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Selections from 'Transformations in Intelligence and Control, Consequent the Technological Singularity'

Selections from 'Transformations in Intelligence and Control, Consequent the Technological Singularity', AMaster Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of American Military University by Jason Michael Pappafotis In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts, 2014


The word Cyberspace, and the ideas it was meant to convey in popular science fiction, derive from the more foundational term Cybernetics; which Norbert Wiener and colleagues adapted from the Greek word for "steerman" as a method of describing the science of control systems (1948, 11). In 1948 these scientists could not have understood how far reaching the adaptation of their terminology would become, even though their approach was impressively multidisciplinary. In the wake of the Industrial Revolution and a boom in electronic technologies, Wiener and his colleagues were most interested in directly observing and characterizing how animals and "computing machines" control and interface with their associated mechanical systems (948, 116). This is the foundation of the idea that information science was the key to control of mechanical systems, yet these researchers had not yet seen the power of distributed networks of computers or the idea of global interfaces of information. This illuminates the beginnings and importance of how information and electronics can be used to control mechanical systems, but only after the advent of the Internet was it understood how significant this idea could become.

Complex Systems - from 'Transformations in Intelligence and Control, Consequent the Technological Singularity' by Jason Pappafotis

Equally important to an understanding of interconnectedness and the bridge between physical reality and Cyberspace, is an understanding of complex systems and how distributed intelligence and distributed control can be significantly more powerful than a centralized control system or leader, such as a human brain controlling a single body or a king controlling a single kingdom. Distributed complex systems are seen in the swarming behavior of birds and insects, where a group of individual beings act as a single larger entity rather than deciding to behave independently. Independence and freedom are terms valued in democratic governments where the individual is as important as the whole. However, in large colonies or swarms of animals the whole is typically much more important than each individual. This is not only a study in Complexity or Chaos, but a direct study of how governments and societies function. It is then easy to see how interconnected, distributed behavior of people and systems on the internet has significant implications to how governments and individuals operate on Earth while connected via Cyberspace. Leaderless distributed governmental and non-governmental organizations can avoid risk by distributing their leadership or responsibility out to several sections or individuals within an organization, giving them great power over more centralized organizations which can be taken out more easily if the head of the organization is removed (Brafman and Beckstrom 2006, 46-53). This is seen when governments attempt to fight distributed extremist or terrorist networks where it is difficult to use centralized major firepower against a distributed network, while the leadership and structure of larger governments are more easily targeted. A swarm or distributed network is, therefore, more efficient in many areas than a group which values individual liberty or centralized leadership. This illustrates the importance of a keen understanding of distributed networks and complex systems when discussing the implications of a Technological Singularity involving Cyberspace as the residing domain of artificial intelligence. In such an instance, the Internet and the greater idea of Cyberspace offer a distributed network of machines on which an artificial intelligence can reside and distribute its own control system and knowledge out to a global network, similar to the behavior of a computer virus. To an even lesser degree, groups and governments within the physical world can utilize Cyberspace in a similar manner to increase their power and control within the physical domain. As these domains continue to merge, the complexity involved in government and security will increase significantly and defense and intelligence agencies will have to rethink how they protect their core interests, even questioning where those core interests exist. A shift in this thinking can already be seen in the fact that governments have shifted enormous resources to Cyber Security and other Cyber-related efforts across all agencies. New terminology and new understanding of the issues within this domain emerge on a daily basis and new challenges present themselves for governments to understand and to mitigate the disruptions of such a complex, distributed global threat which permeates itself into every computer system and even into every physical system attached to the Internet. It can then be asserted very clearly that even this more simple interconnectedness can present global challenges, transformations in global control, and massive shifts in global power in a more expedient and approachable manner than ever before conceived. Thus, the ideas of Cyberspace and distributed enemy networks are receiving the majority of attention and funding from governments as they attempt to isolate and understand borders and international law within a domain that transcends and obsolesces both borders and international law.

Jason Pappafotis