Political economy has a huge problem, that of rationality: How to design an intelligent system which can achieve both justice and efficiency? The basic solutions on the table are:
- Institutional intelligence (planned economy)
- Swarm intelligence (market economy)
Both of these have great and well-known flaws. Planned economy is too slow and clumsy, market economy is too unrestrained (i.e. evil) and also vulgar. On top of that, both systems have their peculiar ways of corrupting the power and infantilizing the people.
A third solution is to make a compromise, where market forces are intelligently restrained, that is, where a government institution strategically adjusts taxes and other regulations. This might be a good idea, but it can’t shake off this final leg iron: the demand for computation inflates the bureaucracy.
This, of course, is where computers come in. Today, I can make a user friendly database with functionality only dreamt of ten years ago. And ten years from now, my guess is that Google will provide a universal database, which one can feed complicated queries in an intuitive query-language (that is, not code), and 0.06 seconds later, recieve intelligent reports from. If there is geographical information in the report, one can immediately switch to GIS-view. If the information has a history, one can view it as a graph. If one has opted for a high-security Google account (or family of accounts), one can safely put in one’s own classified information, and so use it as a personalized database. This will be divine grace to all bureaucracies (the threat of hackers notwithstanding).
Ten years after that, then, AI will have reached a broadly functional level, and therefore it will quickly be omnipresent — a lot quicker than the Internet managed this. The details of how this massive change will manifest is impossible to foresee. But I suspect it will be a powerful advantage for all things bureaucratical. I dare say this augurs a rapid regeneration of institutional intelligence. Maybe this time the dream of a truly conscious society will be (technically) realizable.
Political platonists of all sorts should rejoice.
A couple of weeks ago, I dreamt that I was a swarm of lesser creatures (specifically, neurons), perhaps inspired by this NY Times article on the subject of swarms. I felt explained, but at the same time explained away. I understood myself, and disappeared. I was completely immersed in this hippie perspective, but then I woke up, and these thoughts were reduced to a curiosity.
But last night I recieved what I interpret to be Act II of the same story. In this dream, I was split into several creatures in a world rendered in pleasant animesque (like this with a hint of that). Three of the creatures were designated as main characters:
- The largest of them was absent-minded, silent and generally unexpressive. Built like a bear, slow and completely occupied by conflicting inklings. I interpret him to have represented my intuition, because of the character’s clear similarities to my experience of being absorbed by what I usually call intuition.
- The next largest one, or at least next tallest, was slender and brightly colored, with a clean appearance. He had a noble, if a bit proud (arrogant), posture, and was clearly not a very easy man to be around. I interpret him to have represented my position — a word which I here define as including sociality, material situation, comfort, etc.
- The smallest of the three had a large head and wide eyes. He was curious and refreshingly clever. In the dream he crouched all the time, and so he might have been taller than I remember. I interpret him to have represented my reflection, i.e. my experience of being absorbed by an inquisitive and reflective mode of being.
The lesser creatures were not as powerful and not as consistent as the main ones (they could transform or split in two or disappear). Most of them were simply jumping heads. I interpret them to represent the aspects of my personality which are present, but not dominant. Examples:
- maximization, meaning my tendency to take thoughts and values to their extremes
- visual expression of logical relations
In the dream, Reflection discovered that Position had severe heart problems. It seemed the group for some reason had to go back to a malign, metallic building from where they had just escaped (sadly, my memory is vague at this point). Everyone looked to Intuition, who was doubtful, but unresponsive. If he had anything to say, he would not need to utter the words — everyone would just know. The decision was made by Reflection, possibly affected by some kind of some kind of lesser creature of pity.
First, the group went to the pharmacy. They cheated the waiting line ticket system, with considerable bad conscience. It was Position that went up to the pharmacist and bought the two pieces of medicine Reflection said they needed. Then it was off to the malign building, where metal plates somehow ajust, intelligently, to make and unmake rooms and stairs and ledges etc, as the house sees fit. The group found a small ledge somewhere they judged to be safe. It was not an ideal place for heart surgery; it was too small. A conflict within the group arose, where the lesser creature of maximization was the most vocal proponent of moving to a newly formed large ledge just a few meters away. Intuition put his mark on the atmosphere: Everyone felt how he was against the suggestion.
At this point, the dream changes focus to an alien creature spying on the group. This alien creature was not part of me, it was something else, and like the building, malign. It was confused by the group’s actions. Why did they go back into the building?
Anticlimatically, I woke up. But the dream followed me around today, until I developed it, in this way: The same kind of split that created all these creatures from my self, can also happen to each of these creatures. And so all of them can be powerful. The creatures of visual logic, for example, can split until it is a veritable swarm, exhausting the entire theater of consciousness. In more rational terms: All parts can absorb the self, if only for short periods at a time.
This dream has created a conceptual foundation Id like to use everywhere I can, but I dont know where I can! (I wish I had connections in the animation business!)
Jeg forestiller meg julenissens opprinnelse som et lurt triks for foreldre i gamle dager som ville forhindre at barna følte skyld når de mottok gaver. Altså svært høysinnet.
Med storsamfunnet og kapitalismen ble julen uunngåelig nok grundig avfortryllet. Julegaver er nå redusert til lite mer enn et sosialt regnskap. Julen er et blitt et beklemmende spill. Det er ubehagelig å gå rundt i en tilgloret by for å handle gaver man ikke liker til folk man ikke liker å få gaver fra. Smilene på julaften kommer først og fremst av medfølelse med hverandres usagte frustrasjon.
Og internett undergraver nytteverdien av gaveutveksling fullstendig: Alle gode ting (musikk, filmer) kan lastes ned gratis. Vi står igjen med et valg mellom å gi noe kjedelig eller noe ubrukelig.
Jeg har ikke noe imot en rituell feiring av vintersolverv, men slik julen fungerer i dag er bare tåpelig.
Hvis man insisterer på å gi noe, kan man gi til veldedighet (jeg foreslår Wikimedia). Hvis man insisterer på å få noe, kan man bli enige om å laste ned anbefalte ting til hverandre, eller sette sammen en mixtape for hverandre.
Jeg insisterer verken på å gi eller få. For meg er julen et familie-rituale, og jeg mener tiden investeres bedre hvis man bruker den på å gjøre ting med familien. Hvilke ting man bør gjøre avhenger selvfølgelig veldig av familien. Med min familie kunne jeg tenke meg å sitte og diskutere foran en peis. Og kanskje spille Monopol et par ganger. Og lage pepperkakehus med abstrakt arkitektur. Forhåpentligvis snubler vi over noe som kan være bra å gjøre tradisjon av.
Et godt rituale kunne forresten vært å studert julens opprinnelse i saturnalia og andre solverv-fester. Funnet ut hvor symbolene kom fra. Gjennomskuet galskapen.