2012: End of Status Quo? Cumulative Effects of SADNs or Self-Assembling Dynamic Networks

London, UK - 26th December 2011, 11:30 GMT

Dear ATCA Open & Philanthropia Friends

[Please note that the views presented by individual contributors are not necessarily representative of the views of ATCA, which is neutral. ATCA conducts collective Socratic dialogue on global opportunities and threats.]

2012 arrives at a watershed moment in the history of humankind. The cumulative effects of SADNs or Self-Assembling Dynamic Networks are not only changing the very nature of our existence but also the perception of each other via our unprecedented super-connectivity. Does this herald the end of the status quo? No-thing appears to remain the same as this contagion spreads faster and faster: accelerating, assimilating and absorbing every aspect of our joint and inter-linked existence.

Self-assembly of complex, three-dimensional molecular structures

Irresistible Force of SADNs

From global insurrection to implications for foreign policy and from just-in-time supply-chain disruptions to the out-of-control bubbling systemic risks -- not least in the financial and geo-political strategic arena -- the cumulative effects of SADNs or Self-Assembling Dynamic Networks can no longer be ignored. If we seek to ensure our antiquated organisational structures are not overwhelmed by sudden unintended accelerations, we need to realign, reorganise and restructure our government, business, community and NGO policy frameworks and operations immediately to address and to benefit from the clear metamorphosis in collective consciousness now underway. The cumulative asymmetric risks of not doing so are likely to render our existing structures utterly obsolete in 2012 and beyond. As you will recall, our forecast for this year just gone, began as follows:

"'Self-assembling dynamic networks' is one phrase we should all memorise to prepare ourselves and to understand 2011. This phrase encapsulates the defining aspect of both the year ahead and the years to come, as we embark on the second decade of the 21st century. Whether we act as individuals, families, communities, businesses, government departments or organisations, there can be no question that we have to listen, learn and adapt according to the massive paradigm shift created by self-assembling dynamic networks and their by-product: boundary-less tribalism." [2011: Self-Assembling Dynamic Networks and Boundary-less Tribalism, 29th December 2010, ATCA 5000]

So, What did 2011 Demonstrate?

a. The Arab Spring Jasmine revolutions spreading at lightning speed from Tunisia to Egypt, from Libya to Syria, and from Bahrain to Yemen;
b. Unprecedented riots and looting in London and other British cities like Manchester and Birmingham;
c. Luxury automobiles of the elite being set alight in Berlin and other German cities like Düsseldorf and Hamburg;
d. Israel's biggest protests in its history as nearly half a million people took to the streets in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa to demand social justice;
e. Chilean students and teachers' chaotic anti-government demonstrations in Santiago, Arica and Valparaiso coupled with massive confrontations with riot police;
f. India's unprecedented campaign against systemic corruption led by spontaneous grass-root protests championed by thought-leaders like Anna Hazare;
g. Labour riots in China's manufacturing heartlands where police and fire vehicles were set on fire during clashes in Zengcheng, Xintang, Chaozhou, Lichuan etc; and
h. The “Occupy Wall Street” movement in New York and across the United States spreading over the Atlantic into Europe, Asia and Oceania, with cascading consequences.

"What is common about these global protests is the rapid-fire way in which like-minded individuals have come together around the world -- almost in the blink of an eye -- to protest at a somewhat broken and corrupt financial and economic power system that appears to them to be favouring the ruling elite, putting the planet in peril and may have clearly run out of fresh ideas to rejuvenate itself. The incumbent leadership ignores such protests and mass gatherings at its own peril." [Too Big, Too Fast & Too Powerful To Ignore -- Self-Assembling Dynamic Networks Gather Momentum, 18th October 2011, ATCA 5000]

In addition, 2011 saw:

1. Global supply chain disruptions, national damage to power supply and rapid erosion of government legitimacy caused by the Japanese tsunami and the revival of local production and import substitution in high-tech industries around the world;
2. Increasing European political insurrections and displacements as contagion from the Eurozone crisis accelerated; and
3. Extreme volatility in global financial markets caused by massive flight of capital seeking a safe haven, proliferation of high frequency trading, and the death by a thousand cuts of the large cap financial institutions with massive on- and off-balance sheet leverage and fractional banking taken to extremes.

