"Pay my troops no mind; they're just on a fact-finding mission."

John Robb’s 4 Horsemen

From Robb’s Site Global Guerrillas:
  • Weaponized computer worms/viruses/malware.  Legal bot networks that control/manipulate society and markets (think in terms of quant hedge funds).  That’s the White horse.  Conquest.
  • Drones/robots.  Weaponized drones that at first self-perpetuate by acquiring fuel from the environment.  Weaponized drones that can self-replicate ala 3-D fabrication and scavanged materials (think rep-rap).  That’s the Red Horse.  War.
  • Superbugs/superweeds (some may be aided by engineered modification, but all get their start due to the stupidity of growing food in monocultures).  Organisms that can wipe out monocultures and cause the loss of productive farmland and crops ond a global scale.   That’s the Black Horse.  Famine.
  • Plague.  Genetically modified weapons, laboratory mistakes, or naturally occuring disease (due to too much physical proximity) that result in plagues.  That’s the Pale Green horse.  Death.


Let’s talk countermeasures.

  • We counter the white horse in three ways, the first and obvious one is traditional signature detection. The second is, watch all inbound/outbound traffic on your machine, keep scanning as needed for rootkits. The third is, you create a restricted access intranet that doesn’t network with outside computers. Maintain hardware security.
  • The techniques to counter the red horse are in development, work is being done to create printers that can reprint their own parts, I.E. actual replicators.
  • This is a tit-for-tat game. Simple countermeasures include artificial soil and nutrients, or simpler aeroponic/hydroponic systems. Engineering may create environmental countermeasures, bugs to kill bugs. Ideally Arcology design will protect from this if it becomes a threat. There will also eventually be the option to leave the biosphere or isolate yourself in the ocean or fortress. A seed vault is a must. By the time this tech takes off we should be able to recreate seeds from scratch.
  • The pale horse, again isolation from the overall biosphere is the easiest option. It is theoretically possible to scale up this defense option to fit modern nation states. but you would need to introduce national ID cards and curb individual liberty to secure freedom from biological attacks. But that social structure is inflexible so it’s unlikely. We’ve been playing this arms race against nature for a long time. Only now people with GED’s can poison the biosphere much more effectively than in the past. I don’t know however, if amateurs would have the ability to create a plague that walks the fine line of lethality versus transmission rate.

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