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Fuck it, I've been working for the past several hours on a post basically about this for small arms, so why not make my own list? Yes, it will be much less impressive than Tox's list. Not that I really qualify as having an engineering or science background...

 

  • Caseless ammunition will finally be perfected through materials science wizardry and production consistency that can make things that are as of now mutually exclusive possible.
  • Sighting technology will advance far enough that the individual soldier will have a passively stabilized rifle sight that automatically compensates for climactic conditions and trajectory.
  • Mortars will become significantly lighter, as well as being guided.
  • Infantry squads will receive explosive ordnance projection with accurate range measured in kilometers. 
  • A high capacity feed system that is simple enough for the individual user will be developed
  • Mechanical/chemical priming will finally be dispensed with, replaced by something else
  • The soldier as a unit will become powered, likely with an umbilical (that doubles as a single point sling) running from his on-board power source to his rifle.
  • Soldiers will achieve power densities above one soldierpower, either through the proverbial powered armor suit or through genetic engineering.
  • "Heavy infantry" will make a serious comeback, as multi-soldierpower troops are able to carry larger and more powerful weapons and thicker armor.
  • Special-forces-type training programs will to the best of our abilities be generalized to all troops. Army unit strength will decrease in proportion to the scale of warfare, but individual soldier competence will dramatically increase.
  • Soldiers will be increasingly integrated with unmanned systems, particularly flying drones. One possibility is that machine gun teams will be wholly supplanted by belt-fed carrying AI systems in support of expensive augmented individual troops.
  • Software development will become a major problem for individual soldier integrated systems.
  • High velocity gun systems (light gas, rail gun, etc) will eventually be incorporated into at least the platoon level.
  • Additively manufactured components will be widely incorporated into infantry subsystems.
  • Increasingly sophisticated sensors will be integrated into the individual soldier - this point is cheating as that's already happening as we speak.
  • The individual weapon will become a dual-caliber affair.
  • Active protection systems will be explored for the individual soldier

I'm guessing that the long-standing trend of increasing dispersion inside and between units will continue apace as well.

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The railgun-wielding active-protection-system-sporting individually mechanized supersoldiers are not likely to fight in ranks, no.

This sounds terribly like starship troopers (the book ofc) - high-powered units operating in squads dispersed over square kilometres.

 

Given the other potential trend towards, say, swarms of single-purpose UAVs; I wonder how it will all shake out.

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Another interesting thing about higher-energy societies, at least to me, is how much more of their activities take place under ground.

 

I envision that Colli's nuclear paradise future would potentially have (mostly) underground cities and what-not as a byproduct of how much faster atomic drilling can be compared to conventional methods.

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This sounds terribly like starship troopers (the book ofc) - high-powered units operating in squads dispersed over square kilometres.

 

Given the other potential trend towards, say, swarms of single-purpose UAVs; I wonder how it will all shake out.

 

Yes, well, Heinlein was a military man with an excellent mind, so that's not really all that surprising.

He didn't predict the UAVs, though, and I reckon individual atomic weapons will still be verboten.

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Yes, well, Heinlein was a military man with an excellent mind, so that's not really all that surprising.

He didn't predict the UAVs, though, and I reckon individual atomic weapons will still be verboten.

Nothing quite like frying an enemy formation and your entire team in a single shot, though.

 

UAVs and the like (I'm still sprining for war-GMOs (warg-moes) and combat animats) really have the potential to finally make man redundant in war. It might be a bit of a bittersweet moment. 

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Nothing quite like frying an enemy formation and your entire team in a single shot, though.

 

UAVs and the like (I'm still sprining for war-GMOs (warg-moes) and combat animats) really have the potential to finally make man redundant in war. It might be a bit of a bittersweet moment. 

   It also can be a moment when small countries with weaker old-style militaries will start to disappear from maps under different excuses, as such human-less combat creates absence of pain and responsibility inside of nation-invader.

  

   As a result we may see creation of supercountries, and there will be 4-10 of them left on the Earth (not counting countries that nobody cares about). 