Key Features

The ATCA 5000 original briefing from about the same time last year on Self-Assembling Dynamic Networks highlighted the key features of SADNs as follows:

1. Asymmetric power;
2. Unintended consequences;
3. No central control;
4. No intelligent blueprint or formalised design;
5. Rapid scaling;
6. Unprecedented speed;
7. Trans-national synchronicity;
8. Total transparency;
9. Creation of boundary-less tribalism; and
10. New order born out of chaos.

Beyond the top ten attributes, the automatic lack of definition and anonymity ensures the resilience of SADNs in the event of hostile force being deployed by authorities to eradicate them. [2011: Self-Assembling Dynamic Networks and Boundary-less Tribalism, 29th December 2010, ATCA 5000]

How to Avoid Extinction?

"Buckminster Fuller, the famous 20th century inventor, systems theorist, philosopher and architect, said “Quite clearly, our task is predominantly metaphysical, for it is how to get all of humanity to educate itself swiftly enough to generate spontaneous social behaviours that will avoid extinction.” The self-assembling dynamic networks phenomena demonstrate that humanity may now have finally begun to acquire the knowledge, the communication capability and transparency to attempt an answer to Buckminster Fuller’s fundamental question." [Too Big, Too Fast & Too Powerful To Ignore -- Self-Assembling Dynamic Networks Gather Momentum, 18th October 2011, ATCA 5000]

Primordial Tribalism

"Predominant characteristic of tribes throughout time is the need to share and to communicate ideas, thoughts, observations and views. Digital networks achieve this objective by connecting like-minded members of such new tribes across continents! As the principal players move around the arena, a self-assembled dynamic network structure emerges that no single player can control. Digital networks have taken tribal behaviour to a whole new level of collective consciousness: dynamic self-assembling tribes that come into existence almost instantaneously. Human civilisation has gone from local to national and from national to trans-national tribal behaviour and congregation enabled by digital catalysts." [2011: Self-Assembling Dynamic Networks and Boundary-less Tribalism, 29th December 2010, ATCA 5000]

Since primordial times, our social survival mission has always been our strongest motivation for doing what we do collectively but we have to arrive now at the critical insight that some of our government, business, community and NGO organisational structures do not support this social mission for collective survival as well as they ought. Either those structures will transform or they will simply be bypassed or broken down. The rivers flowing towards the ocean can no longer be dammed, diverted or stopped, such is the throbbing energy of SADNs.

Small Groups versus Law Enforcement Agencies and the Military

"As events are now making it painfully clear, traditional confrontation is being transformed from a closed, state-sponsored affair to one where the means and the know-how to mount an insurrection are readily found on the world wide web. Self-assembling dynamic man-power can be galvanised via digital mobile telephones and social media networks including Blogs, Facebook (800 million active users - revised), Twitter (300 million active users - revised) and Youtube. This unprecedented global access to increasingly powerful digital technology and tools is, in effect, allowing "small groups" to confront large barricades of police and army battalions in an asymmetric and agile way. Knowingly or unknowingly, almost all sovereign nations are drifting towards asymmetric conflict." [How to Achieve Peace? Digitally Driven Asymmetric Conflict via Self-Assembling Dynamic Networks, 23rd January 2011, ATCA 5000]

2012: End of Status Quo?

This is the simple fact: 1% of the ruling elite cannot maintain the status quo when 99% want to end it. The net result of SADN cumulative effects is that the mass of humanity's social survival mission has become its raison d’être and strongest motivation yet for doing what it does. As a corollary, we have to arrive also at the collective conclusion amongst the ruling elite that some of our key government, business, community and NGO activities do not support this collective social mission as well as they could and are therefore being rendered powerless, often with immediate consequences and without any form of notice. Without much ado, we have to take the decision to close down some of our existing operations, critically modify other key operations and swiftly invent new ways of doing things to be prepared for the coming SADN induced "tsunamis" on a weekly and monthly basis around the world as 2012 gathers momentum.


