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Merge pull request #392 from JacobCWBillings/JacobCWBillings-patch-1

New manifesto argument: A physics of democracy
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santisiri committed Jul 18, 2019
2 parents 83be6f6 + c27e748 commit 66264d1d5d59322462b19aed9d5f6fe913939a21
Showing with 17 additions and 3 deletions.
  1. +17 −3 README.mediawiki
@@ -109,7 +109,21 @@ The origins of modern cryptography go back to World War II when Alan Turing buil

Secrecy is a fundamental property of free and fair elections as it is a mechanism that helps avoid coercion from those in power and prevents the risk of elections being bought and sold for money. Privacy is the best guarantee a conscious, free mind has to think for itself. But on the modern internet, privacy is illusory when using Facebook, Google or any web based service. Even though Internet monopolies pretend at being the gatekeepers of online privacy, theoretically Facebook can still impersonate any of its 2 Billion registered users should it ever desire to. Google and Facebook hold the largest identity databases in the world—surpassing the governments of India and China—while [ 97% of their reported revenue comes from advertising], severely conditioning the kind of experience that users get with their technology. It is in their corporate interest to gather as much information as possible to profile people in order to stay competitive in the attention market, and both companies filter information fed to users with [ algorithms accountable] to no one but their own board. None of their services are really free: personal sovereignty is unwittingly given away to technology giants today in the same way the natives 500 years ago on the American continent were distracted watching their own ''selfies'' in shiny mirrors even as European conquistadors swept away their entire way of life. Uncensored, free and sovereign debates on the future of humanity are being eaten by useless ''likes'' that help only to perpetuate these corporate entities. ''Fake news exploits'' (as they were used during the U.S. elections) or critical content spreading like wildfire (as it happened during the ''Arab Spring'') demonstrate that any effort to stop international influence on national politics is futile as societies spend most of their time online. Simply put, the Internet is incompatible with Nation-States.

===1.4 Intelligence.===
===1.4 Network Theory and Natural Self-Assembly.===

All natural structures--from whirlpools to political-economies--spontaneously emerge from energy differentials. From a generative standpoint, structure is just a thing lying in-between an energy differential which dispurses the energy without generating too much entropy (disorder) (Prigogine, 1977). At the Big Bang, the energy of this universe was packed into a dense (low-entropy) singularity. Over 16.5 billion years of expansive cooling, countless entropy minimizing structures emerged. Some of those structures are still found today....

Knowing that the most sustainable structures are those that minimize the production of disorder, we should ask ourselves what kinds of new orders we can bring to societies of the present age. The mathematics of network theory offers many useful abstractions to think about more useful social orders. Networks can be thought of as composed of nodes (people, in our case), and edges (interpersonal relationships) (Xiao Fan Wang & Guanrong Chen, 2003⁠). When a node realizes some potentially (de)stabilizing bit of information, it may utilize its available edges to convey the insight to all other nodes; and, perhaps, bring about some new functional synchrony. The average path length of a network quantifies the number of edges needed to communicate information between any two pairs of nodes. The magnitude of this quantity is linked to the cost of building edges. When the cost of building new edges is very high, complex networks tend to minimize the total number of edges by self-assembling into a "small-world" topology. In such a case, most nodes develop only local edges. A few "richly-connected" hubs develop long-range edges between otherwise local communities. Conversely, when the cost of building edges is very low, networks may adopt fully connected networks.

The cost of building interpersonal relationships between individuals is related to the kinds of communications technologies the population has available (Benedict Anderson, 1983). Early in human evolution, we developed spoken language. Consequently, members of tribes could pause from rubbing elbows/sholders, stand on a mound of earth, and enunciate subjectively useful information. Written--and then printed--languages allowed information to be mass-distributed. And while the transition from spoken to printed language certainly dropped the cost for individual people to reach a broader population; the range of print capital is limited by the cost of printing and distributing paper. From the perspective of network theory, the average path length between all people had decreased; but, there was still a large reliance on richly connected hubs, e.g. publishing houses, to convey new insights between any two people.

In the 21st century, telecommunications and the app-verse have dropped the marginal cost of interpersonal communications to nearly zero. Distributed digital ledgers such as that implemented by could act as a centralized communications hub for planet-wide discourse. This kind of "global public sphere" would look roughly star-shaped (or spoke-shaped). Each person could reach all other persons via just two edges: one to upload the insight onto the blockchain, and the other to (filter and) browse. The kinds of political-econimies we might realize through this more efficient network structure should increase the overall sustainability of human societies by allowing our norms and behaviors to dynamically syncronizing around the granular perspectives of a real democracy composed of all connected persons.

Prigogine Ilya. Time, structure and fluctuations. Nobel Lecture in Chemistry, 1977.
Xiao Fan Wang and Guanrong Chen, "Complex networks: small-world, scale-free and beyond," in IEEE Circuits and Systems Magazine, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 6-20, 2003.
Anderson, Benedict. Imagined communities: Reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism. Verso Books, 2006.

===1.5 Intelligence.===

I can’t let you do that, Dave.
@@ -122,7 +136,7 @@ A looming threat is the use of unrestricted Artificial Intelligence (AI) that ge

The issue of AI deciding on the fate of human lives opens up ethical and moral questions. Eventually not even human researchers are able to properly understand how an AI is behaving, becoming a threat if it is a key component of military grade technology. According to author Yuval Noah Harari, “Intelligence is breaking apart from living organisms and it won’t be monopolized by carbon beings for long.” Consciousness is the new political frontier being drawn, a line between machines and humans. In other words: understanding whether we are using the machines or the machines are using us. How we structure human organizations —and govern the code running them— defines who is in charge. As the capacity of silicon intelligence matches Moore’s Law growth rates, humanity as a whole must ask itself how it is going to govern the reins of this unprecedented power.

===1.5 Decentralization.===
===1.6 Decentralization.===

Sovereign is he who decides on the exception.
@@ -139,7 +153,7 @@ Meanwhile, traditional elections have a technique known as ''adversarial countin

Decentralization is a requirement of democratic elections. Without it there will always be room for corruption. Blockchains enable trustless systems by eroding the need of human authority and increasing the defenses of vote integrity with a shared resource that has scorekeeping as its main function. This permits unprecedented designs for electoral systems. '''With a blockchain-based democracy votes become censorship resistant and every single voter can audit an election without requiring any kind of access rights to infrastructure.''' By storing vote data in a blockchain rather than in private servers or ballot boxes, audit costs become abstracted and are turned into a guaranteed right for every participant. Voters are not just mere spectators but also sovereign gatekeepers of the whole process. This kind of transparency cannot be delivered by traditional electoral systems, analog or electronic.

===1.6 Sovereignty.===
===1.7 Sovereignty.===

On today's internet, voting has emerged as the main interaction. Every time users ''like'', ''upvote'', ''heart'', ''link'' or ''retweet'' content they are signaling a preference that serves a feedback loop generating better recommendations for them. But the action won’t go any further: it’s a ''fake vote'' that lacks institutional implications. ''Likes'' in social media operate as worthless tokens that can be inflated with a single click even though they set the price of advertising dollars. Network effects turned this interaction into a metric that highlights the influence of a specific idea within a crowd, often being a tool for those in power to survey society’s needs. But the financial and political benefits of these transactions are kept entirely by the [ network owners].

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