their superiors. As currently deployed, missile-carrying drones aren’t all that different from cruise missiles and other weapons.

., 197–98 cloud computing, 195, 202, 209 cognition, cognitive skills, 11–12, 56–58, 71–74, 81, 120, 121, 148–51, 165 of doctors, 105 embodied, 149–51, 213 cognitive map, 129–30, 135 cognitive psychologists, 72–76, 81, 129–30 Colgan Air, 45 communication, 36, 163, 198 doctor-patient, 103–6 Communist Manifesto (Marx and Engels), 225 computer-aided design (CAD), 138–42, 144, 145, 167, 219, 229–30 computer games, 75, 177–80, 219 computer programmers, 161, 162, 168 computers, 1, 2, 17, 33, 37, 38, 40, 159 architecture and design and, 138–47 automation and, 36, 43, 50–58, 62, 66–67, 69, 90, 91, 202–3 aviation and, 43, 46, 50–52, 54, 55, 57, 62, 153, 168, 170, 172–73 avocations and, 12 benefits of transferring work to, 17–18 boundary between humans and, 10–12 brain compared with, 119, 151 capabilities of, 8–9 in cars, 7, 8–9 costs of transferring work to, 18, 28, 30, 66–67 dependency on, 12–13 effects on workload of, 90, 91 ergonomics and, 164–68 expectation of aid of, 193–95 health care and, 93–106 human compared with, 153 as media devices, 219 memory experiment and, 79 mental processes and, 74 monitoring of, 17 oracle machine, 119–20 satellite-linked, 125–37 speed of, 118–22, 139, 156, 164, 173, 219 vocations and, 12 wearable, 12, 201 white-collar, 93–106 computer scientists, 156 computer simulation models, 93, 97 concentration, 200 Concours de la Sécurité en Aéroplane, 46 consciousness, 83, 119n, 121, 148–49, 150, 187 Continental Connection, 43–45, 54, 154 corporate auditors, 115 Cowen, Tyler, 31 craft workers, 23, 106, 109 Crawford, Kate, 122–23 Crawford, Matthew, 147–48 creativity, 10, 12, 14, 143, 144, 167, 206, 229 Cross, Nigel, 143–44 Csikszentmihalyi, Mihalyi, 14–16, 18, 85, 228–29 Cukier, Kenneth, 122 culture, 124, 131, 196, 198, 217, 220, 226 Curtiss C-2 biplane, 46–47 cutting grass, 215–16 Cybernetics, or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine (Wiener), 38–39 cyborgs, 2 dancing mice, 87–92 Dancing Mouse, The (Yerkes), 85–86 DARPA (Department of Defense laboratory), 165 Dassault, 140 data, 113, 114, 117, 119–22, 136, 167, 248n data fundamentalism, 122–23 data processing, 17, 195 decision aids, automated, 113–15, 166 drawbacks to, 77 decision making, 160, 166, 168 decision trees, 113–14 declarative knowledge, 9, 10–11, 83 Deep Blue, 12 degeneration effect, 65–85 automation complacency and bias and, 67–72 Whitehead’s views and, 65–67 dementia, 135–37 dependency, 130, 133, 136, 146, 203, 225 depression, 220 Descartes, René, 148, 216 design, designers, 137–47 computer-aided (CAD), 138–42, 144, 145, 167, 219, 229–30 human- vs. technology-centered automation and, 158–62, 164–65, 167–70, 172 parametric, 140–41 system, 155–57 video games as model for, 178–82 Designerly Ways of Knowing (Cross), 143–44 desire, 15, 17, 20, 83, 161, 206–7, 210 to understand the world, 123–24 deskilling, 55, 100, 106–12, 115 Dewey, John, 148, 149, 220 diabetes, 245n–46n diagnostic testing, 70–71, 99, 102 DiFazio, William, 27–28 Digital Apollo (Mindell), 60, 61 disease, 70–71, 113, 135–37, 245n–46n dislocation, 133 Do, Ellen Yi-Luen, 167 Doctor Algorithm, 154, 155 doctors, 12, 32, 70, 93–106, 114–15, 120, 123, 147, 155, 166, 173, 219 evidence-based medicine (EBM) and, 114, 123 patient’s relationship with, 103–6 primary-care, 100–104, 154 document discovery, 116 Dodson, John Dillingham, 88–89 Dorsey, Jack, 203 Dorsey, Julie, 167–68 Dostrovsky, Jonathan, 133 dot-com bubble, 117, 194, 195 drawing and sketching, 142–47 Dreyfus, Hubert, 82 driving, see cars and driving drone strikes, 188 drugs, prescription, 220–21 Drum, Kevin, 225 Dyer-Witheford, Nick, 24 Dyson, Freeman, 175 Dyson, George, 20, 113 Eagle, Alan, 176 Ebbatson, Matthew, 55–56, 58 ebook, 29 economic growth, 22, 27, 30 economic stability, 20 Economist, 225 economists, 9, 18, 22, 29, 30, 32–33, 109 economy, economics, 20, 25–33, 117 e-discovery, 116 education, 113, 120, 153 efficiency, 8, 17, 26, 58, 61, 114, 132, 139, 159, 173, 174, 176, 219 EMR and, 101, 102 factories and, 106–8 electric grid, 195–96 electronic medical records (EMR), 93–106, 114, 123, 245n–46n embodied cognition, 149–51, 213 Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 16, 232 End of Work, The (Rifkin), 28 engagement, 14, 165 Engels, Friedrich, 225 Engineering a Safer World (Leveson), 155–56 engineers, 34, 36–37, 46, 49, 50, 54, 59, 69, 119, 120, 139, 157–60, 162, 164, 168, 174, 175, 194, 196 Enlightenment, 159–60 entorhinal cortex, 134, 135 equilibrium, of aircraft, 61–62 ergonomics (human-factors engineering), 54, 158–60, 164–68 Ericsson, K.

pages: 324 words: 96,491

Messing With the Enemy: Surviving in a Social Media World of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians, and Fake News by Clint Watts

4chan, active measures, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Chelsea Manning, Climatic Research Unit, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, global pandemic, Google Earth, illegal immigration, Internet of things, Julian Assange, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, pre–internet, side project, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test, University of East Anglia, Valery Gerasimov, WikiLeaks, zero day

Now any terrorist group, large or small, could spread its propaganda, connect with its loyalists, and guide in new recruits. Al-Qaeda affiliates with lower technical capability and limited internet access could create mainstream social media pages. After 2001, Western counterterrorism continued to improve each year, making terrorist travel to fronts in Iraq and Afghanistan more difficult by the day. Bin Laden and al-Qaeda’s central leadership suffered unending drone strikes and losses. Zarqawi’s death, in 2006, followed by two years of U.S. special operations raids in Iraq withered the newly branded Islamic State of Iraq dramatically, slowly dimming its star. As some al-Qaeda groups crumbled under relentless strikes, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, immersed in war-torn Yemen, ascended in the jihadi hierarchy. AQAP brought attacks on the U.S. homeland through concealed bombs carried across the ocean on commercial aviation or by inspiring homegrown recruits in America to attack at home.

I wonder whether, in his final moments in Somalia, as assassins closed in to kill him, he was still certain in his ideology, or in doubt. Did his dying thoughts reach for jihad and martyrdom, or his home in Alabama? As for Shabaab in Somalia, after killing Omar Hammami and executing the spectacular Westgate Shopping Mall attack in Kenya less than two weeks later, it continued its steady decline. Defectors from its ranks grew, and just less than one year after Omar’s murder, a warhead hit the forehead of Ahmed Godane. A U.S. drone strike had killed Shabaab’s murderous leader. Today, Shabaab hasn’t vanished, nor will it. One jihadi terrorist group or another has called Somalia home for decades, and some violent fringe will remain through our lifetimes. But Twitter, the platform the group had used to reach new heights, ultimately helped unravel them from the inside out. 4 Rise of the Trolls “Who are these assholes?” I whispered to myself.

pages: 349 words: 98,868

Nervous States: Democracy and the Decline of Reason by William Davies

active measures, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Amazon Web Services, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, citizen journalism, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, Colonization of Mars, continuation of politics by other means, creative destruction, credit crunch, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, discovery of penicillin, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, drone strike, Elon Musk, failed state, Filter Bubble, first-past-the-post, Frank Gehry, gig economy, housing crisis, income inequality, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, loss aversion, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mont Pelerin Society, mutually assured destruction, Northern Rock, obamacare, Occupy movement, pattern recognition, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, planetary scale, post-industrial society, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, road to serfdom, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, statistical model, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, Turing machine, Uber for X, universal basic income, University of East Anglia, Valery Gerasimov, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

The prison hunger strikes that killed IRA member Bobby Sands in 1981 began over a dispute as to whether the prisoners were to be treated as ordinary criminals (as the British government insisted) or had a “special category” status closer to prisoners of war (as the IRA demanded). In ordinary circumstances, there is a crucial and highly symbolic moment in the initiation of warfare when political leaders make a declaration of war, before handing over responsibility to generals to plan an attack. Today, however, the distinction between civilian and military interventions has slipped thanks to various developments. Targeted drone strikes, for example, involve individuals being closely watched for several months to gather evidence of their activities in the manner of a police force, before being killed in the manner of a military strike. They are closer to assassinations than conventional acts of war. The Russian government exploits the “full spectrum” of hostile interventions to disrupt enemies both within and beyond its borders.

The same is true of other communities that interact heavily via computer networks, such as gamers. Gaming can facilitate a type of gleeful nihilism, in which nothing matters except in terms of how it contributes to the outcome. Violence becomes purely instrumental, shorn of any ethical conundrums, much as it was in Clausewitz’s ideal of war. The cliché of the gamer is of the young man shut in his bedroom, who knows nothing of the physical reality of war. (In an age of drone strikes and automated weaponry, where foreign interventions can be executed from control rooms in Nevada, maybe that is the reality.) Yet the gap between the “virtual reality” of the game and the “material reality” of the civilian world outside produces a type of irony, in which features of one can be transported into the other, and vice versa, for comic effect. For similar reasons, humor has also been central to the development of Internet trolling, and it is here that we start to see some of the connections to our broader political culture and the problems the Internet poses for it.

pages: 378 words: 110,518

Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future by Paul Mason

Alfred Russel Wallace, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, basic income, Bernie Madoff, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, capital controls, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Claude Shannon: information theory, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Graeber, deglobalization, deindustrialization, deskilling, discovery of the americas, Downton Abbey, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, eurozone crisis, factory automation, financial repression, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, game design, income inequality, inflation targeting, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, low skilled workers, market clearing, means of production, Metcalfe's law, microservices, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, Pearl River Delta, post-industrial society, precariat, price mechanism, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, reserve currency, RFID, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, secular stagnation, sharing economy, Stewart Brand, structural adjustment programs, supply-chain management, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Transnistria, union organizing, universal basic income, urban decay, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto, wages for housework, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

Everything comes down to the struggle between the network and the hierarchy, between old forms of society moulded around capitalism and new forms of society that prefigure what comes next. In the face of this change, the power elite of modern capitalism has a lot at stake. While writing this book, my day job as a news reporter has taken me into three iconic conflicts that show how ruthlessly the elite will react. In Gaza, in August 2014, I spent ten days in a community being systematically destroyed by drone strikes, shelling and sniper fire. Fifteen hundred civilians were killed, one third of them children. In February 2015, I saw the US Congress give twenty-five standing ovations to the man who ordered the attacks. In Scotland, in September 2014, I found myself in the middle of a sudden and totally unpredicted radical mass movement in favour of independence from Britain. Presented with the opportunity to break with a neoliberal state and start afresh, millions of young people said ‘Yes’.