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You guys are a bunch of fags. Man will never. Ever be redundant in war

How can the sons of soilders say such things without vomiting from hypocrisy

Easy: man may be relegated to planning war rather than executing it. Man may be relegated to initiating war but neither planning nor executing it. Man may no longer exist in any recognisable form to do either.

Come on dude, I thought you were trained to be a nuclear warrior. Did you really believe that the strength of your arms was going to determine anything about the outcome when the city-killers flew overhead?

In war to the hilt, man is essentially already redundant as a warrior.

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I have a sneaking suspicion that the answer to the Fermi paradox is ultimately that it is easier and cheaper to create another universe (or hole to the same) than it is to travel widely in our own.

 

My guess is that a truly advanced civilization eventually disappears up its own arse without ever leaving its home system.

Or at least create some sort of virtual reality that suits them better than the universe does. Creating another universe sounds more difficult than just creating a life simulator. 

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Easy: man may be relegated to planning war rather than executing it. Man may be relegated to initiating war but neither planning nor executing it. Man may no longer exist in any recognisable form to do either.

Come on dude, I thought you were trained to be a nuclear warrior. Did you really believe that the strength of your arms was going to determine anything about the outcome when the city-killers flew overhead?

In war to the hilt, man is essentially already redundant as a warrior.

LOL that's horseshit, and I would have expected you to know better, Tox...

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Software engineering is likely to continue to fucking suck. Any sort of engineering that's paving new ground is deep in the depths of the land of diminishing returns, and us poor bastards that sit in front of computers by definition are paving new ground because if you're not you find whoever's done it before and you license that shit. I'm also not terribly convinced we're going to see a big jump in single thread performance which means that any sufficiently complicated code is going to be full of the hardest sort of code.

 

Or I'm wrong and we're going to be eating grapes from the doting hand of the IDE we tell what to do as it actually turns flowcharts and diagrams into working software.

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With the above in hand, we can turn to our second (possibly prior) scenario:

 

The world is convulsed by change. Mankind, having finally embraced the atom (in both fission and fusion forms) now has access to energy levels which make the industrial revolution look quaint. With advances in processing, manufacturing and biotech, this energy abundance seems poised to make access to raw materials the only remaining bottleneck for production of goods. At the same time, the goods themselves have become ever more complex and powerful. 

 

All of this would bode well for the future, were it not for the fact that these changes also threaten to undo the linchpins holding civilization together. First and foremost; improvements in construction, the hardening of equipment (and, thanks to biotech and cybernetics, personnel) and the development and proliferation of truly effective anti-ballistic missile technologies means that even small nations can now successfully survive a nuclear strike. Combined with ongoing proliferation and improvement of nuclear weapons, these changes finally break the nuclear taboo. Within a remarkably short period of time, weapons once associated with Armageddon become simply another tool for waging war. After (hopefully) centuries of peace between great powers, enforced by the logic of mutually assured destruction, wars of conquest and annihilation return.

 

At the same time as societies regain the power to destroy each other, their very foundations begin to fray and warp. It is now entirely possible for the state to manufacture children, or for a billionaire to set up a self-sufficient island mega-factory. Baseline humanity, already endangered by a workplace which scarcely needs people, is suddenly confronted by a menagerie of cyborgs, gene-mods, clones, uplifts, constructs and tweaks. A strange new age plays itself out - full of its own wonders and horrors. The new weird has begun.

 

The singularity never comes, as there is always scarcity of some sort to power the engine of competition and strife. Neither does the rapture of the god-intelligences: a super-mind is no better equipped to make its replacement than the mind that spawned it. Instead, the unsteady march of progress; of society-altering technologies birthed close together and then maturing; creates a new ecosystem of minds in competition with baseline humanity. Sharing the planet with the first viable species-competitors in 100 000 years, mankind ultimately finds itself being crowded out by its multifarious progeny. In the end, something different and strange in ways we cannot possibly imagine will inherit our legacy.

 

This is the future of man in transition.

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I think a lot hinges on future discoveries in mathematics.  Say, for example, that someone discovers an efficient way to factor large numbers, or that elliptic curve crypto isn't really one-way.  That would make banking, secure communications, et cetera much harder.

