What makes 5GW interesting isn’t the democratization of violence and spectacle, because again, that’s just basic terrorism. There’s not much to analyze in terms of a gas-powered automatic weapon in a crowded room full of unarmed people. 5GW is not about the ability of individual actors to kill civilians or even hit hardened targets, it’s about the ability of individual actors to challenge institutions and nations.
The growing asymmetry of power that converging technologies provide is what distinguishes the open horizons of 5GW from the closed abbatoir loops of 4GW. When Liang & Xiangsui wrote about “Unrestricted Warfare,” they didn’t have a bunch of Woo Bum-Kon impersonators in mind, they were outlining a method of leveraging systems and processes against themselves, a means of enacting sabotage invisibly and continuously.
What about the real deal SEIs? They’re mostly the subject of internet conspiracy theories, appropriately enough. George Soros, John Rockefeller, Jr. and the Brothers Koch are all boogeymen to someone, but the bigger picture is a global ecosystem of billionaire operatives pursuing both overlapping and contradictory goals. There are thousands and thousands of them. Most of them are completely gone on some terminal ego trip and barely in touch with the world they want to remake in their image.
Focusing on individual perpetrators can only become overwhelming, so take some advice from Barbara Bush and don’t trouble your beautiful mind about The 1%. Instead, take the John Nash approach — the real John Nash, pathologically obsessed with game theory and iterations of the Prisoner’s Dilemma. This “Lone Wolf” stuff might be watered down, but it’s still bitter and strong. There are no deliverable solutions and no technological fixes.
That bleak conclusion is exactly where 5GW should logically begin.