What we may be witnessing around the world is almost like the early stage of the Great French Revolution which began in 1789, although this may be several million times bigger if there are Food, Fuel or Finance -- 3F -- shortages at a national or trans-national level. "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche" or "Let them eat cake" may well have been the response of the incumbent leaders -- as well as their advisors and financiers -- up until now, in a similar fashion perhaps to Marie-Antoinette, the Queen consort of King Louis XVI. However, that attitude has already passed its expiry date in 2011 and 2012 is going to be relentless and could be very unforgiving.

"The phenomenon of self-assembling dynamic networks manifest as boundary-less digital tribes is accelerating and gaining critical mass. We overlook the ability of digital networks to galvanise strong tribal behaviour with asymmetric global power at our peril. Critics of the explosion of digital tribal networks point to their negative aspects:

1. Lack of privacy, ie, 100% transparency;
2. Capacity for the viral spread of rumour and mis-information;
3. Proliferation of useless digital noise alongside useful information; and
4. Breakdown of traditional tribalism.

Whilst noting the asymmetric threats posed by digital networks, including hijack and distributed denial of service attacks, it is important to remember the much larger asymmetric opportunity. Digital tribes can be beneficially harnessed as a vehicle for desired socio-economic, geo-political and environmental metamorphosis. As change agents, digital tribes may prove to be second to none." [2011: Self-Assembling Dynamic Networks and Boundary-less Tribalism, 29th December 2010]

2012's rising consciousness is an amazing opportunity for those who are prepared to accept this change within the dynamics of the inevitable transfer of power now underway. Resistance to SADNs may prove to be futile. Embracing change swiftly may prove to be the only way forward in harnessing the power of Self-Assembling Dynamic Networks.


What are your thoughts, observations and views? We are hosting an Expert roundtable on this issue at ATCA 24/7 on Yammer.


Expert Roundtables

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A2: Access the ATCA 24/7 Private Intelligence Network -- PIN -- online and ask or answer a strategic intelligence question, no matter how complex. Receive expert answers within 24 hours or get pointers from:

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A3: ATCA 24/7 has now created an exclusive private intelligence watering hole and expert roundtable at the highest level where interesting and sophisticated questions are being asked from around the world, and intelligent answers are being provided, almost always by experts who have deep domain-specific knowledge. Come and check out the exclusive club, take it for a strategic test drive, which sign-of-intelligent life are you waiting for?

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Best wishes

ATCA: The Asymmetric Threats Contingency Alliance is a philanthropic expert initiative founded in 2001 to resolve complex global challenges through collective Socratic dialogue and joint executive action to build a wisdom based global economy. Adhering to the doctrine of non-violence, ATCA addresses asymmetric threats and social opportunities arising from climate chaos and the environment; radical poverty and microfinance; geo-politics and energy; organised crime & extremism; advanced technologies -- bio, info, nano, robo & AI; demographic skews and resource shortages; pandemics; financial systems and systemic risk; as well as transhumanism and ethics. Present membership of ATCA is by invitation only and has over 5,000 distinguished members from over 120 countries: including 1,000 Parliamentarians; 1,500 Chairmen and CEOs of corporations; 1,000 Heads of NGOs; 750 Directors at Academic Centres of Excellence; 500 Inventors and Original thinkers; as well as 250 Editors-in-Chief of major media.

The Philanthropia, founded in 2005, brings together over 1,000 leading individual and private philanthropists, family offices, foundations, private banks, non-governmental organisations and specialist advisors to address complex global challenges such as countering climate chaos, reducing radical poverty and developing global leadership for the younger generation through the appliance of science and technology, leveraging acumen and finance, as well as encouraging collaboration with a strong commitment to ethics. Philanthropia emphasises multi-faith spiritual values: introspection, healthy living and ecology. Philanthropia Targets: Countering climate chaos and carbon neutrality; Eliminating radical poverty -- through micro-credit schemes, empowerment of women and more responsible capitalism; Leadership for the Younger Generation; and Corporate and social responsibility.

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