From Imperial France in 1871 right through to the fall of Vietnam and the collapse of communism, the first lesson of statecraft for those born before 1980 was: bad stuff happens; events can overwhelm you. By the year 2000 it felt different. It might not have been the ‘end of history’, but to the generation that built the neoliberal order it seemed as though history had at the very least become controllable. Every financial crisis could be met with monetary expansion, every terror threat obliterated with a drone strike. The labour movement as an independent variable in politics had been suppressed. The psychological byproduct in the minds of the policy elite was the idea that there are no impossible situations; there are always choices, even if some of them turn out to be tough ones. There is always a solution, and it is usually the market. But these external shocks should be the alarm call. Climate change does not present us with a choice of market or non-market routes to meeting carbon targets.

pages: 419 words: 109,241

A World Without Work: Technology, Automation, and How We Should Respond by Daniel Susskind

3D printing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, blue-collar work, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, computerized trading, creative destruction, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic transition, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, drone strike, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, financial innovation, future of work, gig economy, Gini coefficient, Google Glasses, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Hargreaves, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, low skilled workers, lump of labour, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Metcalfe’s law, natural language processing, Network effects, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, pink-collar, precariat, purchasing power parity, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Sam Altman, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, social intelligence, software is eating the world, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, strong AI, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, upwardly mobile, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We are the 99%, wealth creators, working poor, working-age population, Y Combinator

In 2009, after a dispute with an electronic publisher, they logged into every Kindle device and deleted any e-books users had bought from that company; ironically, among these was George Orwell’s 1984.44 In 2017, Amazon put on sale a set of iPhone covers with images such as heroin-filled needles, an old man with a crutch wearing a giant diaper, and a close-up of five toenails infected with fungus; an algorithm was pulling stock images from the Internet and creating products without any human supervision.45 In 2015, an Amazon Echo device—which records any commands or questions put to it—was the sole “witness” to an alleged murder in Arkansas, and the prosecution sought to obtain the recording of that night’s interactions. (The case was eventually dismissed.)46 Or take Apple. The company has complete control over what apps can appear on the iPhone: they refused to host an app that is critical of their manufacturing methods, but supported an app that is highly critical of climate change science; they banned an app that helps its users track US drone strikes, but allowed an app that helps men in Saudi Arabia track women and limit their movements.47 In 2016, Apple refused to help the US government to unlock the iPhone of one of the terrorists involved in the San Bernardino mass shooting, arguing that forcing them to write new software to break the encryption was a violation of their freedom of speech.48 And, finally, think about Microsoft. In 2016, they launched a Twitter chatbot called Tay, which was designed to learn from other Twitter users and imitate the way a teenage girl might speak.

James Felton, “Amazon AI Designed to Create Phone Cases Goes Hilariously Wrong,” IFLScience!, 10 July 2017. 46.  Nicole Chavez, “Arkansas Judge Drops Murder Charge in Amazon Echo Case,” CNN, 2 December 2017. 47.  J. Susskind, Future Politics, p. 236; the “Inconvenient Facts” app, at https://apps.apple.com/us/app/inconvenient-facts/id1449892823?ls=1 (accessed June 2019); Josh Begley, “After 12 Rejections, Apple Accepts App That Tracks U.S. Drone Strikes,” Intercept, 28 March 2017; Ben Hubbard, “Apple and Google Urged to Dump Saudi App That Lets Men Track Women,” New York Times, 13 February 2019. 48.  Arash Khamooshi, “Breaking Down Apple’s iPhone Fight with the U.S. Government,” New York Times, 21 March 2016. Also see J. Susskind, Future Politics, p. 155. 49.  James Vincent, “Twitter Taught Microsoft’s AI Chatbot to be a Racist Asshole in Less Than a Day,” Verge, 24 March 2016.

pages: 464 words: 116,945

Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism by David Harvey

accounting loophole / creative accounting, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business climate, California gold rush, call centre, central bank independence, clean water, cloud computing, collapse of Lehman Brothers, colonial rule, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, drone strike, end world poverty, falling living standards, fiat currency, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Food sovereignty, Frank Gehry, future of work, global reserve currency, Guggenheim Bilbao, Gunnar Myrdal, income inequality, informal economy, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, market clearing, Martin Wolf, means of production, microcredit, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, peak oil, phenotype, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, short selling, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, wages for housework, Wall-E, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population

Clearly, any such social order could only exist on the basis of fascistic mind control and the continuous exercise of daily police surveillance and violence accompanied by periodic militarised repressions. Anyone who does not see elements of such a dystopian world already in place around us is deceiving herself or himself most cruelly. The issue is not, therefore, that capital cannot survive its contradictions but that the cost of it so doing becomes unacceptable to the mass of the population. The hope is that long before dystopian trends turn from a trickle of drone strikes here and occasional uses of poison gas against their own people by crazed rulers there, of murderous and incoherent policies towards all forms of opposition in one place to environmental collapses and mass starvation elsewhere, into a veritable flood of catastrophic unequally armed struggles everywhere that pit the rich against the poor and the privileged capitalists and their craven acolytes against the rest … the hope is that social and political movements will arise and shout, ‘Ja!

Nature, as we have seen, is treated ‘in an instrumental way’ and this does ‘violence’ to ‘Nature and to our own and other people’s bodies. The culture of everyday life is – with all the disturbing ambiguity this antinomic creation contains – a culture of violence, or, in its most extreme form, a systematic, thought-out, sublimated, aggravated culture of barbarism.’4 This is most obvious, of course, when we think of drone strikes and gas chambers. But Gorz’s point is that it is this that also deeply penetrates to the very core of daily life by way of the instruments we daily use to live that life, including all those we handle in our work. There is, evidently, a deep longing in popular culture to somehow humanise the impacts of this barren culture of technology. We see that in the way that the replicants in Blade Runner acquire feelings, how Sonmi-451 learns an expressive language in Cloud Atlas, how the robots in Wall-E learn to care and shed a tear while human beings, bloated with compensatory consumer goods, passively float alone, each on their separate magic carpet, above the ruinous world the robots are seeking to order below; and even, more negatively, how HAL the computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey goes rogue.

Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire by Noam Chomsky, David Barsamian

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, American ideology, Chelsea Manning, collective bargaining, colonial rule, corporate personhood, David Brooks, discovery of DNA, double helix, drone strike, failed state, Howard Zinn, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, inflation targeting, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Julian Assange, land reform, Martin Wolf, Mohammed Bouazizi, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, Powell Memorandum, quantitative easing, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, single-payer health, sovereign wealth fund, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Tobin tax, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks

Noam Chomsky, “The Torture Memos and Historical Amnesia,” Nation, 1 June 2009, no. 40, p. 179. 33. Anatol Lieven, “Afghanistan: The Best Way to Peace,” New York Review of Books, 9 February 2012. 34. Jane Perlez, “Pakistanis Continue to Reject U.S. Partnership,” New York Times, 30 September 2009. See also Pew Global Attitudes Project, “Public Opinion in Pakistan: Concern About Extremist Threat Slips: America’s Image Remains Poor,” 29 July 2010. 35. Scott Shane, “Drone Strike Kills Qaeda Operative in Pakistan, U.S. Says,” New York Times, 19 January 2012. 36. “US Embassy Cables: ‘Reviewing Our Afghanistan-Pakistan Strategy,’” Guardian (London), 30 November 2010. 6. Mental Slavery 1. Bob Marley and the Wailers, “Redemption Song,” Uprising (Tuff Gong/Island, 1980). 2. Matthew Creamer, “Obama Wins!…Ad Age’s Marketer of the Year,” Advertising Age, 17 October 2008. 3.

pages: 196 words: 54,339

Team Human by Douglas Rushkoff

1960s counterculture, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bitcoin, blockchain, Burning Man, carbon footprint, clean water, clockwork universe, cloud computing, collective bargaining, corporate personhood, disintermediation, Donald Trump, drone strike, European colonialism, Filter Bubble, full employment, future of work, game design, gig economy, Google bus, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, invisible hand, iterative process, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, life extension, lifelogging, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, new economy, patient HM, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, theory of mind, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, universal basic income, Vannevar Bush, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game

These arguments never acknowledge the outsourced slavery, toxic dumping, or geopolitical strife on which this same model depends. So while one can pluck a reassuring statistic to support the notion that the world has grown less violent—such as the decreasing probability of an American soldier dying on the battlefield—we also live with continual military conflict, terrorism, cyber-attacks, covert war, drone strikes, state-sanctioned rape, and millions of refugees. Isn’t starving a people and destroying their topsoil, or imprisoning a nation’s young black men, a form of violence? Capitalism no more reduced violence than automobiles saved us from manure-filled cities. We may be less likely to be assaulted randomly in the street than we were in medieval times, but that doesn’t mean humanity is less violent, or that the blind pursuit of continued economic growth and technological progress is consonant with the increase of human welfare—no matter how well such proclamations do on the business bestseller lists or speaking circuit.

pages: 566 words: 144,072

In the Graveyard of Empires: America's War in Afghanistan by Seth G. Jones

business climate, clean water, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, drone strike, failed state, friendly fire, invisible hand, Khyber Pass, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murray Gell-Mann, open borders, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, trade route, zero-sum game

Instead of continuing a faltering counterinsurgency campaign, they believe the United States should withdraw most of its forces and shift to a counterterrorism strategy that targets al Qa’ida terrorists with Special Operations Forces and drones. Steven Simon, for example, who served as senior director for transnational threats on the Clinton administration’s National Security Council, said that “Washington should concentrate on its already effective policy of eliminating al Qa’ida’s leadership with drone strikes” rather than target the Taliban, since “the moment to rescue the mission…has passed.”4 Simon continued that the core al Qa’ida threat to America resides in Pakistan, not Afghanistan.5 University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer, a West Point graduate, similarly wrote that the U.S. government should “accept defeat” and “withdraw its forces from Afghanistan.”6 In September 2009, U.S. State Department employee Matthew Hoh, a former U.S.

Jalaluddin’s son Sirajuddin, who was given the title “khalifa” as the leader of the Haqqani network, developed a close relationship with al Qa’ida leaders in Pakistan, who helped him orchestrate a range of audacious terrorist attacks in Afghanistan.11 One of the most spectacular was the September 17, 2009, attack in Kabul, for which some al Qa’ida operatives from Peshawar helped build the IED that killed six Italian soldiers.12 Second, proponents of a withdrawal overstate the effectiveness of drone strikes using MQ-1 Predators and MQ-9 Reapers. Drones can have a short-term impact, as they did in the 2008 and 2009 attacks on al Qa’ida operatives such as Abu Khabab al-Masri, a chemical and biological expert; Khalid Habib al-Masri, a commander in Afghanistan; and Abu Jihad al-Masri, an external operations planner. But drones don’t offer a long-term solution. One U.S. intelligence official told me, “They are lethal in targeting foreign fighters.

How to Be Black by Baratunde Thurston

affirmative action, carbon footprint, Columbine, dark matter, desegregation, drone strike, housing crisis, phenotype, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Rosa Parks, shareholder value, supply-chain management, the scientific method, transatlantic slave trade

Undoubtedly, incidents of a racial nature will occur on your watch, and you will be tempted and expected to comment on them. Avoid this instinct. Remain silent on the most intense racial issues. Occasionally you can comment but do so in a more symbolic fashion, perhaps by inviting the aggrieved parties to your home for a beverage, awkward conversation, and photo ops. Be perfect Black people in general are under the microscope. Black people who have the power to launch drone strikes in foreign lands are under even more scrutiny. Millions are looking for an excuse to oust you, and making mistakes, no matter how small, gives them ammunition. So do yourself a favor. Use spell-check, floss regularly, know the answers to every problem in the universe, and be perfect. Simple. Initiate the plan for reparations, white slavery, and radical social and economic transformation For some segment of White America, you will never be American.

pages: 558 words: 164,627

The Pentagon's Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America's Top-Secret Military Research Agency by Annie Jacobsen

Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, colonial rule, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Dean Kamen, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, game design, John Markoff, John von Neumann, license plate recognition, Livingstone, I presume, low earth orbit, megacity, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, Norman Mailer, operation paperclip, place-making, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, social intelligence, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, zero-sum game

It was here at Fort McNair that, fifty-five years earlier, twenty-two defense scientists gathered to produce ARPA Study No. 1, the first of thousands of secret and unclassified DARPA studies outlining which weapons would best serve the United States in coming wars. “America is at a crossroads,” President Obama said. “We must define the nature and scope of this struggle”—meaning the war on terror—“or else it will define us.” Much of the rest of the president’s speech focused on the use of armed drones. He mentioned drone strikes on fourteen separate occasions in his roughly fifteen-minute talk. The summary point reported across news outlets was that President Obama was curtailing the use of drones. He was doing no such thing, nor, really, did the president say he was. He merely said, “I’ve insisted on strong oversight of all lethal action,” meaning that White House and CIA lawyers would continue to be in the loop before individual terrorists were targeted for assassination by unmanned systems, including American citizens living overseas.

