Member 2664
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Immortal since Jun 17, 2010
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mad-scientist and computer programmer looking for something more interesting than most people accept as their future
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    Self Defeating Goal
    Project: Polytopia

    DARPA is USA's military's advanced technology department. There's a lot of geniuses working there.

    Their goal is illogical in the context of game-theory and would be insane to continue working toward.

    I'm not generally against militaries. If my country was in danger and its military could not handle it, I would do something about it, whatever I thought would solve the problem most effectively for the least resources/cost/effort/problems. But theres a lot of things I don't like about those who control militaries to do certain things, sometimes including the primary purpose of their whole organization, as their website says. This is such an example:

    Quote from

    DARPA’s original mission, inspired by the Soviet Union beating the United States into space with Sputnik, was to prevent technological surprise. This mission has evolved over time. Today, DARPA’s mission is to prevent technological surprise for us and to create technological surprise for our adversaries.

    DARPA’s main tactic for executing its strategy is to constantly search worldwide for revolutionary high-payoff ideas and then sponsor projects bridging the gap between fundamental discoveries and the provision of new military capabilities.

    Like most other parts of the USA government (and most other governments), their individual parts are smarter than the whole government. In general, its a
    problem. Adding more parts complicates it more than its worth, and the whole system diverges into insanity. We see similar problems in computer programming in operating-systems that sometimes are millions of lines of code. Nobody knows how it works except for the few parts they've looked at and worked on. Governments are similar, and their goals are a result of that process that nobody understands.

    DARPA's goal, specificly the "prevent technological surprise for us and to create technological surprise for our adversaries" part, is self defeating. If your goal is to surprise your enemies that way, then anyone who is surprised that way is more likely to think that you think they are your enemy, and to keep your technology surprising to your enemies you have to keep it secret from your enemies and some of those who are not your enemies, therefore those who use a similar strategy tend to surprise you more that way, therefore you label them as your enemies (by symmetry of thinking your own strategy is a good one), therefore your strategy increases in cost and decreases in effectiveness over time, therefore your chance of accomplishing your goal decreases over time, therefore your strategy (except in rare cases) will fail.

    Considering how smart DARPA's people are, its surprising how they can follow a self-defeating goal that completely ignores any deep analysis using game-theory between countries.

    The goal could be improved by trying to not surprise (in that technology way) those who try to not surprise you. More generally, there would be less wars and more efficiency and productivity of the whole Human species if more governments decided to define their enemies as those who keep more secrets. If governments are not doing anything wrong, then they would have nothing to hide. That's what they say to us. Lets say it back to them. Accusations and secret laws about "national security" are a negative-sum-game, and, for example, DARPA is insane and illogical for defining its goal in terms of such a game it has a continuously decreasing chance of winning.

    Sun, Aug 15, 2010  Permanent link

    Sent to project: Polytopia
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    CoCreatr     Sun, Aug 15, 2010  Permanent link
    Oops. A conflict of interest. The goal of a good medical doctor should be to make his work not needed any more because the patient has healed.

    I agree that governments, using our time, energy, and money for a mandate of doing public good, are required to be transparent and accountable for what they do or neglect to do.On the other hand, the "nothing to hide" argument is just a fallacy, as Bruce Schneier has noted. It is the "faulty premise that privacy is about hiding a wrong."

    Now, I am not saying companies and governments should have more privacy. They should have much less than natural persons, because the risks and outcomes of unacceptable acts on their parts are so much more severe.

    What really gets to me about secrecy of technology is how it can be abused to hide much of what could be really helpful solutions to address energy and pollution once and for all. That stuff may be hidden "in the interest of national security", which is quite indistinguishable from being a favor to lobbyists to keep profitable the incumbent technology, which means old and nearly obsolete.

    Patent law, which is all about disclosure, needs an overhaul, too.
    BenRayfield     Sun, Aug 15, 2010  Permanent link
    The "nothing to hide" claim was started by such governments. I agree we should get to have more secrets than governments have.

    Its an important issue because the USA government is creating more weapons than it will ever use, creating more laws than anyone can ever read, increasing the money supply at exponential speed, funding propaganda to justify those things and get people to accept unreasonable changes like denying the right to a trial or free speech or changing the meaning of words to change the laws that are written using those words (like saying "consent" instead of "choose" or saying "lobby" instead of "bribe"). The whole USA government is out of control (nobody can control it, but some can influence it and use that to make things worse) and somebody working in it is taking as much money and power for themselves as they can (some people call that "normal" but I call it stealing and trying to take over the country without permission of their masters: the people of USA) and hiding their treason behind "national security". If I figure out which people in the USA government are doing it, no amount of "patriot act" or "national security" threats will stop me from exposing their treason in the most public way possible.
    CoCreatr     Sun, Aug 22, 2010  Permanent link
    Another take in HD video

    The internet as we've known it is in the process of being dismantled.

    Alex Jones

    Watch, verify and do what you feel needs to be done.
    BenRayfield     Sun, Aug 22, 2010  Permanent link
    This thread is more about the USA government's strategy of keeping the best technology secret from everyone (including their friends and enemies). I'll respond in a new thread: