Anti-drone defense system for towns and cities

One of the main and best arguments that supporters of Big Tech rely on is the claim that we need Big Tech to win the 4IR (fourth industrial revolution) arms race of Cold War 2:

I Work for N.S.A. We Cannot Afford to Lose the Digital Revolution

As much as I hate to admit it, NSA got a very strong argument, maybe even better than the anti-Big Tech arguments I present here on (DSI).

If it turns out that NSA got the better arguments in the Cold War 2 debate, then one may subjectively, because of ideological or religious convictions, reject the dual-use monitoring systems of many 4IR technologies, but this rejection cannot then be justified by an appeal to universally valid ethics.

So, if NSA can present facts and logic that falsify (refute) the arguments I think are true (or valid) in the Cold War 2 debate, then I will admit, in the spirit of Karl Popper, that “my” arguments are not on the same level as universal ethics.

The NSA basically argues that we can’t afford to stop participating in the digital arms race because if we quit now our 3IR weapons will eventually be beaten by the 4IR weapons of authoritarian states like China and Russia. If we don’t keep up with the latter two it’s relatively certain that they will develop a true AGI within 20 – 250 years (if that is technically possible). The first empire or actor that attains AI supremacy will rule the world, as Putin said.

The security dilemma therefore appears to trap China, Russia and the US in an unavoidable AI arms race.

Surveillance (or the reasonable assumption that one might be under some type of AI drone and IoT surveillance, without ever being able to detect it) is basically inherent in the dual-use tech of 4IR, directly or indirectly.

Western states already have more surveillance than Stasi Germany, and we’ll soon end up in a hundred percent developed Brave New World if we continue to be emotionally dependent on the pleasures and conveniences of 4IR. To protect constitutional democracies it’s therefore best if we abandon 4IR, drop the Internet, and return to the freedom and stability we had between 1950 and 1990.

Drop the Internet? Common people will never accept that. But this objection presupposes that democracies have been real the last decades. That’s a questionable assumption. Militant activists may therefore nonviolently sabotage the 4IR infrastructure, but the ethical legitimacy of this intervention depends on actually having the better arguments in the debate about Cold War 2.

But why is it necessary to completely abandon the Internet? Because it’s how AI develops and controls the world. The Internet is the beginning of “Skynet“, to put it simply.

If people in the West drops the Internet and return to living offline, as we humans have always done, until the late 1990s, that alone will prove to China and Russia that we have truly stopped participating in the 4IR arms race, since AI and dual-use biotech are essentially dependent on data collected via the Internet (or other digital networks).

This is the main challenge: those who support a return to a 2IR and 3IR society must prove that one can develop new weapon systems that can operate without being online and still beat or deter any attack from a non-Western true AGI (in a distant future, maybe 250 – 500 years from now). This is a marathon, so if we stop running today, we might never catch up later. In other words, the decisions we make now will determine the future of constitutional democracies. One should not take this lightly.

Spider silk and cobalt

When reading this chapter always remember that I don’t think the neoliberal leaders of the West today will build the defense system described below. They are mesmerized by the power of Big Tech, so they are not going to give that up. I’m just presenting an alternative defense model to prove that the 4IR arms race is not deterministically forced upon us as if being almost a natural law we can’t avoid.

If you think my model is over the top, then I fully agree, but it’s still less excessive than what Big Tech is doing to humanity, like the insanity expressed by Jim Keller for example:

Neuralink will render video games directly onto the brain | Jim Keller and Lex Fridman

When reading anything I publish on this website always keep in mind that I would not have written any of it if Big Tech had not turned the modern world into a surreal and absurd place where new 4IR technologies may literally wipe out humanity:

Humans will destroy ourselves in 100 years with 50% probability | Max Tegmark and Lex Fridman

The main non-4IR defense system should be deterrence provided by nuclear weapons, as explained here.

But nuclear weapons will not deter a hostile superior AI from designing tiny and stealthy recon insect drones, no larger than 1-3 mm, that can (almost) invisibly spy on people living a “primitive” offline life in the West. It’s therefore (relatively) essential that one can develop an anti-drone system which can defend towns and cities against spying, without this system being reliant on digital online infrastructure. So, with the dramatic smile of a stage magician, let me introduce: Castle Beckett …!


One of the 2-3 last 4IR innovations created in the West should be super-strong artificial spider silk, or something similar, that can be woven into sheets, full of holes like a mesh. Each sheet can be 100 meter wide and 500 meter high. It should be held up by a ballon equipped with propellors to secure that the sheet is always hanging from the same place in the sky. The sheets should be woven together, forming a wall and a ceiling, like a box with no bottom, that can cover a whole city, at its outer perimeter, preventing spy drones from entering it.

Several such boxes can stand next to each other in order to cover a mega-city.

And that, meine Herren, is or was the very first iteration of Castle Beckett.

Ok, if you just want info on the last version of CB, go check out this enthralling piece here, with technical specs that can really work, IRL – not counting poetic license because the silver I mention, for example, is beautiful if one can purchase it and is willing, a bit like the Incas, to use it decoratively. However, if you want to see the functional details and the earlier iterations do go on reading the following paragraphs below.

The inside of the box can be structured and maybe painted in blue colors making it practically invisible when citizens look up, at the sky. If it’s technically possible, all the mesh or spider silk film has to be transparent enough to let 70-90 % of sunlight through, a bit similar to how a real spiderweb doesn’t block sun rays.