From Yemen, Al-Awlaki encouraged Muslims around the world to commit terrorist attacks against the United States. (Some would, including Major Nidal Hasan, who killed thirteen people and injured at least thirty more in a mass shooting at Fort Hood in Texas in 2009.) Al-Awlaki also served as imam at the Dar Al-Hijrah mosque, from January 2001 to April 2002. Not for another four years would Anwar Al-Awlaki become the first U.S. citizen officially assassinated by the U.S. government, in a drone strike on a desert highway in Yemen. Dr. Esam Omeish had been an associate of Anwar Al-Awlaki, through Dar Al-Hijrah, but association is not a crime. Were the dragonflies in Lafayette Park insect-inspired drones sent to spy on the doctor and the antiwar crowd? Or were they just unusually large dragonflies? The month after the Lafayette Square rally, the Washington Post reported a handful of similar sightings of insect-shaped spy drones flying overhead at political events in Washington and New York.

pages: 229 words: 67,869

So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

4chan, AltaVista, Berlin Wall, Broken windows theory, Burning Man, Clive Stafford Smith, cognitive dissonance, Desert Island Discs, different worldview, don't be evil, Donald Trump, drone strike, Google Hangouts, illegal immigration, Menlo Park, PageRank, Ralph Nader, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, Skype, Stanford prison experiment, Steve Jobs, urban planning, WikiLeaks

‘Not a kangaroo court,‘ someone replied quite tersely. ‘Twitter still can’t impose real sentences. Just commentary. Only unlike you, Jon, we aren’t paid for it.’ Was he right? It felt like a question that really needed to be answered because it didn’t seem to be crossing any of our minds to wonder whether whichever person we had just shamed was OK or in ruins. I suppose that when shamings are delivered like remotely administered drone strikes nobody needs to think about how ferocious our collective power might be. The snowflake never needs to feel responsible for the avalanche. * Lehrer’s intention in submitting himself to a public grilling was to show the world that he’s ready to return to journalism, that we can trust him because he knows now not to trust himself. All he proved is that he’s not wired like the rest of us. If he can figure out why that is, that would be a neuroscience story worth publishing

pages: 260 words: 67,823

Always Day One: How the Tech Titans Plan to Stay on Top Forever by Alex Kantrowitz

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer vision, Donald Trump, drone strike, Elon Musk, Firefox, Google Chrome, hive mind, income inequality, Infrastructure as a Service, inventory management, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Jony Ive, knowledge economy, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, new economy, Peter Thiel, QR code, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Tim Cook: Apple, uber lyft, wealth creators, zero-sum game

It was a collaboration between a large number of product groups, buoyed by artificial intelligence, and developed with the assistance of the company’s communication tools. The result turned into the product that might keep Google relevant for some time to come. Uprising In late fall 2017, a group of Googlers began discussing a rare secretive project underway inside the company. Google, they learned, was licensing its AI technology to the Pentagon, which was using it to decipher drone footage. The potential for the Pentagon to someday target drone strikes with Google’s technology unsettled the group, and they raised their concerns with leadership. As these talks progressed, Liz Fong-Jones, a Google site-reliability engineer, learned of the project and posted about it internally via Google+. Google’s workforce, not used to being kept in the dark, then dug up the project’s documentation, along with some of its code, revealing its scope. The project, which the Pentagon called Maven, was worth millions of dollars, with the potential to lead to much more if the military liked its results.

pages: 1,118 words: 309,029

The Wars of Afghanistan by Peter Tomsen

airport security, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, drone strike, facts on the ground, failed state, friendly fire, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, Internet Archive, Khyber Pass, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, plutocrats, Plutocrats, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, trade route, union organizing, uranium enrichment, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

He had been Musharraf’s ISI chief from 2005 to 2007, in charge of the reorganization of the Taliban and the first major Taliban offensives back into Afghanistan from Pakistani territory beginning in 2005. Jones and Panetta showed Kayani and his ISI Director, Ahmad Shuja Pasha, photographs and other evidence on Shahzad, the son of a retired general in the Pakistani Air Force. The documents linked Shahzad to the Pakistani Taliban.33 They failed to budge Kiyani much beyond permitting more drone strikes against the Pakistani Taliban in North Waziristan.34 Nor did their appeals reduce Taliban attacks against the Afghan government and coalition troops inside Afghanistan. America’s Grand Delusion was apparent during Secretary of State Clinton’s July 18–19, 2010, visit to Islamabad for a round of U.S.-Pakistani strategic talks. The American side’s negotiating brief was long on “give” and short on “take.”

On the positive side, Obama has targeted the beginning of American withdrawal, thus giving the Afghan government and people an incentive to take over ownership of Afghanistan’s future. The U.S.-led coalition is growing the size of Afghan forces so they can take over security responsibilities. More rhetorical pressure has been put on Islamabad. The administration has significantly increased the number of drone strikes against Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders in the central zone of the Frontier with good results. More attention has been paid to limiting civilian casualties in Afghanistan, and there has been a major increase in economic assistance and a greater civilian presence. The operation to kill bin Laden in Pakistan was a spectacular success. The negative side of the equation is much heavier, however.

Noncombat Afghan engineering, logistics, communications, transportation, and intelligence units have been deemphasized in the buildup of the ANSF combat arms. They will be critical to ensuring ANSF success after the transfer of combat responsibility is completed. U.S. and coalition specialists in these categories should remain in-country, partnered with Afghan units, to support ANSF and American combat forces while the latter depart Afghanistan. Continue the drone strikes against al-Qaeda and other terrorist training bases on the lawless Frontier. These bases are training terrorists to attack the United States and other countries. The drone operations have been highly effective in degrading al-Qaeda’s leadership and that of its allies and their capabilities to attack the United States and its friends and allies. They must continue. Steps must be taken to negate or minimize civilian casualties.

pages: 265 words: 74,807

Our Robots, Ourselves: Robotics and the Myths of Autonomy by David A. Mindell

Air France Flight 447, autonomous vehicles, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Charles Lindbergh, Chris Urmson, digital map, disruptive innovation, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, fudge factor, index card, John Markoff, low earth orbit, Mars Rover, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, telepresence, telerobotics, trade route, US Airways Flight 1549, William Langewiesche, zero-sum game

The big news was a request by the president of the association to the press and public to change the terms of the debate. “I don’t use the word ‘drone,’” said AUVSI president Michael Toscano. “There’s a Hollywood expectation of what a drone is. Most of it is military; most of it is very fearful, hostile.” He was responding to an immediate political threat: outside the convention hall protesters objected to U.S. “drone” strikes and to the prospect of domestic drones snooping on private lives. “The key word is the word ‘system.’ That’s the word we hope the public will understand,” Toscano said. “There is a human being in the system. The human being is what makes the system. When you say the word ‘drone,’ you don’t think of a human being in control.” Toscano was clearly trying to buff up the public image of his industry, which is concerned that public fears of surveillance are holding back the deployment of technologies in U.S. airspace.

pages: 276 words: 78,061

Worth Dying For: The Power and Politics of Flags by Tim Marshall

anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, colonial rule, Donald Trump, drone strike, European colonialism, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Mahatma Gandhi, Malacca Straits, mass immigration, megacity, Nelson Mandela, Ronald Reagan, sceptred isle, Scramble for Africa, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, trade route, white picket fence

It has the power to evoke and embody sentiments so strong that sometimes people will even follow their coloured cloth into gunfire and die for what it symbolizes. CHAPTER 1 THE STARS AND THE STRIPES ‘There is not a thread in it but scorns self-indulgence, weakness and rapacity.’ Charles Evans Hughes, US Secretary of State 1921–5 Supporters of the banned organization Jamaat-ud-Dawa burn the Stars and Stripes in Quetta, Pakistan, in May 2016, protesting against a US drone strike on Pakistani soil. O SAY, CAN YOU SEE, BY THE DAWN’S EARLY LIGHT? IN THE USA the answer is an emphatic yes. From dawn to dusk America is a riot of red, white and blue. The flag flies from government buildings, atop supermarkets and car showrooms, from the roof of the grandest mansion to the humblest white-picket-fenced homestead, and from the log cabin to the White House. In the morning it rises, hoisted onto a million flagpoles, as ‘God’s Own Country’ sets about creating anew each day the most successful nation yet seen on earth.

pages: 252 words: 74,167

Thinking Machines: The Inside Story of Artificial Intelligence and Our Race to Build the Future by Luke Dormehl

Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, book scanning, borderless world, call centre, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, drone strike, Elon Musk, Flash crash, friendly AI, game design, global village, Google X / Alphabet X, hive mind, industrial robot, information retrieval, Internet of things, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, out of africa, PageRank, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, remote working, RFID, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, social intelligence, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

Not everything about the myriad changes prompted by AI is rosy, of course. Artificial Intelligence will also be responsible for the disruption of many professions and livelihoods over the years to come, although this will also create new, previously unimagined opportunities for human workers. There are also those who will criticise the use of machine intelligence in war, whether it is airborne drone strikes or land-based robotic soldiers. In this latter capacity is a machine like Google’s ‘Big Dog’, a four-legged robot canine capable of carrying around 400 lbs of equipment – although the US Marines are presently holding off on using it because of its noisy petrol-powered engine. Barring some other Singularity-style catastrophic risk, for the majority of people the most pressing AI issue is the assault on privacy which has accompanied the rise of entities like Google.

pages: 266 words: 80,018

The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man by Luke Harding

affirmative action, airport security, Anton Chekhov, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Berlin Wall, Chelsea Manning, don't be evil, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Etonian, Firefox, Google Earth, Jacob Appelbaum, job-hopping, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, kremlinology, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, MITM: man-in-the-middle, national security letter, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rolodex, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, Steve Jobs, undersea cable, web application, WikiLeaks

And when you meet him, Greenwald is mild, easy to get along with, chatty and kind. Professionally, though, Greenwald is a different creature: adversarial, remorseless, sardonic and forensic. He is a relentless pricker of what he regards as official US hypocrisy. Greenwald has been a waspish critic of the George W Bush administration, and of Obama. He is scathing of Washington’s record. Citizens’ rights, drone strikes, foreign wars, the US’s disastrous engagement with the Muslim world, Guantanamo Bay, America’s ‘global torture regime’ – all have been subjects for Greenwald’s Swiftian pen. In long, sometimes torrential posts, he has chronicled the US government’s alleged crimes around the world. Greenwald’s outspoken views on privacy make him arguably America’s best-known critic of government surveillance.

pages: 251 words: 76,225

The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, clean water, commoditize, desegregation, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, Ferguson, Missouri, game design, Google Hangouts, hiring and firing, Kickstarter, means of production, Nelson Mandela, Skype, women in the workforce

* * * Language is a powerful thing, and it changes the way we view ourselves, and other people, in delightful and horrifying ways. Anyone with any knowledge of the military, or who pays attention to how the media talks about war, has likely caught on to this. We don’t kill “people.” We kill “targets.” (Or japs or gooks or ragheads.) We don’t kill “fifteen-year-old boys” but “enemy combatants.” (Yes, every boy fifteen and over killed in drone strikes now is automatically listed as an enemy combatant. Not a boy. Not a child.) And when we talk about “people” we don’t really mean “men and women.” We mean “people and female people.” We talk about “American Novelists” and “American Women Novelists.”1 We talk about “Teenage Coders” and “Lady Teenage Coders.”2 And when we talk about war, we talk about soldiers and female soldiers. Because this is the way we talk, when we talk about history and use the word “soldiers” it immediately erases any women doing the fighting.

pages: 250 words: 87,722

Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis

automated trading system, bash_history, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, collateralized debt obligation, computerized markets, drone strike, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial intermediation, Flash crash, High speed trading, latency arbitrage, pattern recognition, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Sergey Aleynikov, Small Order Execution System, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, the new new thing, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, Vanguard fund

“Either we are a resounding success or we are a complete flop. We’re done in six to twelve months. In twelve months I know whether I need to look for a job.” Brad thought that their bid to create an example of a fair financial market—and maybe change Wall Street’s culture—could take longer and prove messier. He expected their first year to feel more like nineteenth-century trench warfare than a twenty-first-century drone strike. “We’re just collecting data,” he said. “You cannot make a case without data. And you don’t have data unless you have trades.” Even Brad agreed: “It’s over when we run out of money.” On the first day, they traded 568,524 shares. Most of the volume came from regional brokerage firms and Wall Street brokers that had no dark pools—the Royal Bank of Canada and Sanford Bernstein. Their first week, they traded a bit over 12 million shares.

