Drug Smuggling, the Singularity, and Automated Borders

Saturday, January 6, 2018: 8:30 AM
Columbia 8 (Washington Hilton)
Andrae Marak, Governors State University
This paper argues that the two primary means of responding to the illegal drug problem over the last thirty years – the Kingpin Strategy and interdiction – have been unprecedented failures because drug smugglers and state agencies that serve to prevent drug smuggling actually form a state/non-state symbiosis where each one reinforces the profit/need of the other. Furthermore, the cockroach effect, whereby the elimination of heads of cartels, actually results in a splintering of drug cartels and increased violence. Meanwhile, the balloon effect, where drug traffickers simply move drugs through new geographic regions or by new means, makes interdiction ineffective. This is especially so with the rise of shipping and semi containers that allow for the passage of illegal/illicit drugs mixed in with legal/licit merchandise through regular transit channels. The singularity – the time in the near future when computers will be able to mimic human beings in most respects - is unlikely to change these dynamics. In fact, it may exacerbate them in two ways. First, the replacement of current employment with automation will increase unemployment, making the illicit/illegal economy more attractive to more people. Second, the use of automated responses to defend borders tends to result in higher levels and more frequent applications of violence. Hence, the rise of the singularity will not likely reduce the flow of illegal/drugs across borders, but it will likely impact which people (by race, class, ethnicity, citizenship, etc.) can cross borders with them.
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