Andrew Yang & Fancy Bear: How Cyber War Prevents Automation

One of the primary justifications for transitioning into a communist society is summarized as “AI will steal all of our jobs”. The demand for increasing government paternalism (UBI, welfare, Social Security, regulations etc.) is fueled by collective catastrophizing and nominal economic pessimism. As the narrative goes if the the political class doesn’t adopt communism our society and way of life will collapse.

Economist are “predicting” that self driving vehicles will soon be a possibility, which in turn will cause massive amounts of unemployment. Many believe that the only way to avoid the upheaval caused by the AI revolution is to force the collective ownership of the means of production.

Fortunately, economist are not scientist and economics is not a science. Economics does not abide by the scientific method: experiments aren’t run and variables aren’t controlled for. Contemporary Keynesian Economics is inherently weak in describing the world because it relies primarily on induction and assumes gaussian statistical distributions.

In case your not as big of a nerd as me and don’t know what induction, fat tails and variables are let me put it this way: Economic theories make you lose money. In 1998 LTCM, a hedge fund with 2 Nobel winning economist working as directors, lost 4.6 billion dollars in less than four months. Economics is merely mathematical sophistry.

As Nassim Taleb, a man who has mathematically exposed the pitfalls of modern Keynsian economics, puts it:

“ A good rule of thumb is as follows: If the numbers come from somebody wearing a tie (Wall Street economist or analyst, industry public relations department, captive think tank academic and so on), you ought to be very skeptical. By design messages from these people are intended to move markets, move merchandise and/or move public policy and are not a comment on the state of the physical universe.”

Invoking Andrew Yang’s MIT economics degree as justification for the coming AI apocalypse is just ensuring me that it is not coming.

Aside from the horrible track record of predictions by economist lets play with a scenario: The entirety of Americas transportation industry is 100% automated via computer programs. What would this scenario bring?

I’d like to introduce you to Fancy Bear, Cozy Bear, Helix Kitten, Charming Kitten, Red Apollo, Double Dragon, and Lazarus. These are the APT (Advanced Persistent Threat) groups of Russia, Iran, China & North Korea. AKA foreign hackers sponsored by the governments that don’t really like America.

Russian APT groups have repeatedly hacked and sabotaged Ukrainian power plants causing electrical outages during the winter months. Iranian hackers infiltrated petrochemical plants. The Chinese have been stealing intellectual property from fortune 500 companies and the North Koreans have been running CRYPTOCURRENCY SCAMS ( LOL ) and literally robbing banks to keep the lights on.

Even if some company(s) were able to create software to enable fully autonomous vehicles it would not be profitable because the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, and North Korean will have a field day hacking this infrastructure.

When our computers run into a bug they crash. We either restart them or call the geek squad at best buy. When power plants get hacked people live in sub zero temperatures without heat for weeks. Petrochemical plants workers have to worry about wether the hacker wants to poison them by dumping dihydrogen sulfide into the atmosphere or if they want to create a massive chemical explosion.

When Americas transportation and shipping industry get hacked people won’t be able to go to work, travel or even get food. What happens on the web has real consequences.

Judging by the fact that 99% of people can’t run a for loop in python our nation, like most nations, is probably not ready for the cyber 9/11. There will always be a bug and there will always be bug hunters. The question isn’t “Is my system secure” it’s “When and how will my system break and how do we respond when that day comes”.

Automating the entire transportation and shipping industries is just too big of an attack surface to defend.

As long as there is an internet connection modern warfare will never be the same. Large wealthy nations with massive armies used to have fight against guerrillas and fundamentally had to abide by a different set of tactics because of the size of their armies and the scope of their objective.

With cyber warfare every nation state can fight on the web using classical guerrilla tactics such as attacking infrastructure, disseminating propaganda and total war. Your network can be infiltrated by someone on the other side of the globe, essentially every nation now has malicious guerrillas at its doorstep. Even nuclear reactors have been hacked. Sometimes they don’t even know who the attackers are…

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

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Corey Gardner

Programmer