Another alternative is to build that side of the box which faces the sun in a lightweight glass-like material. The drawback is that it will require more electric power to keep it safely in the air, especially during a storm. Nuclear power plants are now becoming so safe that one option is to 1) build the entire box out of relatively thin but heavier bendable glass, and 2) use the propellors of much larger balloons to move and turn the box – something that is easier if it covers a town or a small city – when that’s needed to reduce pressure from strong winds. Other wind-deflecting structures outside the box can also make it safer.

Since glass in transparent, the height of the box or dome can be just 100 meters or so. A net of spider silk, invisible from the ground, can reinforce the glass and prevent many pieces from falling down if the glass breaks. Structures within the city can support the glass in addition to the lift it can get from balloons (painted in sky blue) 400 m above it, using a very responsive winch motor to adjust for any turbulence.

If the vertical sheets or nets are made of material that can be rolled up, the balloons can be lowered to 30 – 50 meters, during a storm, and maybe even seek cover behind a wall surrounding the city. Vertical bendable glass can be pushed down toward the ground where it bends away from the city until wind subsides and the balloons push the glass up again. The ceiling can rest on roof tops or other structures where the balloons can also find shelter. On the outside of the walls, hydraulic telescopic cylinders, on movable platforms and leaning diagonally toward the walls, can provide extra support.

Beneath city areas that are not covered by asphalt or concrete a layer of spider silk or sheets made of other materials can prevent underground bots from entering the city. This protection layer can be woven together with the box on the surface. Between these two parts, a very stretchable material, combined with a motor system that extends and retracts the length of this material, can keep the box together as a cube when it’s windy.

The walls and ceiling can have three layers: The outer layer (that may also function as a Faraday cage if made of super-light metal) should be robust enough to withstand bird strikes and small meteorites. (UV light or a modified active denial system can keep birds away from the box.) The middle layer should have holes small enough to stop all insect spy-drones larger than 1 mm. The inner layer should have holes that can stop smart dust recon sensors, maybe down to 0.1 mm or less.

Drones, on a leash and never connected to the Internet, can scan each sheet to detect breaches. Though it’s perhaps better if sensors within the sheets detect forced tearing in the material. And one can have a geofence, laser motion detectors and high resolution cameras, cf the Photonic Fence – all pointed at the walls – as extra security, when AI spy drones become advanced enough to quickly tear through the (sticky) spider silk and/or glass. This is very high-tech, but it’s not online, and verifiably not pointed at citizens, so it’s acceptable enough when new hostile AI developments make it a necessity. Being a hundred percent anti-Big Tech puritan isn’t an option when the enemy starts to physically destroy your defense system.

If the box is almost entirely made of bendable glass, then it will be easy for cleaner bots to also check if there are any holes in the glass.

Large fans on the outside of the anti-spy defense box can blow air straight into the spider silk walls, forcing air molecules through them. (If these fans are attacked, it’s a declaration of war, activating the nuclear defense system.) Extremely high-speed “wind tunnels” can blow stale air out, with such force that no spy drone can fly or crawl through the ventilation system that has slippery walls designed to stop crawlers.

When citizens exit the anti-spy box it can be done through a tunnel that blows air at high enough speed to prevent tiny drones or bots from flying or crawling through it from the outside. A glass structure, bent like a half circle, may cover all roads between towns and cities, to protect travelers from nanobot infections.

A very advanced hostile AI may design a swarm of nanobots, each smaller than a micron, which reassemble into a larger drone after each nanobot has been blown through the wall of the anti-spy box. It’s unlikely however that such a drone will have any camera or microphone that can threaten the privacy of citizens within the town or city. But if these bots infect people unnoticeably and then suddenly kill or incapacitate (all of) them, the response should be nuclear.

In the distant future, maybe 100 years from now: if a larger meteorite penetrates the anti-spy wall, quickly locate it, because a very advanced hostile AI could absurdly enough have hidden nanobots inside an object designed to look like a meteorite…

An even more advanced AI may design molecular bots that can connect together in such a way that they become an invisible wire sending information through the anti-spy wall, from the inside. The outer layer of the defense box should therefore have some kind of mechanism to prevent this.

The above system will probably be less expensive than participating in a 4IR arms race. It will take 10-20 years, at least, for hostile powers to design highly advanced AI, so Western states have plenty of time to create a defense system of glass and spider silk, with nuclear cobalt bombs as backup. This infrastructure investment will also reduce unemployment, unlike Big Tech which promises to make a majority unemployed or essentially useless and redundant when robots replace human workers.

But is living without surveillance in a box actually better than the often unnoticeable omnipresent surveillance system that Big Tech needs to defend the West against invading spy drones when participating in a global 4IR arms race?

Well, how many trillion drones must Big Tech have in order to stop foreign insect spy bots flying across the borders of Western countries? Stopping them all is probably impossible, especially during a Cold War. This shadow war can quickly escalate and trigger WW3.

But if China and Russia see that 1) the West has no Internet, which proves that we are no longer in the AI arms race, and 2) our military system is purely defensive, since it basically consists of only anti-spy boxes/domes and stationary cobalt bombs on the ground, without any missiles, then AI superior China and Russia will have no (significant) reason to fear us, and less reason to spy on us, because we are no longer competing in the same game and our offline lives are “boring”, “slow” and “predictable”, compared to the crack-speed madness of today’s Big Tech society.

Furthermore, when China and Russia know that if their soldiers or killer bots cross Western borders it will instantly trigger thousands of cobalt bombs inside the West, leading to a global nuclear winter, then it’s no point messing with a non-imperialistic West. It’s more rational to leave us alone. Which means that millions of Westerners can live safely in the countryside, outside city boxes, and without having to worry too much about foreign spy drones, since spying on common people, peasants and farmers, is just a waste of energy.

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