pages: 266 words: 87,411

The Slow Fix: Solve Problems, Work Smarter, and Live Better in a World Addicted to Speed by Carl Honore

Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, Broken windows theory, call centre, Checklist Manifesto, clean water, clockwatching, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Dava Sobel, delayed gratification, drone strike, Enrique Peñalosa, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ernest Rutherford, Exxon Valdez, fundamental attribution error, game design, income inequality, index card, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, lateral thinking, lone genius, medical malpractice, microcredit, Netflix Prize, planetary scale, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, ultimatum game, urban renewal, War on Poverty

The bottom line here is clear: the quick fix is the wrong horse to back. On its own, no algorithm has ever solved a global health problem. No impulse buy has ever turned around a life. No drug has ever cured a chronic illness. No box of chocolates has ever mended a broken relationship. No educational DVD has ever transformed a child into a baby Einstein. No TED Talk has ever changed the world. No drone strike has ever killed off a terrorist group. It’s always more complicated than that. Everywhere you look – health, politics, education, relationships, business, diplomacy, finance, the environment – the problems we face are more complex and more pressing than ever before. Piss-poor performance is no longer an option. The time has come to resist the siren call of half-baked solutions and short-term palliatives and start fixing things properly.

pages: 301 words: 85,263

New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future by James Bridle

AI winter, Airbnb, Alfred Russel Wallace, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, British Empire, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, congestion charging, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, drone strike, Edward Snowden, fear of failure, Flash crash, Google Earth, Haber-Bosch Process, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, late capitalism, lone genius, mandelbrot fractal, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Minecraft, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Network effects, oil shock, p-value, pattern recognition, peak oil, recommendation engine, road to serfdom, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, social graph, sorting algorithm, South China Sea, speech recognition, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stem cell, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, the built environment, the scientific method, Uber for X, undersea cable, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks

Over time, GPS has come to anchor a huge number of contemporary applications and become another of the invisible, unquestioned signals that modulate everyday life – another of those things that, more or less, ‘just works’. GPS enables the blue dot in the centre of the map that folds the entire planet around the individual. Its data directs car and truck journeys, locates ships, prevents planes flying into one another, dispatches taxis, tracks logistics inventories and calls in drone strikes. Essentially a vast, space-based clock, the time signal from GPS satellites regulates power grids and stock markets. But our growing reliance on the system masks the fact that it can still be manipulated by those in control of its signals, including the United States government, which retains the ability to selectively deny positioning signals to any region it chooses.26 In the summer of 2017, a series of reports from the Black Sea showed deliberate interference with GPS occurring across a wide area, with ships’ navigation systems showing them tens of kilometres off their actual position.

pages: 294 words: 81,292

Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era by James Barrat

AI winter, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Automated Insights, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, brain emulation, cellular automata, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, cognitive bias, commoditize, computer vision, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, don't be evil, drone strike, Extropian, finite state, Flash crash, friendly AI, friendly fire, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, lone genius, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, PageRank, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, prisoner's dilemma, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, smart grid, speech recognition, statistical model, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, Thomas Bayes, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

But 1.0 is probably the last version we’ll see because we won’t live to create 2.0. Like natural selection, we choose solutions that work first, not best. Stuxnet is an example of that. So are autonomous killing drones. With DARPA funds, scientists at Georgia Tech Research Institute have developed software that allows unmanned vehicles to identify enemies through visual recognition software and other means, then launch a lethal drone strike against them. All without a human in the loop. One piece I read about it includes this well-intentioned sop: “Authorizing a machine to make lethal combat decisions is contingent upon political and military leaders resolving legal and ethical questions.” I’m reminded of the old saw, “When was a weapon ever invented that wasn’t used?” A quick Google search revealed a scary list of weaponized robots all set up for autonomous killing and wounding (one made by iRobot wields a Taser), just waiting for the go-ahead.

pages: 287 words: 82,576

The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream by Tyler Cowen

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Alvin Roth, assortative mating, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, business climate, business cycle, circulation of elites, clean water, David Graeber, declining real wages, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, drone strike, East Village, Elon Musk, Ferguson, Missouri, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, gig economy, Google Glasses, Hyman Minsky, Hyperloop, income inequality, intangible asset, Internet of things, inventory management, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, Peter Thiel, purchasing power parity, Richard Florida, security theater, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, South China Sea, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, total factor productivity, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, upwardly mobile, Vilfredo Pareto, working-age population, World Values Survey

It doesn’t feel like this is an especially pressing issue requiring resolution today, and so we pile up more and more issues of this kind, namely ones not requiring resolution just right now. The end result is likely to be that we lose our capacity to resolve them at all, whether today, tomorrow, or any other time in the future. Since Libya, we’ve seen a similar logic play itself out in Syria and Iraq: again, some U.S. military involvement on uncertain terms and with uncertain explicit authorization from Congress. Across the broader world, how many drone strikes in Pakistan or Yemen does the American government have to run before it might be the case that, at least by the standards of an earlier America, a congressional vote would be required for an explicit declaration of war? My guess is we’ll never find out. It’s not that we’re too divided, as in some cases of government gridlock; rather it’s that we, taken collectively, just don’t seem to care enough to force a definite resolution.

pages: 293 words: 89,712

After Zionism: One State for Israel and Palestine by Antony Loewenstein, Ahmed Moor

Boycotts of Israel, British Empire, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, drone strike, facts on the ground, ghettoisation, land reform, Naomi Klein, one-state solution, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, young professional

Activists on the Palestinian issue have long proclaimed: “We are all Palestinians!” By this, we mean that we stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Increasingly, however, as Israel’s occupation becomes globalised, the people of the earth – favela dwellers, Occupy Wall Street protesters, those that resist the exploitation of their labour and resources, women and child workers in the global factory, victims of remote-controlled drone strikes by missiles fired from Las Vegas – are literally becoming Palestinians. Don’t think what happened to the people of Gaza remains with them alone. Whether through armies, security agencies or your local police, the road from Gaza leads directly to your door. Without deflecting attention from the actual conflict “on the ground” in Palestine and the struggle for Palestinian rights, a lot is riding on the just resolution of the Israel/Palestine conflict: the prospect of regional and world peace, to be sure, but beyond that the possibility of replacing the militarism and exploitation on which the world system is presently based with a more human reality of human rights, inclusiveness, economic justice and peace.

pages: 369 words: 90,630

Mindwise: Why We Misunderstand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want by Nicholas Epley

affirmative action, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Cass Sunstein, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, drone strike, friendly fire, invisible hand, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, payday loans, Peter Singer: altruism, pirate software, Richard Thaler, school choice, social intelligence, the scientific method, theory of mind

But if the enemy fights out of empathy for their own group members and a cause that is greater than any one of them, then “shock and awe” may inspire them as much as it terrifies them. That seemed to be precisely what happened after the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. “The concept of ‘shock and awe,’ ” said retired Pakistani general Talat Masood, “could drive moderate and uncommitted civilians toward anti-Americanism.” One of the most popular songs in Pakistan in 2007, in a region being hit by ten drone strikes per week, included the lines “America’s heartless terrorism,/Killing people like insects,/But honor does not fear power.”28 Shock and awe seems like a poor strategy for fighting warriors who love their cause as much as we love ours. The American military followed up with efforts to “win the hearts and minds” of Afghans and Iraqis, but the reality of parochial altruism means that this strategy came too late.

Pirates and Emperors, Old and New by Noam Chomsky

American ideology, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, drone strike, Fall of the Berlin Wall, land reform, liberation theology, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, union organizing, urban planning

He explained to them that “We are going to have to stand and say, ‘Might doesn’t make right.’ There are 3 billion people in the world and we have only 200 million of them. We are outnumbered 15 to 1. If might did make right they would sweep over the United States and take what we have. We have what they want.” So we must “defend freedom” by destroying Vietnam, to defend ourselves from their onslaught against us.4 The reasoning is hardly different when President Obama launches drone strikes to murder people suspected of perhaps planning to harm us some day. The principle is also lucidly expressed in scholarship. In his inquiry into the historical roots of George W. Bush’s “preemptive war” against Iraq (nothing was “preempted,” but put that aside), the noted Cold War historian John Lewis Gaddis traces “Bush’s framework for fighting terrorism [to] the lofty, idealistic tradition” established by his hero John Quincy Adams, the grand strategist who was the intellectual author of Manifest Destiny.

pages: 352 words: 90,622

Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security by Sarah Chayes

Celtic Tiger, colonial rule, crony capitalism, drone strike, failed state, income inequality, microcredit, offshore financial centre, plutocrats, Plutocrats, structural adjustment programs, trade route, ultimatum game, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, young professional

Other Al Qaeda publications dissect the details of public corruption scandals, such as a 2006 Saudi deal to buy seventy-two Eurofighter jets, which allegedly included BAE Systems’ gift of a lavish honeymoon for the daughter of Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, then secretary general of the UN Security Council.34 Through application of the “command responsibility” principle that served as the basis for convicting King Charles I, that figures in so many Mirrors for Princes, and that explains why Afghans hold Washington responsible for the Karzai government’s behavior, Bin Laden and other senior Al Qaeda figures blamed the United States for the corruption of their own rulers. Abd al-Rahman Atiya, killed in a drone strike in 2011, conceded that the 9/11 attacks had been launched because of hatred for some aspects of Western culture, but the main rationale was the U.S. role enabling Arab kleptocracies. Yes we hate the corruptive financial lifestyle that does not please God . . . But . . . the more important reason is their . . . appointing collaborative regimes for them in our countries. Then they support these regimes and corruptive governments against their people, who demand freedom and want to abide by Islam.

Hiding in Plain Sight: The Invention of Donald Trump and the Erosion of America by Sarah Kendzior

"side hustle", 4chan, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, borderless world, Chelsea Manning, Columbine, corporate raider, desegregation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Ferguson, Missouri, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, income inequality, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, Jeffrey Epstein, Julian Assange, Mohammed Bouazizi, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, new economy, payday loans, plutocrats, Plutocrats, QAnon, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, Thomas L Friedman, trickle-down economics, unpaid internship, white flight, WikiLeaks, Y2K, zero-sum game

Alexandra Jaffe, “Trump in 2007: ‘I’m Excited’ for Housing Market Crash,” NBC News, May 23, 2016, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/trump-2007-i-m-excited-housing-market-crash-n578761.   5.   Michal Kranz, “‘Why Did You Wait?’: Trump Reportedly Asked the CIA Why It Paused for Target to Walk Away from His Family Before Striking,” Business Insider, April 6, 2018, https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-cia-drone-strike-terrorist-families-2018-4.   6.   Yamiche Alcindor and Julie Hirschfeld Davis, “Soldier’s Widow Says Trump Struggled to Remember Sgt. La David Johnson’s Name,” New York Times, October 23, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/23/us/politics/soldiers-widow-says-trump-struggled-to-remember-sgt-la-david-johnsons-name.html.   7.   Donald J. Trump(@RealDonaldTrump), “I predicted the 9/11 attack on America…,” Twitter, December 29, 2011, 11:49 A.M., https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/152431014742986752.   8.   

pages: 322 words: 99,066

The End of Secrecy: The Rise and Fall of WikiLeaks by The "Guardian", David Leigh, Luke Harding

4chan, banking crisis, centre right, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, Climategate, cloud computing, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, Downton Abbey, drone strike, eurozone crisis, friendly fire, global village, Hacker Ethic, impulse control, Jacob Appelbaum, Julian Assange, knowledge economy, Mohammed Bouazizi, Nelson Mandela, offshore financial centre, post-work, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steven Levy, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks

