EP19 John Robb on Asymmetric & Networked Conflict & Strategy

Author, inventor, tech analyst, engineer, and military pilot John Robb talks to Jim about drone attacks, internet-age networks, geopolitics, AGI, and much more…

John Robb

This conversation with Jim and John Robb–author, inventor, entrepreneur, technology analyst, astro engineer, and military pilot–starts by covering the impact of the recent drone attack on a Saudi fuel processing center, and the current US political situation. They then go on to talk about how John compares resistance and the insurgency networks, the dynamics of tribes, institutions & markets in this internet age, the role open-source dynamics play, coherence vs. corruption, how Extinction Rebellion & Game B fit in this picture, the neo-fascism of China & its impact on corporations, the Honk Kong protests, unleashing intelligence agencies on domestic terrorism, how autonomous robotics could impact future military engagements, and much more.

Episode Transcript

John is an author, inventor, entrepreneur, technology analyst, astro engineer, and military pilot. He’s started numerous successful technology companies, including one in the financial sector that sold for $295 million and one that pioneered the software we currently see in use at Facebook and Twitter. John’s insight on technology and governance has appeared on the BBC, Fox News, National Public Radio, CNBC, The Economist, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and BusinessWeek.

John served as a pilot in a tier-one counter-terrorism unit that worked alongside Delta and Seal Team 6. He wrote the book Brave New War on the future of national security, and has advised the Joint Chiefs of Staff, NSA, DoD, CIA, and the House Armed Services Committee.

7 thoughts on “EP19 John Robb on Asymmetric & Networked Conflict & Strategy

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  3. Great episode, as always!
    I have a question, though. I struggled to understand the difference between John’s definition of fascism:
    “They had a government bureaucracy and lots of big corporate bureaucracies that joined with it as a cohesive whole. The government provided a national goal, which aligned all those big bureaucracies”
    and his proposed solution from the left:
    “The thing that’s tough to propose or tough to beat, and I think it possible for the traditional corporate bureaucracy and organizations to be is a left that uses the kind of the presidency and its position in congress as kind of a bully pulpit or two. Also, as a cohesive system to force corporations and government bureaucracies into alignment. Force a very specific consensus value system into place, and forcing companies to provide service and move in a certain direction. If you price your pharmacological goods too high, you get crushed and if you try to take advantage of a certain market opportunity at the expense of Americans or… then you get crushed, or you get… and it’s not just at the top level. At the corporate level this network can actually reach deep inside the company and go after individuals.”

    How is one different from the other? Or how do you prevent one from becoming the other?
    I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

    Keep them rolling!


    1. The audio is far easier to follow!

      The insight is that it isn’t the end of history. Democratic capitalism didn’t win at the end of the Century. Due to globalization, complexity, rapid technological change… nation-states are becoming networked states. Networked states are all about alignment.. of government, corporations, and society in order to maintain coherence in a complex world. However, instead of the hyper-militarism/warfare/jackboots/crude identity used in the last Century by fascist states to coerce alignment, they use networks (from gamification to consensus seeking social networks).

      I have two reports (and dozens in support) on this if you are interested in learning more:
      The Networked State https://www.patreon.com/posts/30378413
      The Networked Left https://www.patreon.com/posts/31199471


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