Arnold Kling  

Kurzweil and War

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From my latest essay:


Ray Kurzweil argues that the information component of goods and services is rising relative to the value of the physical resources employed in production. All of our products are becoming information-intensive. Computer software and pharmaceuticals are bellwethers of this trend. If we ever achieve true nanotechnology (including molecular assemblers), then the information share of value will approach 100 percent, while the physical resource share will approach zero.

...The cheapening of material goods is leading to another paradigm shift in military affairs. It is becoming less and less costly to assemble and deliver weapons that can cause mass casualties and major economic loss...What we need in the information age is surveillance supremacy -- command of the spies, if you will.


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CATEGORIES: Growth: Consequences



COMMENTS (1 to date)
Randy writes:

Interesting. A couple of thoughts;

1. Information has value as an additive, not as a replacement. Good intel is very important and always has been (e.g., a primary value of airpower is the ability to observe the enemies movements). But someone still has to kick in the door and shoot people, or all that intel does nothing but keep spooks employed.

2. It wasn't Al Queda's invisibility that made them dangerous, but rather their ability to operate openly. It was only with Afghanistan as a "base" for operations that they were able to coordinate large operations. Driven underground, they have found it very difficult to do anything but post threats on radical websites. In my opinion the "whack a mole" strategy is exactly right. Keep an eye out for any concentration of force, and destroy it. The trick is to be in position to whack. The insurgent's tactics are the tactics of desperation - a last resort used only when unable to concentrate forces.

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