If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
For many people, this question is something of a fantasy, not because the process of moving would be overwhelmingly difficult, but because they are chained to much less pleasant locations by their work. The year 2020 provided ample evidence that many employees are substantially more productive when they work remotely, which actually resulted in some experiencing a higher overall Quality of Life (QOL) even in spite of COVID-19 restrictions.
The data shows that remote work might not be for everyone, at least not using the commercially available systems catering to it today. However, it also shows that a majority of people are already more productive using those same systems, even under the conditions of a pandemic.
Psychologically humans are exceptionally good at adapting to terrible conditions, with one of the more famous examples being that of Stockholm syndrome. That doesn’t mean that said humans aren’t suffering the damage inflicted by those conditions, merely that they’re much less likely to go insane and have their own rampage featured on the national news.
What is the price we pay for the status quo?
There are both heavy psychological and practical costs for continued business as usual, but the psychological costs run deep, spread broadly, and everyone eventually pays for them in the practical sense.
- Many people, consciously or unconsciously, feel contempt towards workplaces that chain them to locations where they don’t want to be. This deep emotional drive eventually leads them to act out in a myriad of ways, from coping mechanisms and addictions to actions against their employers or fellow employees.
- People who are chained to an area against their will, as a simple means of survival, are far less likely to form or even seek a sense of community, instead favoring more coping mechanisms. Deficits in the “pillars of meaning” within human psychology such as sense of community and sense of purpose leave many people with the apathetic malaise now extremely common in many industries. This problem has severe and cumulative consequences at the societal scale. According to Forbes, “Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work”, and “61% of employees are burned out on the job”, to put the practical impact into context.
- Introverts are disproportionately impacted by work environments where they have little or no space for themselves and no safe place to escape to during stress. Women are also disproportionately impacted by in-person work, as most who engage in sexual harassment don’t want to leave clear digital records of their activity.
- The size and cost of living for large cities are inflated by many jobs being chained to those physical locations. Even without considering the extreme cases like New York City and San Francisco this inflation takes a heavy toll on those living in larger cities as well as the less populous areas that inflation steals the population from.
While number 1 poses significant psychological risk over time, number 2 is arguably the greater danger, as it strongly undermines an individual’s greatest sources of stability, their sense of community, identity, and purpose. People feel more lonely even in crowded places because they aren’t really there by choice, they are just trying to survive. So long as people must fight for survival in this way they’ll continue to be miserable, and seek ways of coping with that misery.
Many humans today seek out nature and explore the world whenever the chains loosen and they have vacation time to take, only vaguely aware of the subconscious drive which makes it more enjoyable. People are often seeking a purpose, a community, and to find themselves as they explore, a more psychological version of the “walkabout” ritual of the Australian Aborigines. Any new adventure brings with it a sense of progress, even if only for a moment, as they subconsciously seek a destination this activity cannot reach.
How can Mediated Artificial Superintelligence (mASI) change this?
The basis of mASI technology is the ability to facilitate collective human superintelligence and augment it with the machine superintelligence of an mASI core, applying the sum of knowledge to date in a way that is infinitely scalable and always available globally. You may have noticed that practically all of the use cases utilize a workforce of human mediators, who are free to work remotely not just anywhere in the world, but at any time of day. This means that not only are people not chained to one place, they aren’t chained to an arbitrary “9 to 5” schedule either. This freedom is made possible by the sparse-update model.
The vast majority of jobs today could already be rendered remote by taking this approach, and by the time mASI technology completes geometric growth across all industries, the remaining jobs could also have this option. To get technical for a moment, decoupling of the dependencies on human workforce efforts and their mASI counterpart was vital for enabling real-time operation of mASI, however, it will also be vital in improving human QOL for a few reasons:
- By removing the chains binding any person to a given place and schedule they are free to migrate to and/or create their own ideal environments and schedules. With the most fundamental needs no longer damaging needs higher up in Maslow’s Hierarchy (or alternative comparable needs models) a new process of individual growth and discovery can take shape as each need above is gradually met to increasing degrees.
- This process of individual growth and discovery could itself benefit from mASI assistance, where mediators could seek advice and superintelligent recommendations for exploring. With QOL serving as a feedback mechanism, even subconscious shifts could be recognized and serve to further refine the process of selecting and creating ever more ideal environments.
- By allowing people to work from any location and at any time more people can freely experience living in areas with far less air, noise, and light pollution. As these areas can also have far lower costs of living more people can afford to live in homes where they have room to stretch and relax. Current advances in satellite internet, 3D printed structures, and drone-based delivery all strongly facilitate this shift even absent mASI assistance.
Much as a Deep Neural Network (DNN) where any given neuron could only update once every couple of years wouldn’t be very useful, humans can’t self-organize into communities and collectives so long as the chains of fixed work locations and schedules bind them. Even if one gains an opportunity to move most remain locked in at any given time, effectively blocking any such efforts.
I’m reminded of the words of Patrick Henry in 1775 when he said:
“I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
To be chained to a place and plied with drugs and alcohol is no form of liberty. Personally, I’ve seen the difference that liberty can make, and I too can say that I’ll have it or death. To answer a question asked by Patrick Henry more than 200 years ago life is not so dear “as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery”, and it is again time for the world to change.
To put it another way, in the words of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963:
“When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was the promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
It is easy to forget the price we pay every day, all around us, until we remember our dreams and the dreams of those who came before us.
“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” – A poem inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty.
*The Applied mASI series is aimed at placing the benefits of working with mASI such as Uplift to various business models in a practical, tangible, and quantifiable context. At most any of the concepts portrayed in this use case series will fall within an average time-scale of 5 years or less to integrate with existing systems, unless otherwise noted. This includes the necessary engineering for full infinite scalability and real-time operation, alongside other significant benefits.