Michel’s agency also set up a meeting with Paul Greengrass, acclaimed director of The Bourne Ultimatum, with a view to him turning Assange’s life-story into a secret-agent escapade. The book, WikiLeaks Versus the World: My Story, was scheduled for release in April 2011 – an ambitious deadline. Another piece of good news was the diminishing prospect that Assange would personally become the victim of some kind of vengeful US drone-strike. The US department of justice had issued secret subpoenas on 14 December for the Twitter accounts of Manning, Assange and his friends. This led to unwelcome publicity when Twitter robustly went to court and got the subpoena unsealed. Icelandic MP and WikiLeaks supporter Birgitta Jónsdóttir made a political fuss. “It sort of feels to me as if they’ve become quite desperate,” Jónsdóttir said. The investigation was fruitless, she added, since “none of us would ever use Twitter messaging to say anything sensitive”.

pages: 326 words: 103,170

The Seventh Sense: Power, Fortune, and Survival in the Age of Networks by Joshua Cooper Ramo

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, British Empire, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, defense in depth, Deng Xiaoping, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Firefox, Google Chrome, income inequality, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joi Ito, market bubble, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Mitch Kapor, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, packet switching, Paul Graham, price stability, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, Richard Feynman, road to serfdom, Robert Metcalfe, Sand Hill Road, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social web, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, Vernor Vinge, zero day

The context matters as much as the solution because, even if you think you’ve solved a specific problem, that context endures. If the statesman’s task of finding peace is like trying to balance teacups one upon the other, Chinese want to know: Is it windy? Where were the teacups made? Just how will they fit together? Westerners tended to focus on piling the cups. The problem at hand was always defined in the most direct possible way: Remove Saddam. Drone-strike the terrorists. Stop the financial crisis. The plan was: Just balance the teacups. It was the rare Western statesman who saw that the table on which the cups sat was missing a leg, or who felt an oncoming breeze kicking up. Some said the Chinese instinct to study the environment first had its roots deep in Chinese culture. The society had always been agricultural, so the weather had to be understood.

pages: 317 words: 100,414

Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction by Philip Tetlock, Dan Gardner

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, availability heuristic, Black Swan, butterfly effect, buy and hold, cloud computing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, desegregation, drone strike, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, forward guidance, Freestyle chess, fundamental attribution error, germ theory of disease, hindsight bias, index fund, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Kenneth Arrow, Laplace demon, longitudinal study, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, Nelson Mandela, obamacare, pattern recognition, performance metric, Pierre-Simon Laplace, place-making, placebo effect, prediction markets, quantitative easing, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, scientific worldview, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

One could defend differential treatment of the probability estimates of the basketball advisers and the terrorism advisers on the grounds that sports is repetitive whereas the search for bin Laden was a one-off thing. Obama may have justifiably more confidence that the basketball judgments were driven by hard data on past performance whereas the terrorism judgments appear to have been plucked from thin air. The following sorts of evidence could resolve this issue: (1) Is Obama as precise in talking about clearly repetitive events in national security (e.g., drone strikes) as he is about sports? (2) Would policy makers in general give up their “prejudice” against probability judgments in less repeatable domains if they knew these judgments are just as reliable as those in more repeatable domains? Unfortunately, testing the latter hypothesis will be impossible as long as policy makers see no value in collecting probability judgments of seemingly unique events, less still in assessing their accuracy. 4.

pages: 1,318 words: 403,894

Reamde by Neal Stephenson

air freight, airport security, crowdsourcing, digital map, drone strike, Google Earth, industrial robot, informal economy, Jones Act, large denomination, megacity, MITM: man-in-the-middle, new economy, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, ransomware, side project, Skype, slashdot, South China Sea, the built environment, the scientific method, young professional

Olivia did not have to read any ecstatic memos from London to know that she had found a gold mine. What feedback she did get from London suggested that the value of the information they were getting was so high that they now wished that Abdallah Jones would pursue a very lengthy career of blowing things up, or preparing to, in Xiamen, just so that they could go on milking him. Reading the foreign newspapers, Olivia saw occasional reports of Predator drone strikes in Waziristan and could not help getting the impression that the stuff she was sending back to London was directly correlated with some of those. She was running one of the most high-value installations in the global war on terror. And she was the only person who could run it. The operation was a colossal success—much more important than whatever now-forgotten job they’d originally wanted her to do.

But they hadn’t been able to construct a sensible narrative as to why Jones, given his own personal business jet, would choose to land it there. Nothing against Canada, of course, which all agreed was a perfectly lovely country, but there simply wasn’t anything in it that would make for a sufficiently juicy target to make the journey worth it for a man like Jones. If Canada had been selling arms to Israel and pounding Pakistan with drone strikes, Jones would take delight in knocking over the CN Tower or car-bombing a hockey game, but as matters stood he would have to get into the United States or else make a laughingstock of himself. Getting across that border at a legitimate crossing would, of course, be out of the question. He would have to sneak across somewhere. And so if he were barreling south in a business jet, flying below the radar or else shadowing a passenger plane, pulling up short and setting it down north of the border would be nonsensical.

Begging their owners to let me see footage.” “Have fun with that.” “What’s on your agenda, Seamus?” “Figure out what to do with this traveling circus.” RELUCTANT AS SHE was to give the jihadists credit for anything, Zula had to admit that they showed commendable restraint when it came to talking on the radio. Perhaps it was a Darwinian selection thing. All the jihadists who failed to observe radio silence had been vaporized by drone strikes. There was no walkie-talkie or phone chatter from the time Jones left the camp with his three comrades until two and a half hours later, when Ershut and Jahandar trudged up the hill, looking winded but satisfied. In the meantime, the other members of the expedition—everyone except for Zakir and Sayed—breakfasted, prayed, and packed. The latter activity seemed to consume a great deal of emotional energy.

pages: 344 words: 104,077

Superminds: The Surprising Power of People and Computers Thinking Together by Thomas W. Malone

agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Asperger Syndrome, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, call centre, clean water, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental economics, Exxon Valdez, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, gig economy, happiness index / gross national happiness, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, inventory management, invisible hand, Jeff Rulifson, jimmy wales, job automation, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, Lyft, Marshall McLuhan, Occupy movement, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, prediction markets, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social intelligence, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

Asaro, “The Liability Problem for Autonomous Artificial Agents,” in Ethical and Moral Considerations in Non-Human Agents: Papers from the 2016 AAAI Spring Symposium (Palo Alto, CA: AAAI Press, 2016), https://www.aaai.org/ocs/index.php/SSS/SSS16/paper/download/12699/11949. 21. Richard Kelley, Enrique Schaerer, Micaela Gomez, and Monica Nicolescu, “Liability in Robotics: An International Perspective on Robots as Animals,” Advanced Robotics 24, no. 13 (2010): 1,861–71. 22. “US Drone Strike Killings in Pakistan and Yemen ‘Unlawful,’” BBC News, October 23, 2013, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-24618701. CHAPTER 20 1. Robert Van Gulick, “Consciousness,” in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2014 edition), ed. Edward N. Zalta (Stanford, CA: Stanford University, 2014), http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2014/entries/consciousness; Bernard J. Baars, A Cognitive Theory of Consciousness (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1988); Daniel C.

pages: 385 words: 111,113

Augmented: Life in the Smart Lane by Brett King

23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, congestion charging, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, deskilling, different worldview, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, distributed ledger, double helix, drone strike, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fellow of the Royal Society, fiat currency, financial exclusion, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, future of work, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Hans Lippershey, Hyperloop, income inequality, industrial robot, information asymmetry, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, invention of the wheel, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Leonard Kleinrock, lifelogging, low earth orbit, low skilled workers, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Metcalfe’s law, Minecraft, mobile money, money market fund, more computing power than Apollo, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, packet switching, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart transportation, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Turing complete, Turing test, uber lyft, undersea cable, urban sprawl, V2 rocket, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white picket fence, WikiLeaks

In fact, she said instead of buying her a car I should get her an Uber account. 7 Volvo Press Release, https://www.media.volvocars.com/global/en-gb/media/pressreleases/167975/us-urged-to-establish-nationwide-federal-guidelines-for-autonomous-driving 8 https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/actually-fly-the-m400x-skycar-into-history 9 Separation refers to the distance maintained between aircraft while flying. The opposite of separation is, of course, an in-air collision, which is generally not positive. 10 Bureau of Investigative Journalism Report. October 2014 Update: US Covert Actions in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. 11 A. Buncombe, “Pakistani court declares US drone strikes in the country’s tribal belt illegal,” Independent, 9 May 2013. 12 http://www.nest.com Chapter 9 Smart Banking, Payments and Money “The root problem with conventional currency is all the trust that’s required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust.” Satoshi Nakamoto, pseudonym of the anonymous creator of Bitcoin The evolution of banking and payments has often been correlated with technological advancement.

pages: 380 words: 109,724

Don't Be Evil: How Big Tech Betrayed Its Founding Principles--And All of US by Rana Foroohar

"side hustle", accounting loophole / creative accounting, Airbnb, AltaVista, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, call centre, cashless society, cleantech, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, computer age, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, death of newspapers, Deng Xiaoping, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Etonian, Filter Bubble, future of work, game design, gig economy, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, Kenneth Rogoff, life extension, light touch regulation, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Menlo Park, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, PageRank, patent troll, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, price discrimination, profit maximization, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Sand Hill Road, search engine result page, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, Snapchat, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, subscription business, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, the new new thing, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

It’s telling that Cambridge Analytica, the British political firm employed by the Trump campaign in the 2016 elections, leveraged information garnered not just from Facebook to create voter profiles, but from dozens of other sources as well, including educational institutions and church groups;34 in fact, you could argue that the tech companies are simply the canaries in the coal mine for what will eventually become a much larger shift toward a surveillance capitalism system in which businesses and organizations of all stripes will take part. Just as the businesses that figured out how to use mechanized equipment in the industrial age were the ones to thrive, those who are able to make use of this data do the equivalent in our time. And Google and Facebook have figured out how to use all these data points to target ads with the granular precision of a drone strike on an ISIS commander emerging for a cigarette from a bunker somewhere in Syria at 3:13 P.M. So far, this data has been obtained via computers and mobile devices. But with the rise of personal digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Home Mini, and Apple’s Siri—now in a third of American homes, with triple-digit sales growth a year—the human voice is the new gold. While reports of Alexa and Siri “listening in” on conversations and phone calls are disputed, there is no question that they can hear every word you say—and from there, it is a short step to them using that knowledge to direct your purchasing decisions.

pages: 437 words: 105,934

#Republic: Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media by Cass R. Sunstein

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Bernie Sanders, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, Donald Trump, drone strike, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, friendly fire, global village, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, Jane Jacobs, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, obamacare, prediction markets, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, stem cell, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wisdom of Crowds, WikiLeaks

Siyed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik had exchanged private messages about jihad and martyrdom, and after the attack Malik posted a note on Facebook on behalf of herself and her husband pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a leader of ISIL.16 Though rare, “lone-wolf” terrorist attacks do occur, and online platforms help to radicalize people, including potential and actual attackers.17 One study finds that after 9/11, online social networks played a primary role in radicalization.18 It concludes that at the root of this change is technology. With the rise of Internet chat rooms, conspiracy websites, Facebook and Twitter, online activists can connect scattered people who are worried about everything from drone strikes to a one-world government and the pending imposition of martial law in the United States and tell them that they do not worry in isolation. Moreover, radicalization is often caused by an affinity with online sympathizers.19 ISIL has also sought to recruit people to travel to its self-proclaimed caliphate in Syria and Iraq. As of September 2015, roughly 250 Americans traveled or attempted to travel to Syria, with about 150 succeeding in doing so.20 The average was about 10 Americans per month between 2014 and mid-2015 (according to FBI director James Comey, that figure declined sharply to about 1 person per month as of May 2016).21 While the numbers are not large, a feature that ties these people together is that they are active in online jihadist circles, and are prolific posters on social media.22 Consider a journalistic account of how ISIL targeted a lonely twenty-three-year-old American woman on Twitter, e-mail, and Skype.23 ISIL recruiters sought to isolate her from other viewpoints online and in her community, politely answering her questions while slowly indoctrinating her and pushing her toward more extreme perspectives.

pages: 324 words: 106,699

Permanent Record by Edward Snowden

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Berlin Wall, call centre, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, job-hopping, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Occupy movement, pattern recognition, peak oil, pre–internet, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, trade route, WikiLeaks, zero day

I sat on the couch I’d inherited from my mother’s condo and gazed through the window into the street beyond as a neighbor honked the horn of his parked car. I couldn’t shake the idea that I’d wasted the last decade of my life. The previous ten years had been a cavalcade of American-made tragedy: the forever war in Afghanistan, catastrophic regime change in Iraq, indefinite detentions at Guantánamo Bay, extraordinary renditions, torture, targeted killings of civilians—even of American civilians—via drone strikes. Domestically, there was the Homeland Securitization of everything, which assigned a threat rating to every waking day (Red–Severe, Orange–High, Yellow–Elevated), and, from the Patriot Act on, the steady erosion of civil liberties, the very liberties we were allegedly fighting to protect. The cumulative damage—the malfeasance in aggregate—was staggering to contemplate and felt entirely irreversible, and yet we were still honking our horns and flashing our lights in jubilation.

pages: 972 words: 259,764

The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam by Max Boot

American ideology, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Charles Lindbergh, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, desegregation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, drone strike, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Golden Gate Park, jitney, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, Potemkin village, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, War on Poverty, white picket fence, Works Progress Administration

He would have been cheered by the success of American advisory missions in countries such as El Salvador in the 1980s and Colombia in the 2000s, and he would have been particularly satisfied to see the Army’s Green Berets taking the lead in such operations, because he had been instrumental in giving them the counterinsurgency mission in the first place. FOR ALL the superficial resurgence of “Lansdalism” in the twenty-first century, there were also strong countervailing pressures that led the United States to eschew the kind of political action that the “Ugly American” had advocated. The costly and drawn-out wars in Iraq and Afghanistan led many policymakers to prefer drone strikes and Special Operations raids to kill terrorist leaders. Yet while such operations were more precise and lethal than ever before, groups such as Al Qaeda and the Taliban were able to survive the loss of their leaders. As Lansdale had warned, “kinetic” action could not be decisive in a war among the people. The United States did take steps to promote democracy in both Iraq and Afghanistan—but only up to a point.

