The killer app for AI is being able to win wars over unprecedentedly multiple fronts, irrespective of an initiators’ level of resources. Check out the recent Napoleon movie to see how it’s done.
There’s been much chatter as to why Sam Altman was fired and then, (pro tem?) rehired. The scuttlebutt is that OpenAI had secretly invented a new and terminally doomful version of its killer AI. ChatGPT. The question being, of course, what could be so bad as whatever they had dreamed up, whatever it happened to be.
I just had a gander at the Ridley Scott movie “Napoleon”. Nope, it’s not so terrible after all. But what got my attention rather than the not-so sultry Empress Josephine (Napoleon’s Muse and forever squeeze) were Napoleon’s many wars.
The short version is that he won all his first wars and then lost the rest, notably at Waterloo. Why was an unknown junior officer, from the foreign boonies at that, so successful at winning with such a relative dearth of military resources and little military experience at that?
These days of the 21st century the topic du jour amongst the foreign policy stratocracy has been whether the US can successfully fight a two-front war, namely China and Ukraine/Russia via NATO. Actually, it’s worse than that because now we have Ukraine and the Middle East (Iran, Syria and Hezbollah) to add to the mix so It’s probably a five-front war (adding Hamas) or if you add other actors (and the US home front, local-grown terrorists) maybe 10 or more fronts.
How about the new mega-war turns out to be 20 fronts? Not so far from reality in all likelihood.
Yet Napoleon for years successfully fought wars on many fronts simultaneously. His last biggie was against England, Russia, Austria, Prussia, Spain, Naples, Sicily, Sardinia, the Dutch Republic, Russian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, Portugal, Sweden and so on (but Mars not quite yet).
How did he do it? How do you supply multiple armies, widely dispersed, all speaking different languages with different cultures and rulers? There were no computers of course in those days, even no pencils to write with. Yet he was successful for years until he made his Russian mistake. He did have advisers and couriers (maybe the Empress Josphine as crypto spy even) but that would have been about it.
So back to OpenAI and its killer app. What is it? Could it be a new set of mathematical techniques, integrated with all the world’s current knowledge, which would allow the US (or any other country for that matter) to be able to successfully fight a war on an otherwise impossible range of many fronts? Maybe even 100?
Could that be why OpenAI is so cocksure it has nailed the Supremissimo AI Puzzle?
The new world wars are going to be something else again. It’s not just now massively expanded known set of weapons. It’s additional new capabilities such as cyber, crypto, nuclear, supercomputers and so many other things such as smart howitzers, shells and so on.
The war(s) will be fought not just on the ground but under it (c.f. the Hamas tunnels) under the oceans, and in space, probably even outer space. And it will involve on both or all sides many countries, cultures and languages, not to mention political and social movements.
Napoleon had developed his own home-grown AI in his own head. There are not too many military geniuses like him but with the many-front war AI, you don’t need them; you can manufacture them digitally.
These days it’s clear that the X-front wars will be so complex – and probably so blazingly fast - that only AI could conduct the war. Leaders will not be military people but something else again, promoters and entertainers with job titles we haven’t even invented yet.
Is this what Q* is? The supreme war-winning AI? Can any country, US and China included, ever win without such a tool? Could an organizational entity that is not a country take over the rest of the world with the War Q*? Even an individual, like Elon Musk, Donald Trump, or Pope Francis?
There is now a panoply of incomprehensible global threats that exceed all that have ever existed I human history. If the War Q* is what the OpenAI board was arguing about we can certainly agree that it’s a legitimate and utterly shocking existential threat. Who spills the beans on such a threat?
But if that’s not what OpenAI is worried about, then we’ve got an even more ginormous problem. Because the new threat facing humans is the multifront wars that can be started and conducted by anyone including any of the as-yet unknow Napoleons already plotting in the wings about how to take over the world and what to do with it then.
Mostly the critics panned “Napoleon” the movie. Some called him a buffoon, an oaf and worse (as portrayed in the movie). That’s what many liberals call some of the current crop of ultra-right-wing extremists and would-be Napoleons. But look what Napoleon did, all on his ownsome without even any of the modern apparently magical technologies to help him.
The world’s likely-greatest intelligence agency, the Mossad, just missed the rebellion of the Hamas that was being prepared in plain view of the Israeli military. What else is going on out there in full view of the intelligence analysts in the US, Russia and everyone else. How much notice will we get of the Grandissimo World War when it starts? One day perhaps? One hour? One minute?
Climate change and air pollution are so far down the list of threats that they don’t even count.
Time to rethink, starting with Napoleon, methinks.
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