Everything Is Weird

UPDATE BELOW So, back in 2007, right before her novel “Out­sourced” came out, I met Rae­lynn Hill­house at a café in Ball­ston, Vir­ginia. There, we talked about the intel­li­gence com­mu­nity, her blog­ging about the IC at “The Spy Who Billed Me”, and some­times sur­real uni­verse of mil­i­tary and intel­li­gence con­tract­ing, and other sundry top­ics. I […]

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In Awe

How dare you speak to me like that!” the drone bel­lowed. “I’ll have you know I am an Accred­ited Free Con­struct, cer­ti­fied sen­tient under the Free Will Acts by the Greater Vavatch United Moral Stan­dards Admin­is­tra­tion and with full cit­i­zen­ship of the Vavatch Het­e­ro­c­racy. I am near to pay­ing off my Incurred Gen­er­a­tion Debt, when I’ll be free […]

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Think Again, Turn Away… from Twitter

I’m approach­ing the four-week mile­stone this week of going silent on Twit­ter. I had ini­tially planned a big dra­matic middle-finger type send off blog post at the start of it, a sort of reverse April Fool of being com­pletely earnest for a change, but my judg­ment got the bet­ter of me. And that was not […]

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On Treating Tools as Utilitarian Objects

There is a grow­ing con­sen­sus among west­ern com­puter researchers, tech­nol­o­gists, celebrity intel­lec­tu­als, and pun­dits, about the ethics and morals of cre­at­ing arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence. One of the tech­ni­cal voices lead­ing the charge (as opposed to entre­pre­neurs and celebrity physi­cists) is arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence pio­neer Stu­art Rus­sell, who recently issued a call for com­put­ers to be “prov­ably aligned” with […]

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On Moving On

Every once in a while I get an alert that some­thing I wrote many years ago has been cited in a book or a mono­graph on the fail­ures of coun­terin­sur­gency. It reflects an era of my life that I have deeply mixed emo­tions about, and prompted some think­ing. I remem­ber, when I wrote research papers for […]

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Short Story: The Drink Tank

I have a new short story pub­lished at Mobius Mag­a­zine, which is about young peo­ple in think tanks (because, I know right?). One morn­ing I was catch­ing up on my email newslet­ters from all the blogs and mag­a­zines that hire 23-year olds for unpaid intern­ships that maKe them wake up at 5 am to read the […]

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Afghanistan Should Inspire Skepticism of Syria

On Sun­day, all Amer­i­can and British com­bat oper­a­tions in Hel­mand province offi­cially ended. It was a long time com­ing, as Hel­mand has long been a thorn in the side of both country’s mil­i­taries: resis­tant to the magic COIN dust, extremely vio­lent, and polit­i­cally unsta­ble. It has been the scene of some of the worst excesses […]

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The False Promise of a Crystal Ball

If there’s one theme that could define Pres­i­dent Obama’s for­eign pol­icy the last six years, it is his tumul­tuous rela­tion­ship with the US intel­li­gence com­mu­nity. The IC is Obama’s favorite tar­get when Things Go Wrong: usu­ally because they did not use their crys­tal ball to cor­rectly pre­dict the future. It is that mis­per­cep­tion — that […]

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