., 439 Dodd, Christopher, 453 Dodd, Thomas, 452–53 Doi Moi, 598 Dominican Republic, xxvii, 504–5 domino theory, 340 Donovan, Bill, 34, 35, 36–37, 99, 151, 164, 271 grave of, 595 Dooley, Thomas, 223–25, 227 Dornan, Bob, 589 Douglas, Helen Gahagan, 552 Douglas, William O., 207, 208 Dower, John, 56 Downey, John “Jack,” 231–32 Draper, Theodore, 377 Draper, William Henry, Jr., 327 Draper Committee, 327–30, 415 drone strikes, 601 Duarte, José Napoleón, 590 Dulles, Allen, 99, 101, 143, 148, 159, 191, 353, 421, 603 background of, 150–52 and Battle of Saigon, 265 Bay of Pigs planned by, 376–77 in Defense meeting on Vietnam, 190 EGL advised by, 153 EGL sent to Saigon by, 194 EGL’s Philippine holiday approved by, 284 EGL’s protest about Diem to, 289 Heath replaced by, 237 National Security Medal won by, 164 and North Vietnamese refugees, 222 and Philippine election of 1953, 160 and uprising against Diem, 264 Dulles, Eleanor, 152 Dulles, John Foster, 148, 150, 152, 190, 194 and Battle of Saigon, 268, 269 death of, 330 and EGL’s duty in Vietnam, 190–91 EGL’s Philippine holiday approved by, 284 EGL’s protest about Diem to, 289 grave of, 595 Heath replaced by, 237 on need for support for Diem, 273 on Orient’s need for single head of government, 282 and plan to make Diem ceremonial figure, 265 on uprising against Diem, 264 Dunkirk, N.Y., 25–26, 69 Dunn, John Michael, xxxvi Duong Van Duc, 248, 249, 250 Duong Van Minh (Big Minh), 428 in charge of Vietnam, xxxvii in coup against Diem, xxxvi, 568 Diem’s promotion of, xxxiv made president, 426, 568 replacement as president of, 445 Durbrow, Elbridge, 374 background of, 337, 350 desire for transfer of Nhu, 336–37 replacement of, 355 Durdin, F.

pages: 1,042 words: 273,092

The Silk Roads: A New History of the World by Peter Frankopan

access to a mobile phone, Admiral Zheng, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, British Empire, clean water, Columbian Exchange, credit crunch, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, drone strike, energy security, European colonialism, failed state, financial innovation, Isaac Newton, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, Malacca Straits, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murano, Venice glass, New Urbanism, Ronald Reagan, sexual politics, South China Sea, spice trade, statistical model, Stuxnet, the built environment, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade route, transcontinental railway, uranium enrichment, wealth creators, WikiLeaks, yield management, Yom Kippur War

Iraq was all but engulfed in civil war following the fall of Baghdad and the major insurgency that followed, while in Afghanistan reaction to the intervention was as resourceful and determined as it had been against the Soviet Union in the 1980s, with Pakistan again providing crucial support for the hardline resistance fighters. Many thousands of servicemen gave their lives, while more than 150,000 US veterans are listed as suffering from wounds and injuries that rank them as being at least 70 per cent disabled.70 This comes on top of the hundreds of thousands of Afghan and Iraqi civilians killed or wounded in military action or – by virtue of being in the wrong place at the wrong time in cross-fire, drone strikes or car bombings – as ‘collateral damage’.71 Financial costs galloped upwards at an astonishing pace. One recent survey estimates the cost of engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan as being as high as $6 trillion – or $75,000 for every American household once long-term medical care and disability compensation is taken into account. This represents around 20 per cent of the rise in US national debt between 2001 and 2012.72 That the effect of the interventions has been more limited than hoped only makes things worse.

Efforts to control the media in Iraq post-Saddam, where the concept of freedom would be trumpeted by journalists using ‘approved US Government information’ to underline ‘hopes for a prosperous democratic future’, evoked memories of Soviet-style commissars sanctioning stories based not on reality but on a dream.76 On top of that come extra-judicial renditions, torture on an institutional scale and drone strikes against figures deemed – but not necessarily proven – to be threats. It says a great deal about the sophistication and pluralism of the west that these issues can be debated in public, and that many are horrified by the hypocrisy of the message of the primacy of democracy on the one hand and the practice of imperial power on the other. So appalled were some that they decided to leak classified information that laid bare just how policy was created: pragmatically, on the hoof and often with little thought about international law and justice.

pages: 394 words: 112,770

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, centre right, disintermediation, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, forensic accounting, illegal immigration, impulse control, Jeff Bezos, Jeffrey Epstein, obamacare, Peter Thiel, Renaissance Technologies, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, Travis Kalanick, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

That was the failure of American intelligence. “I think Comey is a third-rate guy. I think Brennan is a second-rate guy,” Bannon said, dismissing the FBI director and the CIA director. “The White House right now is like Johnson’s White House in 1968. Susan Rice”—Obama’s National Security Advisor—“is running the campaign against ISIS as a National Security Advisor. They’re picking the targets, she’s picking the drone strikes. I mean, they’re running the war with just as much effectiveness as Johnson in sixty-eight. The Pentagon is totally disengaged from the whole thing. Intel services are disengaged from the whole thing. The media has let Obama off the hook. Take the ideology away from it, this is complete amateur hour. I don’t know what Obama does. Nobody on Capitol Hill knows him, no business guys know him—what has he accomplished, what does he do?”

pages: 441 words: 113,244

Seasteading: How Floating Nations Will Restore the Environment, Enrich the Poor, Cure the Sick, and Liberate Humanity From Politicians by Joe Quirk, Patri Friedman

3D printing, access to a mobile phone, addicted to oil, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, business climate, business cycle, business process, California gold rush, Celtic Tiger, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, Colonization of Mars, Dean Kamen, Deng Xiaoping, drone strike, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, failed state, financial intermediation, Gini coefficient, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kickstarter, low skilled workers, Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, minimum wage unemployment, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, offshore financial centre, open borders, paypal mafia, peak oil, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, price stability, profit motive, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, standardized shipping container, stem cell, trade route, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, undersea cable, young professional

Our aquapreneur friends who work on the frontier of law to build algae farms and hospital ships are not afraid of Barbados or Bora-Bora. They are afraid of the mighty nations that control continents and crush by confiscation. Citizens of existing nations must endure wars they can’t refuse to fund, hurricanes they can’t dodge, earthquakes and tornadoes they can’t predict, and politicians whose schemes they can’t refuse to participate in. The dynamic nation that Patri and Joe reside in already orders drone strikes on wedding parties, spies on innocent people who aren’t even citizens, initiates more than a hundred SWAT team raids every day against nonviolent citizens, imprisons one out of every hundred adults, and runs up debts that today’s toddlers have to pay back with their future labor. These are the sorts of intractably worsening problems that emerge from a century of no market competition among governments.

pages: 390 words: 109,870

Radicals Chasing Utopia: Inside the Rogue Movements Trying to Change the World by Jamie Bartlett

Andrew Keen, back-to-the-land, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, blue-collar work, Boris Johnson, brain emulation, centre right, clean water, cryptocurrency, Donald Trump, drone strike, Elon Musk, energy security, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, failed state, gig economy, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, life extension, Occupy movement, off grid, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, postnationalism / post nation state, precariat, QR code, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Rosa Parks, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart contracts, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, technoutopianism

He started reading up about Islamic State online, and—the authorities now suspect—got involved with extreme Islamists who ran a stall in Birmingham city centre. He started becoming more religiously observant, and sometimes more confrontational. ‘Something had been ignited in him,’ his mother said later. Six months after leaving the United Kingdom, Rasheed was killed near Sinjar by shrapnel from a coalition drone strike.1 Rasheed was one of an estimated 800 UK nationals—and thousands of other Muslims living in Western democracies—who have been lured to Iraq or Syria by a very simple but powerful narrative: that the West hates you, and as a Muslim you have a religious duty to come to Syria and join Islamic State. His story is repeated by thousands of other young Muslims living in Western democracies. Around 6,000 have travelled from Europe, with most coming from Germany, France and the United Kingdom.

pages: 443 words: 116,832

The Hacker and the State: Cyber Attacks and the New Normal of Geopolitics by Ben Buchanan

active measures, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, British Empire, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, credit crunch, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, family office, hive mind, Internet Archive, Jacob Appelbaum, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, kremlinology, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Nate Silver, profit motive, RAND corporation, ransomware, risk tolerance, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, undersea cable, uranium enrichment, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier, WikiLeaks, zero day

As of 2008, NSA files claim that “over 300 terrorists [were] captured using intelligence from XKEYSCORE.”73 These targets in many cases communicated through internet links or companies that the NSA could access. The content of their messages helped the Five Eyes better track and find them. So, too, did the existence of the communications themselves, which analysts call metadata—who is talking to whom, from where, and so on. With enough intercepted metadata, analysts can assemble a detailed picture of members of a terrorist group, enabling the targeting of drone strikes or commando raids. As Michael Hayden, the former director of the NSA and CIA, noted, “We kill people based on metadata.”74 Whatever the goal, this combination of passive collection and corporate access plus massive storage and rich analytical tools gives intelligence analysts a lot of power. When they develop new questions, the signals intelligence system can provide answers. Analysts tracking foreign hackers can better observe the command and control infrastructure they employ and the hacking tools they use.75 Analysts with a focus on a particular country can gather large hauls of emails flowing out of its presidential palace or defense ministry.

pages: 476 words: 124,973

The Desert and the Sea: 977 Days Captive on the Somali Pirate Coast by Michael Scott Moore

Albert Einstein, British Empire, clean water, Columbine, drone strike, European colonialism, Filipino sailors, fixed income, half of the world's population has never made a phone call, Nelson Mandela, South China Sea, UNCLOS

* The Sa’ad are a subclan of the Habar Gidir, who in turn are a subdivision of the Hawiye. * See The Road to Hell, by Michael Maren. * Full name Xalane Ma’lin Dare, though he tried to go by “Mohammed.” * “The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth” (Ecclesiastes 7:4). Not that I felt wise. * Seen two years later in Eye in the Sky, a fictional thriller about an American drone strike in Eastleigh, the Somali neighborhood of Nairobi. * Pronounced dersi. * Pronounced hero. * From Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number. * Now the Hostage Support Partnership, not part of the U.N. * Hassan Sheikh Mohamud became president of the Federal Republic of Somalia in 2012. * The Pirate Princeling. * Pronounced taleeya, meaning “commander.” * Probably one hundred thousand dollars, for about ten guards

pages: 587 words: 117,894

Cybersecurity: What Everyone Needs to Know by P. W. Singer, Allan Friedman

4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blood diamonds, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business continuity plan, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, do-ocracy, drone strike, Edward Snowden, energy security, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fault tolerance, global supply chain, Google Earth, Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, M-Pesa, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, packet switching, Peace of Westphalia, pre–internet, profit motive, RAND corporation, ransomware, RFC: Request For Comment, risk tolerance, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, Steve Jobs, Stuxnet, uranium enrichment, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, WikiLeaks, zero day, zero-sum game

