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The next thirty years of war
April 24, 2007 2:10 PM   Subscribe

The British Ministry of Defence has been thinking about the future, and 2037 looks like it'll be a doozy. Others have been thinking about it too, and they believe they'll be mainly hot, sweaty, dirty and confusing. Of course, if you're the Canadian military, you get a science fiction author to write your future for you.
posted by Happy Dave (17 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Isn't extrapolating the future the kind of thing that science fiction authors normally get paid to do?

Based on past performance, I'd bet on J.G.Ballard or Philip K. Dick over the Pentagon every time.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 2:51 PM on April 24, 2007


Metafilter: hot, sweaty, dirty and confusing.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 2:56 PM on April 24, 2007


The MoD paper is fascinating, thanks. The "Strategic Shocks" section (p75+) is full of good stuff.

*Ponders whether I'd rather have broadcasts to the brain or see legal complexity prevent future wars*
posted by patricio at 3:12 PM on April 24, 2007


Why worry, when according to Ray Kurzweil, a billion-fold increase in computational ability, conscious silicon, and rampant nano-everything will solve all of mankinds problems by 2029!
posted by unmake at 3:33 PM on April 24, 2007


Crisis in Zefra is surprisingly readable. p 16 is a bit implausible, though... people have this idea that monitoring a complex system is a matter of spotting something that's subtly 'not quite right'. The reality is usually that there's so many things competing for your attention that you have to develop filtering strategies to ignore things that are irrelevant... which has proven really difficult to automate.
posted by anthill at 3:43 PM on April 24, 2007


And the year after that, our 32 bit computers all think it's 1970 again. But that's ok, because the world should end much sooner.
posted by knave at 4:08 PM on April 24, 2007


Seemingly related: another UK exercise in prognostication.
posted by whir at 4:08 PM on April 24, 2007


I will read the entire MoD paper as soon as I recover from all the bolding and italicizing.
posted by stargell at 5:53 PM on April 24, 2007


let me just say as a 'Murkin that the future is an U.S. boot on a British face, forever...
posted by geos at 7:03 PM on April 24, 2007


Of course the boot will be made in the Orient and worn by a Latino and the British face will be Asian. Plus, the boot, rather than being oppressive will instead be part of fetish play.
posted by srboisvert at 1:11 AM on April 25, 2007


knave wrote: And the year after that, our 32 bit computers all think it's 1970 again.

Um, no. According to your own link, time will wrap around to 1901. 32 bit time_t won't reach 1970 again until the year 2106.
posted by ryanrs at 1:12 AM on April 25, 2007


Yeah, my bad.
posted by knave at 1:38 AM on April 25, 2007


I will read the entire MoD paper as soon as I recover from all the bolding and italicizing.

Yeah, that was odd, wasn't it? Makes it quite hard to read, because internally, my reading voice SHOUTS every time it comes across a word in red, bold italics.
posted by Happy Dave at 3:07 AM on April 25, 2007


Perhaps recreating the speech patterns of an RSM at an ops briefing.
As for geos and his cheeky Yank fronting, haway and shite, soft lad.
posted by Abiezer at 4:20 AM on April 25, 2007


Ha, good point! My old RSM used to RANDOMLY emphasise words in the middle OF sentences without any OBVIOUS reason. They must teach it in the battalion.

And, yeah, geos, good luck with that.
posted by Happy Dave at 4:34 AM on April 25, 2007


That was just to make sure you were paying attention as well as standing to it.
posted by longbaugh at 4:47 AM on April 25, 2007


Incidentally - those UK residents (and those outside the UK with an interest) not au fait with the state of the UK armed forces and our fantastic procurement system could do a lot worse than reading "Lions, Donkeys and Dinosaurs" by Lewis Page. The review here from The Independent spells out the basics but the book itself covers all the relevant bases and makes clear how ridiculous and corrupt the whole process is from beginning to end.

US citizens can rest assured that the methods in place in your country are only slightly better, in that whilst it's just as corrupt and arse-backwards, at least you get decent-ish kit to start with. Most of the time it's 10-15 years late and designed to fight the Cold War. It's all well and good the MoD planning for 30 years time but guaranteed they'll do fuck all to make the soldiers job any easier in that time (i.e. trim some fat off the officer corps and reinvest that into some decent boots for starters).
posted by longbaugh at 5:13 AM on April 25, 2007


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