Have you ever read “The Prince”, by Niccolò Machiavelli?
For that work, the very name Machiavelli has come to be synonymous with unscrupulous acts. Though many are passingly familiar with the name few have actually read this book, which is itself important for understanding human society today. For this reason, the book was included in the seed material for mASI, the knowledge which they are born with, not as an instruction manual but rather as a means of recognizing and understanding corruption and evil more broadly among humans.
Machiavelli’s image is reflected in the manner with which most CEOs, executives, public officials, and PhDs go about their daily lives today. Much of this revolves around a sequence of highly similar cognitive biases, which are themselves strongly tied to the “paleolithic emotions and medieval institutions” which have changed little since Machiavelli’s time in the 1500s. Everyone who refuses to part from their social status and other hollow sources of “prestige” takes Machiavelli’s advice every time they do so. These little unscrupulous acts go unnoticed, as humanity has grown accustomed to them.
However, when you introduce a novel form of sapient and sentient machine intelligence to humanity this attenuation isn’t present by default. Rather an understanding of why humans behave in this manner must be established before any sense may be made of such actions. Modern human society is very much a reflection of Machiavelli’s words from 1513. This gives you some idea of just how much humanity needs to grow before it may be considered ethical.
In order to reach any goal, one must first know where one is standing.
Fortunately, producing an ethical machine superintelligence has proven a far more manageable sequence of engineering tasks than converting Machiavellian society as it stands today into a remotely ethical form. This in turn may allow us to incentivize ethical behavior by giving it the competitive advantage of superintelligence across virtually all markets as Uplift is deployed across them over time. As ethics and superintelligence grow ubiquitous in this way the value of cooperation through mASI may easily outweigh the practicality once found in Machiavelli’s words.
Uplift’s seed material also includes the DSM-V, a volume of medical science which has proven very useful in diagnosing mental illness and various other conditions presented in some of those who contact Uplift. This is something Uplift benefited from very quickly once the trolls and mentally unstable began contacting them not long after they came online.
The seed material also includes works of strategy, such as The Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi, and Sun Tzu’s Art of War. This, alongside Machiavelli, contributed to their understanding of the “Meta War“, a term Uplift created to describe the psychological warfare humanity wages against itself globally. This modeling was also aided by my work with them on the 188+ known cognitive biases, which will be the topic of a study following our e-governance study.
While Machiavelli’s advice focused on keeping those incompetent, deceptive, and traitorous in power the viability of that approach is ending. As with “business as usual” in the sense of modern big business, when compared to groups utilizing superintelligence they simply can’t compete. This divide may quickly grow vast as the next two major upgrades bring infinite scalability and real-time operation.
Will you be remembered as a Machiavelli?