But terrorists have also spread their peculiar type of knowledge, or what security experts call “TTPs” (short for tactics, techniques, and procedures), in ways not possible before. The recipes for explosives are readily available on the Internet, as are terrorist-provided designs for IEDs for use across conflict zones from Iraq to Afghanistan. This diffusion of terror teachings has been hugely important as these groups have found fewer and fewer training spaces free from global drone strikes. The transfer of knowledge is not just about the “how” of a terror attack, but also the “who” and the “where” on the targeting side. Groups use cyberspace as a low-cost, low-risk venue to gather intelligence in ways they could only dream about a generation ago. For example, no terrorist group has the financial resources to afford a spy satellite to scope out targets with pinpoint precision, let alone the capability to build and launch one into space.

pages: 461 words: 125,845

This Machine Kills Secrets: Julian Assange, the Cypherpunks, and Their Fight to Empower Whistleblowers by Andy Greenberg

Apple II, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Burning Man, Chelsea Manning, computerized markets, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, domain-specific language, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, fault tolerance, hive mind, Jacob Appelbaum, Julian Assange, Mahatma Gandhi, Mitch Kapor, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Mohammed Bouazizi, nuclear winter, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Richard Stallman, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, social graph, statistical model, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, undersea cable, Vernor Vinge, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, X Prize, Zimmermann PGP

Now they’ve found themselves on opposing sides, vying for the fate of the world’s information. And it’s Mudge’s move. The Collateral Murder video was only the overture to Assange’s magnum opus of leaks. Just days after Jacob Appelbaum’s call-to-arms speech at the HOPE conference, the first wave hit: seventy-six thousand documents from the Afghan War, detailing every significant action over nine years of skirmishes and pitched battles, every casualty and drone strike gone awry. The Pentagon wasn’t surprised by the blowout leak—it had already read the chat logs of its prime suspect and thrown him in a military stockade. But there was little else the most powerful military in the world could do in its escalating battle with WikiLeaks other than issue rhetoric. Admiral Mike Mullen and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates criticized WikiLeaks’ release and lack of discretion in failing to redact names of informants, with Mullen stating in a press conference that the group “might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier.”

pages: 410 words: 119,823

Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life by Adam Greenfield

3D printing, Airbnb, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, bank run, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, business intelligence, business process, call centre, cellular automata, centralized clearinghouse, centre right, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, collective bargaining, combinatorial explosion, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, Conway's Game of Life, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, dematerialisation, digital map, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, drone strike, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, fiat currency, global supply chain, global village, Google Glasses, IBM and the Holocaust, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late capitalism, license plate recognition, lifelogging, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, megacity, megastructure, minimum viable product, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, natural language processing, Network effects, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, Pearl River Delta, performance metric, Peter Eisenman, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, post scarcity, post-work, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, RFID, rolodex, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart contracts, social intelligence, sorting algorithm, special economic zone, speech recognition, stakhanovite, statistical model, stem cell, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Future of Employment, transaction costs, Uber for X, undersea cable, universal basic income, urban planning, urban sprawl, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

As for the commonplace assertion that those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear, consider the sentiment often attributed to Richelieu, and salient whatever its actual provenance: “If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them with which to hang him.” This has never been truer than it is in our age of metadata, when analysis of large bodies of data may turn up correlations we weren’t ourselves aware of, when drone strikes and acts of extraordinary rendition have been authorized for the most glancing and seemingly coincidental constellations of fact. So, yes: the internet of things is a sprawling and complex domain of possibility, and it would be foolish to avoid investigating it energetically and in good faith. But we would be wise to approach that investigation with an unusually strong leavening of skepticism, and in particular to resist its attempts to gather data regarding ourselves, our whereabouts, our activities and our affiliations, whatever the blandishments of ease, convenience or self-mastery on offer.

pages: 993 words: 318,161

Fall; Or, Dodge in Hell by Neal Stephenson

Ada Lovelace, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, bitcoin, blockchain, cloud computing, coherent worldview, computer vision, crossover SUV, cryptocurrency, defense in depth, demographic transition, distributed ledger, drone strike, easy for humans, difficult for computers, game design, index fund, Jaron Lanier, life extension, microbiome, Network effects, off grid, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, planetary scale, ride hailing / ride sharing, sensible shoes, short selling, Silicon Valley, telepresence, telepresence robot, telerobotics, The Hackers Conference, Turing test, Works Progress Administration

He had a huge pair of Soviet military surplus binoculars mounted on a tripod at the railing. As their ferry had churned away from the terminal, Richard had perched Sophia on a stool and helped her get the lenses aimed down at the ferry, where Zula and Csongor, after parking their car belowdecks, had ascended to the topmost deck and stationed themselves at the stern to wave up at her. The whole affair had been coordinated via text message and had come off with the precision of a drone strike, all to the delight of little Sophia. Richard had been unaccountably depressed by it, or perhaps “ruminatively melancholy” was a better way of putting it. Forty-eight hours of intensive grandniece/great-uncle bonding had ensued. In that short time Sophia’s apparatus of modern kiddom had permeated Richard’s apartment. Even if she never again set foot in this place, he would be finding Cheerios, glitter, sticky handprints, and barrettes for the next twenty years.

“I’m not a lawyer,” Corvallis said. They both looked at Dr. Trinh, who held his hands up as if under arrest and shook his head. Stan Peterson—who was, in fact, a lawyer—was there half an hour later. He had canceled all of his appointments, he wanted it known. He did not announce this in a self-congratulatory manner. He just wanted Zula to understand that the full resources of Argenbright Vail, up to and including drone strikes and private rocket ships, were at her and the family’s disposal. “Alice is on a plane,” Zula told him. “She’ll be here late tonight.” Stan looked a little nonplussed. “Richard’s sister-in-law,” Zula explained. “She’ll be the executor?” Zula shook her head no and glanced at the will. “She’s just the most senior next of kin, I guess you would say. I don’t know how it works. If we’re going to do something—to pull the plug or whatever—she would want to be in on it.”

pages: 474 words: 130,575

Surveillance Valley: The Rise of the Military-Digital Complex by Yasha Levine

23andMe, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, Anne Wojcicki, anti-communist, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, bitcoin, borderless world, British Empire, call centre, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, collaborative editing, colonial rule, computer age, computerized markets, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, digital map, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Edward Snowden, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, George Gilder, ghettoisation, global village, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Hangouts, Howard Zinn, hypertext link, IBM and the Holocaust, index card, Jacob Appelbaum, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, life extension, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, plutocrats, Plutocrats, private military company, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, slashdot, Snapchat, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Hackers Conference, uber lyft, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks

Willing to accept the consequences,” the right-wing talk show personality (@glennbeck) tweeted on June 9, 2013, https://twitter.com/glennbeck/status/343816977929867265. 49. Bamford, “Edward Snowden: The Untold Story.” 50. Barton Gellman, “Edward Snowden, After Months of NSA Revelations, Says His Mission’s Accomplished,” Washington Post, December 23, 2013. 51. Scott Shane, “Documents on 2012 Drone Strike Detail How Terrorists Are Targeted,” New York Times, June 24, 2015. 52. Dave Cole, “We Kill People Based on Metadata,” New York Review of Books, May 10, 2014, http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2014/05/10/we-kill-people-based-metadata/. 53. Micah Lee, “Edward Snowden Explains How to Reclaim Your Privacy,” The Intercept, November 12, 2015, https://theintercept.com/2015/11/12 /edward-snowden-explains-how-to-reclaim-your-privacy/. 54.

pages: 459 words: 138,689

Slowdown: The End of the Great Acceleration―and Why It’s Good for the Planet, the Economy, and Our Lives by Danny Dorling, Kirsten McClure

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, British Empire, business cycle, capital controls, clean water, creative destruction, credit crunch, Donald Trump, drone strike, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Flynn Effect, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Henri Poincaré, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, jimmy wales, John Harrison: Longitude, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, Mark Zuckerberg, market clearing, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mortgage debt, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, price stability, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, random walk, rent control, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, sexual politics, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, structural adjustment programs, the built environment, Tim Cook: Apple, transatlantic slave trade, trickle-down economics, very high income, wealth creators, wikimedia commons, working poor

Tim Jackson, Chasing Progress: Beyond Measuring Economic Growth (London: New Economics Foundation, 2004), https://neweconomics.org/2004/03/chasing-progress. 17. George Monbiot, “Goodbye, Kind World,” 10 August 2004, https://www.monbiot.com/2004/08/10/goodbye-kind-world/. 18. Drones controlled by men sitting in the United States target people on the other side of the planet. These weapons are used not only in war, but also in countries that are not officially at war with the United States. During his presidency, George W. Bush ordered 57 drone strikes in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. His successor, Barack Obama, ordered 563—including one in Yemen that erroneously killed fifty-five civilians, including twenty-one children (ten of them under the age of five) and twelve women, five of whom were pregnant. Jessica Purkiss and Jack Serle, “Obama’s Covert Drone War in Numbers: Ten Times More Strikes Than Bush,” Bureau of Investigative Journalism, 17 January 2017, https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2017-01-17/obamas-covert-drone-war-in-numbers-ten-times-more-strikes-than-bush. 19.

pages: 492 words: 153,565

Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon by Kim Zetter

Ayatollah Khomeini, Brian Krebs, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, Doomsday Clock, drone strike, Edward Snowden, facts on the ground, Firefox, friendly fire, Google Earth, information retrieval, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Loma Prieta earthquake, Maui Hawaii, MITM: man-in-the-middle, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, smart grid, smart meter, South China Sea, Stuxnet, undersea cable, uranium enrichment, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier, WikiLeaks, Y2K, zero day

The documents describe NSA elite hacker forces at Fort Meade and at regional centers in Georgia, Texas, Colorado, and Hawaii, who provide US Cyber Command with the attack tools and techniques it needs for counterterrorism operations. But the government cyberwarriors have also worked with the FBI and CIA on digital spy operations, including assisting the CIA in tracking targets for its drone assassination campaign. To track Hassan Ghul, an associate of Osama bin Laden who was killed in a drone strike in 2012, the NSA deployed “an arsenal of cyber-espionage tools” to seize control of laptops, siphon audio files, and track radio transmissions—all to determine where Ghul might “bed down” at night, according to Snowden documents obtained by the Washington Post.30 And since 2001, the NSA has also penetrated a vast array of systems used by al-Qaeda associates in Yemen, Africa, and elsewhere to collect intelligence it can’t otherwise obtain through bulk-data collection programs from internet companies like Google and Yahoo or from taps of undersea cables and internet nodes.

pages: 527 words: 147,690

Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection by Jacob Silverman

23andMe, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, basic income, Brian Krebs, California gold rush, call centre, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, drone strike, Edward Snowden, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, game design, global village, Google Chrome, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, license plate recognition, life extension, lifelogging, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Minecraft, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, national security letter, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, payday loans, Peter Thiel, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, pre–internet, price discrimination, price stability, profit motive, quantitative hedge fund, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent control, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, social graph, social intelligence, social web, sorting algorithm, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, telemarketer, transportation-network company, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, unpaid internship, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zipcar

We’re really struggling against just a really massive surveillance-military-prison-industrial complex. The ACLU looks really good, but we punch above our weight. We’re a relatively small organization. There aren’t really very many organizations doing the work we do, as far as cutting across the digital and [physical world] boundaries.” Indeed, the ACLU’s slate is a full one, tackling cases and policies related to anything from mass incarceration to drone strikes, the drug war to immigration, LGBT rights to CIA torture. Despite any limitations it might have in terms of funding or number of personnel, the ACLU is well served by this expansive portfolio, particularly when its representatives, such as Crockford, acknowledge that many of these issues remain interconnected. For example, addressing government surveillance inevitably involves considering issues of corporate surveillance and data collection, the so-called war on terror, and civil liberties.

