Imminent Front

Silicon Valley Goes to War

The Administration’s top security officials are in Silicon Valley to talk to representatives from several tech companies about ways the industry’s tools and knowledge can be used to understand and thwart terrorism’s online appeal.

Welcome to the future of war.

Over the coming years, the use of technologies such as drones and satellites will make fighting battles a much more remote experience. America has spent centuries developing its military advantage. But as the playing field switches from boots on the ground to booting up hard drives, that advantage will diminish.

The tech community has been on the front lines in a remarkable stretch of innovation, creativity, and yes, profits. It’s movement to another front line seems inevitable as the targets we’re now protecting are electric grids, water systems, the stock market, your latest binge-watch; all streaming and beaming from servers in a cloud that is a complete mystery to most of us (who are we kidding?).

The military needs technical expertise. And those experts, deep down, need a reason to believe they’re contributing something more to the world than photo filters and guaranteed second-day delivery of a very small item wrapped in a cardboard box large enough to require the mowing down of about a quarter acre of rainforest.

As the nature of war changes, so too will the nature of soldiering. Because it will be managed remotely, it’s not unthinkable that you’ll one day be working a cubicle over from someone who’s using her flex time to blow up an arms cache.

And if you’re spending a few hours of free time a night dominating online multiplayer and action games that require strategy, good instincts, and quick reflexes, then Uncle Sam Wants You. No haircut (or beard trim) necessary.

Dave Pell Writes the NextDraft Newsletter and App. Over here…over here.
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