The ten rules of infowar

Paul Raven @ 27-08-2009

By now you’re probably all familiar with the notion of 4th Generation Warfare, even if the name doesn’t ring a bell: it’s network vs. nation-state, the sort of seemingly unwinnable cluster-f*ck that keeps sucking up money and sending back bodybags from Afghanistan. But what about 5th Generation Warfare?

5GW is the next step along: network vs. network. It’s the sort of war that’s happening right now in the media channels and websites of the United States: an information war, largely bloodless but savagely partisan, driven by irreconcilable ideologies. It’s politics, in other words; politics in a networked age. According to Umair Haque, there are ten rules to learn if you want to win.

He’s directing them at the Obama Administration in light of the public drubbing they’re getting from the obfuscatory tactics of the opposition, but the rules probably apply just as well anywhere, from the world stage to the office where you work. Here are a couple of samples, but you’ll want to read them all:

5. Darwinian counterattacks. What happens after a networked offense? A counter-attack: the remaining nodes link up, share resources, and then launch a portfolio of different counterattacks. The fittest ones — those most threatening to the enemy — survives. It’s like what hedge funds do, except it’s not lame. To enable a Darwinian counter-attack, you’ve got to offer suggestions, tools, and methods for a range of potential counterattacks.

6. Hack your enemy’s weapons. In a 3G or 4G war, you can’t hack the enemy’s guns, bombs, or knives. In a 5G war, you can hack the enemy’s information weapons — and that’s an often explosively powerful tactic. “Death Panels”? Call them “Life Panels” instead, explain that old Republican Senators already benefit from them — and enjoy your rise to the top of Google.

[via Global Guerrillas]

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One Response to “The ten rules of infowar”

  1. tychoish says:

    are we ready for a return of a concept of “false consciousness” in our political discourse, or is the notion still soured? I think the more interesting part of this whole info war, aspect of things, is how abstracted from reality they are–even if health care is something that we need and experience–the truth is that war over ideas with regards to health care are largely so divorced from the previsioning of health care resources that it’s nearly comical. Alas.

    In light of this, I think we need to capture authenticity, or the degree of abstraction present in these kinds of things…