New technologies have put us on the brink of a significant upgrade to extremist violence. Specifically, it may now be possible to fully automate a terrorist attack or worse, a terrorist network. Here’s how:
Social networking already connects billions of people worldwide and it is rewiring us psychosocially. We can already see the disruptive effects of this, creating an environment conducive to extremism:
- It made it possible to topple governments across the Middle East.
- It enabled ISIS to recruit 30,000 people from across the world.
- It made the very rapid shift to self-activated terrorism (over the last year) possible.
Bots (software) build make it possible to automate extremist activities on and across social networks (as seen in the recent US election).
- Bots have demonstrated the spread and amplification of extremist disinfo.
- Bots can shape public discourse online.
- AI fueled bots will make it possible to completely automate the recruitment, grooming and activation of extremists.
Drones (hardware bots) make it possible to automate physical attacks. With relatively simple DIY modifications, drones can already:
- Carry a payload large enough to cause significant damage.
- Fly and navigate to a target w/o human support.
- Visually identify targets and take action autonomously.
Written on a cool summer morning near “the shot heard around the world”
PS: Automation of this type has the potential to leverage (on a grand scale) the breakdown of masculinity in the West to disruptive effect.