Currently I’m watching the television coverage of the hostage situation unfolding in the centre of Sydney, New South Wales, where an armed Muslim male has taken an unknown number of hostages in the Lindt Chocolate Cafe.
If you were in charge of the emergency responders and police and were responsible for dealing with this event, what would you do?
What would you do to try to prevent this type of situation from happening again?
It is a really complex and extremely difficult situation.
Certainly, as things stand now, it is the emergency responders in the front line.
It is a hard thing to do, to weigh the certainty of killing one person against the probability of them killing someone else.
If it was me doing the responding, I would be using every bit of technology available to give me as much information and strategic advantage as possible. The problem is that the more one uses advanced technology, the more likely it is that opponents will develop effective countermeasures, the only real counter to that is to be so far ahead that the technology is effectively magic and there are no effective countermeasures.
There is certainly danger from the loners with a grudge of some sort. The more injustice exists in this world, the greater the likelihood of such danger.
It seems to me that there is an equal or greater danger from corruption of central authority, and someone in a central agency determining that one is a risk worth eliminating.
Long term, it seems to me that real security comes from distributed trust networks, individuals sharing information, resources and skills with others they trust, for the security of all in the network.
Central control gives the illusion of security, but holds dangers all of its own. When central control goes against the interests of the majority, the consequences can be profound (just look at the history of warfare).
Long term, I encourage all people to develop as many different networks of trusted people as possible, and to up-skill in as many different disciplines as possible.
It seems clear to me that the price of freedom is, and always will be, eternal vigilance.
And it seems clear that there cannot be any absolute guarantees of security, and it seems that the more we cooperate, the more secure we all are.
I have come very close to death too many times, I don’t fear it, and I have a healthy respect for dangerous situations.
I don’t ride motorbikes over 250km/hr any more.
I don’t dive over 100ft depth any more.
I don’t fly any more.
And was was 6,000 ft up a mountain last month – so I’m not entirely risk averse.
Confidence counts for a lot in interactions, and it isn’t always enough.
I find in most things, over confidence leads to failure.
Finding that balance that works is key.
And certainly, if you don’t believe you can do something, you probably wont.
And as yet, we have no credible modern evidence of anyone living beyond 150 years, and I still believe it will be possible, with appropriate use of technology, I think living thousands of years is possible.
And it is not possible to sustain exponential growth indefinitely. There are physical limits that need to be respected.
I intend to do a lot, and we need to get through the current phase of development. So very few people are yet able to think beyond money – beyond the illusion of “costs” (I believe anyone can be taught to, and as yet few have learned how).