Tag Archives: future

Science Fiction: Electronic Warfare and Cyberspace


When one writes futuristic science fiction–or any other science-related genre–one has to rely on modern scientific fact to support future fiction. Most science fiction story telling relies on conflict. Think Star Wars,  the Star Trek syndicates, Battlestar Galactica, Superman, Batman, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Armageddon, Stargate series, Twilight Zone, and many more.

So today’s lesson for fiction writers covers the current military electronic warfare environment for the U. S. military. All information comes from DefenseNewsTv.com’s “Electronic Warfare Roundtable.” Panel members are from different branches of the armed services.

Today’s military operates in a global environment with a need for 24/7 communication and control capacities. Electronic warfare, the primary tool of modern military action, is based on a cyberspace platform. Thus, the armed services recognize how intertwined the cyber community is with electronic warfare.

The various branches of service identify the following threats from enemy command and control operations:

Soldiers encounter field environments that differ from the norm to which they are accustomed. For example, the military is used to operating with nearly unlimited bandwidth. What happens to soldiers where bandwidth is denied or limited? The Navy panelist admits that, as a service branch, the Navy has let skills atrophy in the modern electronic surveillance and communication environment. The Navy plans to re-learn traditional skills to manage signatures in a non-electronic circumstance. It has to live up to its credo to “operate forward and be ready.”

The Army says it is responsible for enemy command and control, such as disabling enemy communications, sensors or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). The Army panelist says he is most concerned by an enemy who is able to maneuver inside the electronic warfare spectrum and go undetected. A dangerous enemy can synthesize an existing system, then change software code and modify the Army’s systems remotely.

The Marines are proud of existing radio battalion systems on the ground. To improve the systems, the Marines want to marry their operations with resident capacities in the air.  However, they face an enemy that adapts quickly. The Department of Defense is scrambling to stay ahead of enemy capabilities.

The Air Force fears an enemy that uses the electromagnetic spectrum to destroy weapons systems.

The Air Force panelist says, “What keeps me up at night is the imagination and innovation of the adversary.”

Today there is a danger of turning commercial products into weapons. Cell phones operate on former military signals. A smart enemy leverages the commercially available technology to defeat or confound secret military technology.

So where is military strategy going? Thus far, the focus has been to give technology to the brigade commander for operations. In the future, overarching architecture will aid higher command authorities, too. Tactical assets and systems will be integrated across service branches. Finally, there will be a greater emphasis on speed–of adaption, of control, of meeting capacity.

Cooperation and synergy, through joint exercises and co-development of tools and technologies, is mandatory in the current fiscally austere environment.

Electronic warfare and cyberspace management is as much art as science. Listening becomes critical. Electronic surveillance will have to increase, as will service branches working together for better upfront planning.

Vocabulary for Science Fiction or Fantasy Novels


In science fiction and fantasy, there is normally a cornerstone culture, central to the story, that is malevolent. It is oppressive of its citizenry, setting the stage for the rise of a hero, an avenger of the people.

There are two words to describe such a culture:

  • cacotopia
  • dystopia

Both words define a world that is the opposite of Utopia, or paradise: a world of deprivation, horror and exploitation. Usually the people are enslaved, if not physically, then through economics or some psychological method. Or earth changes, like  global coastal events caused by meteor strikes or the aftermath of world wars, have disrupted normal society and destroyed convenience systems, such as the electrical grid or banking. Whatever the cause, the new world order is a system that grinds those under its bonds to grist.

Now that your imagination is twisting, turning, leaping and bounding with images, get writing!

I’m Off My Meds Again!


Listening to advice from friends, I am going to start other blogs to carry topics unrelated to writing, instead of clogging the space here. Since my favorite off-topic interest is off-the-wall stories in our modern or pop culture, the first new blog is called “I’m Off My Meds Again” and can be found at http://www.offmymedsagain.wordpress.com. It’s MY platform for MY craziness. If you love the world of abnormal, bizarre, whacko things, then you’ll love this space. If crazy talk isn’t your cup of tea, stay away!

More on Drones for Syfy Buffs


I clipped this from a forum on the subject. Since this portion from the chat gave a link, I am posting the remarks and the reference here. Those writing science fiction, futuristic or fantasy stories may find this information helpful.

Swarms of cyborg insect drones are the future of military surveillance

The kinds of drones making the headlines daily are the heavily armed CIA and U.S. Army vehicles which routinely strike targets in Pakistan – killing terrorists and innocents alike.
But the real high-tech story of surveillance drones is going on at a much smaller level, as tiny remote controlled vehicles based on insects are already likely being deployed.
Over recent years a range of miniature drones, or micro air vehicles (MAVs), based on the same physics used by flying insects, have been presented to the public.
The fear kicked off in 2007 when reports of bizarre flying objects hovering above anti-war protests sparked accusations that the U.S. government was accused of secretly developing robotic insect spies.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/a…lance.html
After writing this post, I stumbled onto a humorous video about microbots, including a photograph of a mosquito-sized drone that can extract a DNA sample from a human covertly. As TheTrutherGirls says, “Get a fly swatter and screens!” Enjoy the video!
And just to feed your paranoia, here’s a video from a NSA whistleblower. He confirms the government’s program of domestic intelligence collection. Just think of all this stuff as research for your novel about nanobots and their nefarious controllers. :-p

Barnes & Noble Says Print Books Still Top Sellers


Barnes & Noble reports in-store book sales were up 4.5% in the last quarter. Despite this uptick, Barnes & Noble is still operating at a loss.

E-books are expected to be the future of publishing. Nevertheless, print books still outsell e-books in today’s market.

Will Creative Humans Be Replaced by Machines in the Future?


The intelligence and military agencies of the United States are working on automated systems to replace human  analysts in intelligence work. The human brain is a masterful “sensemaking” device, but it is subject to the human weaknesses of fatigue, bias or stress. Therefore, the government is going all in to find a machine that can do the work as well as an human, and maybe better.

Until now, the agency points out, the human brain has remained “the only known  example of a general-purpose sensemaking system.” Not for long:  Iarpa wants a  computer that would mimic human strengths, like analytic reasoning or learning  from mistakes, but do it without the accompanying weaknesses. The ideal Iarpa  system would first process and explain human sensemaking: why an analyst opted  for one hypothesis over another. Then, the computer would improve upon it, by  determining whether a decision-maker was affected by ambiguous data, deception,  or even denial. Finally, the system would offer its own sensemaking hypothesis – without any extenuating influence – instead.

Iarpa suggests that the  system would help out “overburdened analysts with routine, low-level analytic  tasks.” But a 2001 report from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense  points out that sensemaking is most often compromised in high-stress situations,  and, for that reason, humans are usually the weakest link.

Read more: http://www.disclose.tv/forum/spytech-agency-wants-software-brains-to-connect-the-dots-t13503.html#ixzz27ISZRsVk

All this gets me wondering, will there come a day when machines are used to write books, create poetry, works of art and music? Will a computer frame a photograph as well as Ansel Adams? Will 3-D copiers create art to rival Michelangelo’s masterpieces using flesh and blood models or mere mathematical formulas derived from analysis of 2-D items? And, if that day comes, who will the audience be?

Author Vernon Vinge: On Writing, Fiction and the Singularity


Excellent interview with science fiction author Vernon Vinge

This video explores the platform of science fiction as a vehicle to advance ideas. The interview offers advice for writers, as well as thoughts about the future.