Military thinktank sees dark future
Brain-chipped middle class Goths in flashmob revolution by 2035
There is also some conventional internet/sci-fi fare, probably seen as radical stuff in Whitehall but quite familiar to the average Reg reader.
For instance, Admiral Parry's crew flag up the threat of electromagnetic pulse weapons or other specialist new-wave kit against electronics-dependent societies, either by disabling backbone strikes or perhaps knockout blows against space infrastructure. They make the point that a sudden loss of satellites could cause multiple mass-transport accidents or "the collapse of international financial systems". They also suggest that: "Rapid mobilisation - 'flashmobs' - may be undertaken by states, terrorists and criminals...challenging security forces to match this potential agility and ability to concentrate."
Someone at the DCDC has clearly been reading classic cyberpunk, as well. "By 2035, an implantable information chip could be developed and wired directly to the user's brain," says the report. "Developments might include the invention of synthetic telepathy, including mind-to-mind or telepathic dialogue. This type of development would have obvious military and security, as well as control, legal and ethical, implications."
So obvious, in fact, that the MoD brain trust declines to say what they are.
The staff-college moguls of the DCDC also seem worried about some blasted boffin inventing something which they have failed to predict. To deal with this, Admiral Parry's crystal-ball-gazers include a splendid catch-all:
"A cheap, simple-to-make and easy-to-use weapon might be invented that is effective against a wide range of targets and against which established countermeasures are ineffective," they warn, without going into further detail. A superb bit of bureaucratic ass-covering, if not terribly useful for the military planners of the future.
All in all, the Strategic Trends programme is relatively lacklustre stuff. It's supposed to provide a firm basis for the MoD to make plans on, but you'd hate to be the person who had to use it for that purpose. Admiral Parry tells us that the document is "the result of over a year's research by my team and me".
Perhaps the biggest question that raises for ordinary taxpayers and servicemen is whether the DCDC thinktank, with all its expensively-trained staff brains, is genuinely worth the money.
The full report is available here (big pdf). ®