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  • Predicting Technology

    Posted by Shannon Love on September 10th, 2007 (All posts by )

    In an excellent report from Iraq, Michael J. Totten reports that:

    “To get paid by AQI for killing Americans,” Lieutenant Hightower said, “the attack must be videotaped. They often used tracer rounds so they could prove it was real. We found whole piles of these tapes when we cleaned the city out. We found and killed a sniper just northeast of the city. He had all kinds of video tapes of himself shooting and killing American soldiers.”

    Do you think that anyone who worked on developing compact, inexpensive video cameras ever imagined they would play a pivotal role in a major military conflict? Do you think they ever imagined that villains would use their creations to manage a small but powerful ad hoc army of mercenaries?

    People who think they can predict the course and effects of technology, like advocates of anthrogenic global warming, delude themselves.

     

    6 Responses to “Predicting Technology”

    1. zenpundit Says:

      “Do you think they ever imagined that villains would use their creations to manage a small but powerful ad hoc army of mercenaries?”

      Less gory though than the collection of trophies aforetime such as scalps (N.America), hands(Belgian Congo), ears (ancient Rome forward), heads ( much of Eurasia and Africa), hearts (Aztecs).

    2. Shannon Love Says:

      Zenpundit,

      Less gory though than the collection of trophies aforetime such as scalps…

      Less dangerous to. Collecting physical evidence of enemies killed required that the agent seize control of the field of battle. Video cameras allow them to strike from hiding and at a distance. The agents do not have to control anything.

    3. Don Says:

      Sorta goes along with the behavior of totalitarian states to document every killing they engage in, not so much in the trophy sense, but rather in the antiseptic bureaucratic bean counting manner. In a sense its a contract killing and the buyer wants validation before compensation. Must include UPC and proof of purchase. So much for ‘in the name of Allah’. Allen would know if you cheated, so does this imply that AQ doesn’t have dedicated followers which it trusts?

    4. Shannon Love Says:

      Don,

      …so does this imply that AQ doesn’t have dedicated followers which it trusts?

      That is rather the case. Most attacks on US targets appear to be carried out by mercernaries hired out of the local population and payed on a per attack basis. It appears that AQ only uses foreigners for attacks against Iraqis and for internal security troops in areas it controls.

    5. Stephen Says:

      “Sorta goes along with the behavior of totalitarian states to document every killing they engage in . . . ”

      That’s a Germanic totalitarian state you are thinking of. Stalin’s USSR was terrible at documenting its destruction, so much of it has to be inferred. This is partly because its killing was so often a matter of lethal neglect (I do not mean by this that the Soviet masters or minions are excused, btw), and partly because of the systematic falsification of every statistic collected by Moscow–which, by the way, seems to have lead the CIA in the late ’70s to seriously overestimate the size of the Soviet economy.

    6. Lexington Green Says:

      The Chinese Communist massacres were probably even less well documented than the Gulag. The Soviets at least had some notion of a facade of legality and record keeping, but they also had the traditional Russian sloth and alcoholism to contend with. The Great Leap Forward and the ensuing famine were like the tide coming in and washing millions of peoples lives away. I have to think the Chicoms could not have made good records. And the Cultural Revolution was such a state of mayhem that it was probably dangerous to be seen writing anything down, let alone typing up statistics.