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I just finished reading Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization by John Robb. It takes a pretty interesting fellow to weave terrorism and the Iraqi insurgency with Eric Raymonds Cathedral And the Bazaar not to mention brief tangents to Bill Joy’s grey goo, Bruce Schneier’s brittle security, and Ray Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns. And that’s just the obvious stuff a typical geek would pick up. Also sprinkled throughout the book are references to military doctrine, economics, globalization, and biology.
The guy bounces around in first person like an over caffeinated blogger. And I’m certain that’s the intention; his description of how he see’s the world is startingly moving the online lifestyle to current events and trends. I have never put a critical eye to the whole opensource movement as a symptom of an advance of technology as opposed to a collection of bearded geeks revolting against a system. Robb puts up a strong argument for the former.
The book itself is broken up into three sections. The first section reiterates the amplifying affect of technology to individuals power to cause disorder. In the second part Robb lays out the exact makeup of 4GW, systems disruption, and other specific ideas such as global guerrillas and open-source warfare. At about this time is when I kept my laptop on my lap to keep up with the various footnotes (a decent amount of references are freely available online). Finally the third section attempts to explain the black market eco system as well as Robb’s solutions to rebalance sides.
As an aside to the last section: I was a bit suprised he didn’t tie in his idea of “Platforms” and open source together. From his definition opensource is an perfect example of a platform and yet he left it go unsaid.
The book itself ended with two pages of Further Reading. He is truly after my heart.