 

In the near term, privacy will go extinct.  Actually, it's probably better to say that privacy is extinct, and at some point in the near future people will adjust their expectations with this reality in mind.  I was thinking about what you'd have to do to maintain a conspiracy undetected vs. existing, ubiquitous technology.

 

All the conspirators would have to be selected from people who live geographically close to each other.  Securing long-distance communication is possible, provided the attacker only has access to the lines.  However, it is difficult to verify the security of the endpoints without giving away the fact that you're conspiring.  Laser microphones, tempest equipment (which is now cheap) and various hardware-level compromises that the Snowden leak confirmed would allow surveillance of end-points that would be difficult to check for without giving up information to traffic analysis.

 

Conspiring in person from distant points is completely, outrageously out of the question.  It is too difficult to move across a developed country undetected.  Airline tickets, cell phone triangulation data, and car license plate trackers aren't just possible, they're fucking ubiquitous.  I've had prole co-workers go went to the phone company to dig up cell triangulation data to exonerate their baby-dady from statutory rape charges.  And goddamn if that isn't the chaviest sentence I've written in a while.  But that's how commonplace that is.  Even the filthiest of peasants know about and use it.

 

Everything you do is being recorded in triplicate.  It's just a question if anyone is reading those records or not.  This will increase with time.

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I actually had one of these 'the future is now and it is terrifying' moments while searching for evidence of a specific event in my own life (long story). I rapidly discovered that I was able to track events with alarming precision by cross-checking my search history, location (if available), bank purchases and stored messages (email, sms, chat etc.). At this point, without any intervention on my part, I am leaving a trail of data that would allow someone to reconstruct my movements and activities with equisite precision if they so wished.

 

Privacy is indeed dead, and it seems that we're all just beginning to catch up to that fact.

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The one ray of hope for would-be spooks is that, so long as you don't get noticed, the torrent of information everyone is producing is easily enough to mask most of your activities. Worse/better, there is just no easy way to sort through the substantial overlap between licit and illicit output - which is one of the reasons why it is so hard to pre-emptively catch school shooters.

 

My feeling is that political movements will rely more and more upon the sort of standalone complex, 'we all had the idea at the same time', malarky that massively-connected societies enable. Successful terrorist/social movements of the future may look like nothing so much as everyone seemingly-spontaneously deciding to take up arms all at once.

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The possibilities for crime reduction are enormous.  I agree that crime prevention is probably out of the question; data-mining isn't that good.  But post-facto whodunit investigation could conceivably have close to a 100% success rate, just given the competent application of technology that exists now.

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The possibilities for crime reduction are enormous.  I agree that crime prevention is probably out of the question; data-mining isn't that good.  But post-facto whodunit investigation could conceivably have close to a 100% success rate, just given the competent application of technology that exists now.

Indeed. We seem to be moving close to a strange era where courts have access to all of the facts right at the outset and in an indisputable fashion - to the point where not having access to records might, in itself, be grounds for sanction of some sort. This would, of course, have enormous societal implications and can thus be added to the pile.

 

Since it's been in the news of late, I wonder what the more learned minds on this forum make of the changes automation is supposed to wreak upon society?

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It's late, but didn't one German terror cell or something along those lines get busted because they were using US ideas of living off the grid, and it turns out being the only people in the neighborhood paying all their bills with cash is all kind of suspicious?

There's a fine art to maintaining privacy, I think, where you wall off what you want hidden from everything else with a shield of seeming normality around it. I have a feeling it's still viable especially with co-conspirators. You could probably put common nightly activities of mine into a macro enough that I can go do something I don't want widely known and have a vague shot of keeping it hard to figure out. But at the end of the day security is measured by keeping the effort to figure out that you're doing something above what anybody's willing to give before they know that something is something you do.

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The bullshit populist version, sure, but also one of our possible futures.

 

This thread is for musing on how things will go, with an an emphasis on accuracy.

 

As all I can really speak to is biotech stuff, I will be posting a bit in that line here and there. For the rest, I invite our learned electronics engineers/internet pedants to provide their views on how things will go from here on out.

 

That seems like the place that the Japanese would have it go.

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