Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Interwebs and Philosohy

In my Sunday geekiness, I took my wife and mother-in-law to Sunday dinner.  (That's a noon meal on the plains.)  I called my mother to wish her a happy Mother's Day, and I watched  C-SPAN 2 Book TV coverage of a Richard A. Clarke speech about his new book Cyber War.  Clarke's thesis is that the United States is probably well positioned to make cyber attacks, but may not be able to adequately defend itself from foreign attack.

His presentation made me think of Ecclesiastes 1:9 "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again;  there is nothing new under the sun."  Clark discussed the idea that mutually assured destruction is a model that may not work because North Korea and Iran are not sufficiently connected to the world community to suffer the same devastation as more connected societies.  He also claimed that we may need treaties saying that civilian targets like banking may not be destroyed.  I hope that holds true for power grids and civilian air traffic control as well.  In short, we'll need to rethink just war theory. In a Twitter world, I hope that we can do it in 140 characters

The idea of just war theory made me commit philosophy without a license.  If, as some claim, the postmodernists have have their roots in ancient Sophists, I am fairly certain that someone will attempt to create a theory that illustrates an "ideal form" of the internet.  Then we'll be hearing the new arguments between the 21st Century equivalents of Plato and Sophists.  This time the argument won't be about the ideal horse or human or chair, the argument will be about the ideal world created by 1s and 0s.  I hope the people in the position to make good arguments aren't too busy checking their email.

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