Friday, September 04, 2009

Ten Rules for 5G information Warfare

Here are ten rules for fighting a 5G war.

1. Speed it up. Use tools that transmit information orders of magnitude faster: as close to real-time as possible. Your enemies use email. Use Twitter, Facebook, and iPhone Apps instead.

2. Microchunk it. Small resources, like messages, are more efficiently transmitted and utilized than big ones. Your enemies use lengthy, wordy messages — seriously inefficient communications. Try 140 character Tweets instead.

3. Meta-attack. You're attacking with "facts." But facts don't matter, because your enemy doesn't value information like you do. Life expectancy's smaller in the States? So what — according to your enemies, you can't trust facts from Cuba (or France). So you have to attack not with "facts", but with meta-information about how to value facts. Start with meta-information about how to value insurance rationally — over a lifetime, not a day, for example.

4. Anti-defend. You can't defend a centralized structure against a network attack in the traditional sense (just ask Twitter). But you can anti-defend against a network attack, by decentralizing your own resources to the edges — something that, in physical warfare, is a big no-no. When resources are spread and replicated across as broad, diverse network of your own as possible, if one node goes down, the others stay up. A few blog posts at do not constitute a networked anti-defense — but a thousand every day across the WWW might begin to.

5. Darwinian counterattacks. What happens after a networked offense? A counter-attack: the remaining nodes link up, share resources, and then launch a portfolio of different counterattacks. The fittest ones — those most threatening to the enemy — survives. It's like what hedge funds do, except it's not lame. To enable a Darwinian counter-attack, you've got to offer suggestions, tools, and methods for a range of potential counterattacks.

6. Hack your enemy's weapons. In a 3G or 4G war, you can't hack the enemy's guns, bombs, or knives. In a 5G war, you can hack the enemy's information weapons — and that's an often explosively powerful tactic. "Death Panels"? Call them "Life Panels" instead, explain that old Republican Senators already benefit from them — and enjoy your rise to the top of Google.

7. Normatize it. 5G warfare is problematic because we have no Geneva conventions to enforce norms of acceptable behaviour. And so anything goes. But it shouldn't: a powerful tactic in 5G warfare is setting norms for what's acceptable and what's not. Discuss why smears and misinformation are unacceptable; make public and transparent who refuses to accept norms of good behaviour.

8. Self-organize hyperlocally. Reality Check is a good start — but it doesn't enable self-organization. People should be able to self-organize into networks linked by the information you provide, so alliances form. These networks shouldn't just be online, but offline - because in the real world, people have shared histories. They should be real-world networks that influence and counterinfluence hyperlocally: street by street, community by community.

9. Remix it. After self-organization comes the remix — just ask any bedroom DJ. You haven't given people information in an easily remixable form, that they can distribute to others dependent on what is important at the time or to a given group of people. Making the info you provide microchunked and remixable, so it can be used and reused in more and more efficient ways.

10. Attack the base. This is a controversial tactic — but it's often the key to winning a 5G war. Physical wars have to be fought on the front-lines. But information wars don't. Your best bet is to attack not the enemy's front-lines — Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Sarah Palin — but the base of hard-liners who still oppose reform — hard, swiftly, and repeatedly, with better information faster.