[Linux-aus] Technological monoculture will destroy the human race [Was: tingilinde: monocultures]

Jeff Waugh jdub at perkypants.org
Sun Aug 24 13:29:01 UTC 2003

<quote who="Leon Brooks">

> Unfortunately it has turned our society into a computational monoculture
> with many critical elements of society - government, finance, police,
> fire, military, transportation, healthcare, etc etc being made vulnerable
> to the threats that monocultures face.

Remember the scene in Independence Day when Our Geek Hero, Jeff Goldblum,
infects the alien fighter craft with a virus built on Mac OS? Everyone
chuckled, "ha ha ha, he is infecting the alien computer with a Macintosh, ha
ha ha! Like their computers work anything at all like ours, for all their
amazing advanced technology they're kicking our arses with! ha ha ha!"


Now, regardless of the amazing speed at which Jeff Goldblum's character
managed to get his head around the alien computing technology solidly enough
to figure out an exploit and take advantage of it, remember that in the ID4
universe, they had access to alien hardware and possibly software for at
least 40 years. And the aliens no doubt still had unchecked buffers sitting
duck all through their code anyway.

So, all you pansy, mouth-breathing, "ooh, ooh, the aliens are so advanced"
apologists can just shut your traps right here. There is a deep, abiding
message in Goldblum's viciously efficient attack on the alien invaders in
ID4: Don't fuck with diversity.

What would have happened if two sizeable, independently designed alien
strikeforces had attacked Earth? Goldblum's exploit would have disabled only
one fleet. That leaves a second, as-yet-unresearched strikeforce capable of
mounting a planetary attack. End of human civilisation as we know it, and no
humourous quips or patriotic blather from Will Smith or Bill Pullman for the
aliens to suffer.

Now, it has to be said that between buffer overflows and having your head
punched in by pretty-boy Will Smith, the alien race isn't exactly top of its
universal class, so to speak. They've been kept back in the meat-headed,
"shoot first, ask questions later" school of bad guy alien characterisation
for quite some time, it seems.

But what if a well-qualified, brains-first alien race attacked our fair
planet? Would they come out with their big laser beams and destroy our
prized landmarks in an attempt to douse our fighting spririt with fear? No
way, what a waste of resources. You don't cart fifty million of your own
across fifty million light years of dark empty space just to blow your load
on first contact. They're going to do just what Jeff Goldblum did. Sit back,
research the opponent, find their weak point and seep in under the cracks.

We've already determined our own weak point: A monocultural computer network
spanning the globe, powering our cities, informing our leaders, providing a
massive communications infrastructure for our entire species. If we can
assume that sobig.f was built by a human, with at the very least a cursory
understanding of current software and IT practices, then what kind of
horrifyingly efficient attack could be wrought by scientifically advanced,
space-faring aliens? Can you imagine? So far, human-sponsored attacks have
not even been tempted towards irrecoverable malice.

We are simply not prepared for this kind of attack. Our systems, beige and
black, identical on the insides as much as out, almost welcome exploitation
on a grand scale. Like the downed alien fighters in Roswell and the present
day in ID4's universe, having a single operating computer system provides
enough information to extinguish the human race through its reliance on
monocultural high technology.

Say it with me: DON'T FUCK WITH DIVERSITY. cf. The War of the Worlds, H. G.
Wells, 1898.

EIGHTEEN NINETY EIGHT! Haven't you nutballs learnt anything?!

- Jeff, dishing out your daily dose of random crack

linux.conf.au 2004: Adelaide, Australia         http://lca2004.linux.org.au/
    "...and did you know that Twisties have real cheese in them?" - Dave
        "I didn't even think they had real twists in them!" - Andrew

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