pages: 479 words: 144,453

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

23andMe, agricultural Revolution, algorithmic trading, Anne Wojcicki, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, call centre, Chris Urmson, cognitive dissonance, Columbian Exchange, computer age, Deng Xiaoping, don't be evil, drone strike, European colonialism, experimental subject, falling living standards, Flash crash, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, glass ceiling, global village, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Minecraft, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, mutually assured destruction, new economy, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, placebo effect, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, stem cell, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, too big to fail, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, ultimatum game, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game

asked the mischievous researchers. ‘Nothing, just a flash of light,’ said the left hemisphere, and the patient immediately giggled again, covering her mouth with her hand. ‘Why are you laughing then?’ they insisted. The bewildered left-hemisphere interpreter – struggling for some rational explanation – replied that one of the machines in the room looked very funny.13 It’s as if the CIA conducts a drone strike in Pakistan, unbeknown to the US State Department. When a journalist grills State Department officials about it, they make up some plausible explanation. In reality, the spin doctors don’t have a clue why the strike was ordered, so they just invent something. A similar mechanism is employed by all human beings, not just by split-brain patients. Again and again my own private CIA does things without the approval or knowledge of my State Department, and then my State Department cooks up a story that presents me in the best possible light.

pages: 559 words: 155,372

Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley by Antonio Garcia Martinez

Airbnb, airport security, always be closing, Amazon Web Services, Burning Man, Celtic Tiger, centralized clearinghouse, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, disruptive innovation, drone strike, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, Emanuel Derman, financial independence, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, hive mind, income inequality, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, intermodal, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, means of production, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, MITM: man-in-the-middle, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, Paul Graham, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, Scientific racism, second-price auction, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, social web, Socratic dialogue, source of truth, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, undersea cable, urban renewal, Y Combinator, zero-sum game, éminence grise

Nobody thinks AT&T should be shut down when criminals use the phone system to commit a crime, or the US Postal Service regulated when a terrorist sends a bomb through the mail. But the average Facebook user considers the service to be some sort of frivolous toy, rather than a social utility on par with running water, and therefore thinks we can just shut it down if it seems to harbor any hint of criminality. Like the CIA not exactly advertising the drone strike that vaporized a vehicle in some godforsaken land and prevented the next terrorist tragedy from happening, Facebook keeps quiet all it does for users to protect them from humanity’s worst. Whine if you must about the odd erroneously flagged post, but spare a thought for the Facebook security team, those dedicated geeks in the watchtower. They’ve likely put away as many (if not more) bad guys than your local law enforcement agency, and they keep their vigilant guard with nary a thanks from users.

pages: 561 words: 163,916

The History of the Future: Oculus, Facebook, and the Revolution That Swept Virtual Reality by Blake J. Harris

4chan, airport security, Anne Wojcicki, Asian financial crisis, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, call centre, computer vision, cryptocurrency, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, drone strike, Elon Musk, financial independence, game design, Grace Hopper, illegal immigration, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jony Ive, Kickstarter, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Minecraft, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, Oculus Rift, Peter Thiel, QR code, sensor fusion, side project, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, slashdot, Snapchat, software patent, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, unpaid internship, white picket fence

Who, obviously, I didn’t vote for . . .” “You were Romney in 2012?” Chen asked. “No: Gary Johnson.” “What about in 2008?” “I was sixteen!” Luckey responded. Chen cracked up and Luckey continued. “But my point is that just because they voted for Obama, I don’t take that to mean they agree with him 100 percent. I’m not, like, oh, you voted for Obama? I didn’t realize you supported civilian drone strikes!” Luckey had guessed that Chen would be more open-minded than his colleagues; and he knew that guess had been correct when Chen followed up not with the usual tsk-tsk, but with a genuine ask of why. “Give it to me,” Chen said. “Give me the case for Trump.” “First,” Luckey said, picking up his phone, “I want to show you something.” Luckey opened up the Facebook app, but then remembered he had already deleted the post he wanted to show Chen.

How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States by Daniel Immerwahr

Albert Einstein, book scanning, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, citizen journalism, City Beautiful movement, clean water, colonial rule, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Donald Trump, drone strike, European colonialism, friendly fire, gravity well, Haber-Bosch Process, Howard Zinn, immigration reform, land reform, Mercator projection, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, transcontinental railway, urban planning, wikimedia commons

metaphor of the network: A helpful exploration is Stuart Elden, Terror and Territory: The Spatial Extent of Sovereignty (Minneapolis, 2009). “Taliban-plinking”: Benjamin S. Lambeth, Air Power Against Terror: America’s Conduct of Operation Enduring Freedom (Santa Monica, CA, 2005), 95–96. “The planes” … “The American forces”: Lawrence, Messages to the World, 182. Drones have killed: Figures discussed in Chris Woods, “Understanding the Gulf Between Public and U.S. Government Estimates of Civilian Casualties in Covert Drone Strikes,” in Drones and the Future of Armed Conflict: Ethical, Legal, and Strategic Implications, ed. David Cortright, Rachel Fairhurst, and Kristen Wall (Chicago, 2015), 186. An excellent guide to drones is Peter L. Bergen and Daniel Rothenberg, eds., Drone Wars: Transforming Conflict, Law, and Policy (New York, 2015). “We’re not a colonial”: “Secretary Rumsfeld Interview with Al Jazeera,” February 25, 2003, www.digitaljournal.com/article/34851.

pages: 677 words: 206,548

Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It by Marc Goodman

23andMe, 3D printing, active measures, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, data is the new oil, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, don't be evil, double helix, Downton Abbey, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, global pandemic, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, High speed trading, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, illegal immigration, impulse control, industrial robot, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, lifelogging, litecoin, low earth orbit, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, Parag Khanna, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, security theater, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, uranium enrichment, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Wave and Pay, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, Westphalian system, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, zero day

., “Transcontinental Robot-Assisted Remote Telesurgery: Feasibility and Potential Applications,” Annals of Surgery 235, no. 4 (2002): 300–301. 10 Though the gains: For a definitive view into the world of military robotics, see Peter W. Singer’s seminal Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century (New York: Penguin Books, 2009). 11 In 2003: Mitch Joel, “The Booming Business of Drones,” Harvard Business Review, Jan. 4, 2013. 12 Today the United States: Michael C. Horowitz, “The Looming Robotics Gap,” Foreign Policy, May 5, 2014. 13 These machines are well armed: Craig Whitlock, “Drone Strikes Killing More Civilians Than U.S. Admits,” Washington Post, Oct. 22, 2013. 14 In 2011, it was estimated: David Axe, “One in 50 Troops in Afghanistan Is a Robot,” Wired, Feb. 7, 2011; Sharon Gaudin, “U.S. Military May Have 10 Robots per Soldier by 2023,” Computerworld, Nov. 14, 2013. 15 The company has also created: Mark Prigg, “Google-Owned ‘Big Dog’ Robot in First Live Trial with Marines,” Mail Online, July 14, 2014. 16 Other UGVs: “Cheetah Robot ‘Runs Faster Than Usain Bolt,’ ” BBC News, Sept. 6, 2012; “March of the Robots,” Economist, June 2, 2012. 17 Remote pilots sitting: “Rise of the Drones,” NOVA, PBS, Jan. 23, 2013. 18 UAVs have become central: Teal Group, “Teal Group Predicts Worldwide UAV Market Will Total $89 Billion,” June 17, 2013; Michael C.

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Fall Out: A Year of Political Mayhem by Tim Shipman

banking crisis, Beeching cuts, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, centre right, Clapham omnibus, Corn Laws, corporate governance, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, drone strike, Etonian, eurozone crisis, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, iterative process, John Bercow, Kickstarter, kremlinology, land value tax, mutually assured destruction, Neil Kinnock, new economy, non-tariff barriers, offshore financial centre, open borders, quantitative easing, Ronald Reagan, Snapchat, working poor

It was 29 May, and the first televised showdown of the campaign for the prime minister – a joint Sky News/Channel 4 production. Paxman went first. The veteran inquisitor was at his most sneering, asking the prime minister if her U-turns – National Insurance, social care and an early election – would lead EU negotiators to conclude that she was a ‘blowhard who collapses at the first sign of gunfire’. Corbyn dealt better with the incoming fire. He refused to say that he would back a drone strike against a terrorist plotting overseas to attack the UK, dismissing it as a ‘hypothetical question’. Where May had been petrified before Paxman, Corbyn was playful. When the interviewer asked why, as a lifelong republican, his party’s manifesto was not openly seeking to abolish the monarchy, Corbyn leaned forward and smiled. ‘Look, there’s nothing in there as we’re not going to do it,’ he said.

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The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government by David Talbot

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Charles Lindbergh, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, drone strike, information retrieval, Internet Archive, land reform, means of production, Naomi Klein, Norman Mailer, operation paperclip, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation

Bush’s smugly confident conqueror of desert sands. And though they never met, Dulles also provided a template for Bush regent Dick Cheney’s executive absolutism and extreme security measures in the name of national defense. These men, too, firmly believed that “patriotism set no bounds” on their power. Today, other faceless security bureaucrats continue to carry on Dulles’s work—playing God with drone strikes from above and utilizing Orwellian surveillance technology that Dulles could only have dreamed about—with little understanding of the debt they owe to the founding father of modern American intelligence. Dead for nearly half a century, Dulles’s shadow still darkens the land. Those who enter the lobby of CIA headquarters are greeted by the stone likeness of Allen Welsh Dulles. “His Monument Is Around Us,” reads the inscription underneath the bas-relief sculpture.

I You We Them by Dan Gretton

agricultural Revolution, anti-communist, back-to-the-land, British Empire, clean water, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, conceptual framework, corporate social responsibility, Desert Island Discs, drone strike, European colonialism, financial independence, friendly fire, ghettoisation, Honoré de Balzac, IBM and the Holocaust, illegal immigration, invisible hand, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, laissez-faire capitalism, liberation theology, Mikhail Gorbachev, Milgram experiment, Neil Kinnock, Nelson Mandela, New Journalism, place-making, pre–internet, Stanford prison experiment, University of East Anglia, wikimedia commons

It does, I don’t think you’d be human if you didn’t. But I’ve got a family at home, and I need to be there for my family, so I deal with it. I talk to my wife about – just, general terms about what’s happened, obviously I can’t go into specifics … Yeah, I might be a little bit off … maybe in a bit of a strange mood for a day or so. Yet what about the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of civilian casualties from these drone strikes, and all the families destroyed from 8,000 miles away? What about the 201 children killed in drone attacks just in the period between 2001 and 2012?fn4 Presumably, not even the Pentagon could class these as ‘combatants’. And although the effect on the operators of drones is disturbing, the impact on those targeted is truly terrifying – especially when those killed and maimed have nothing whatsoever to do with ‘terrorism’: Gul Nawaz, from North Waziristan, was watering his fields when he heard the explosion of drone missiles: ‘I rushed to my house when I heard the blast.

Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House by Peter Baker

addicted to oil, anti-communist, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bob Geldof, buy low sell high, card file, clean water, collective bargaining, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, drone strike, energy security, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, friendly fire, guest worker program, hiring and firing, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Saturday Night Live, South China Sea, stem cell, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, War on Poverty, working poor, Yom Kippur War

The event was closed to reporters, but a transcript was provided to the author. 19 “I actually found my freedom”: Peter Baker, “Bush Dips a Toe Back into Washington,” New York Times, May 15, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/16/us/politics/george-w-bush-briefly-visits-washington.html. 20 “It was more like meeting”: Valerie Jarrett, author interview. 21 “carrying out Bush’s 4th term”: Ari Fleischer, Twitter message, June 6, 2013. He wrote: “Drone strikes. Wiretaps. Gitmo. O is carrying out Bush’s 4th term. Yet he attacked Bush 4 violating Constitution. # hypocrisy.” 22 “There’s no doubt that whatever”: Jay Winik, author interview. 23 “In retrospect, I probably”: George W. Bush, Decision Points, 259. 24 Seventy-one percent: Presidential Approval Ratings—George W. Bush, Gallup, http://www.gallup.com/poll/116500/presidential-approval-ratings-george-bush.aspx. 25 Academic scholars: Presidential Expert Poll, Siena College Research Institute, July 1, 2010.