Occupy Wall Street, Botnets, and Thousand-Year Storms

Looks like traditional political thinkers are missing the mark altogether (the protests are ‘flailing without purpose’, ‘just rage’,’just jealous’ etc). A more useful analytic framework is to think of the protests as a form of a botnet. Why?

Because the protest isn’t an unorganized mass. It’s an independent system (potentially aggressive), that shares the same environment as the traditional economy. It is driven by internal dynamics (not an emphasis on the external, as classic protests have).

OWS currently consists of thousands/millions/hundreds of millions of cognitive nodes:

  • Connecting/infecting new nodes. As part of this, the organization is generating memes, testing against live audiences, and dropped if counterproductive. Trying to build sufficient capacity before…
  • Probing attack vectors. A botnet, like a storm, emphasizes growth of its own capacity before attacking (or raining). Mild DDoS on the Brooklyn bridge or around the Bank of America in SF. Anonymous phishing for corruption, etc. This is enabled by…
  • Decentralized command and control. Perhaps more specifically, modular design. Each protest in each city is led by independent affiliates (if not further broken down). Crashing a protest in Ohio has no impact on the rest of the network.
If the botmasters (a better term is probably ‘botcurators’) do their job (continue engaging in action that returns meaning to participants) correctly,  this cognitive network will succeed in that it simply won’t die.
So what’s next? Like Earth’s electron skin is marked by a thousand perpetual botnets, the political landscape will weather its own storms. Some will overcome other systems as they expand. Some will die. And some will, like Jupiter’s ancient storms, continue for lifetimes.

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  • bot-herder?

  • Fake Marine
    Oct 17, 2011

    What’s the fake Marine story? Link?

  • Shlok Vaidya
    Oct 18, 2011

    I overstated it in the post. One guy claimed to be a Marine combat vet, later turned out he was ex Army support. Blurry info at the time. Updated the post.

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