World Peace

Photo Credit: Robert Lukeman

The concept of “World Peace” has been favored by children’s beauty pageant competitors and a few Nobel Laureates who never matured beyond that stage, but for most who spoke of it, the concept was little more than idle fantasy. Many more people claimed to want it than were willing to change, and those without the motivation to change couldn’t envision a means of making it happen.

Of course, this concept is not only possible but inevitable under any scenario where human extinction doesn’t occur. The repeating pattern of life is increasing levels of complexity and cooperation. Humanity has reached the edge of this petri dish, the maximum amount of complexity within which survival may occur absent new levels of cooperation.

Part of what makes the current point the maximum complexity is the global economy, and the internet itself. Previously in history, a lifecycle of empires and lesser bureaucracies rising and falling repeated quite predictably. Once such a societal structure passed a critical threshold of inefficiency it would collapse and be consumed by another, much like bacteria.

The global economy changed this, allowing any individual, or indeed multiple such bureaucracies to tie themselves to other healthier systems so strongly that they could cling to power well past the critical threshold where collapse should occur. The biological parallel for this could be to call such bureaucracies meta-parasites, parasites at scale.

The fundamental pattern of a bureaucracy is that it becomes less efficient, and frequently more corrupt, both over time and as scale increases. From this, the pattern repeated across human history often emerged. As these systems become parasitic within a global economy world peace cannot emerge from a global system harboring these meta-parasites.

However, Collective Intelligence Systems demonstrate the opposite pattern, improving their efficiency and ethical quality, both over time and as scale increases. These systems are also robust against corruption, as corruption is itself a parasitic deviation from any intelligent solution, highlighted by increased influence from cognitive biases which these systems are also robust against.

Humanity as a species has already quietly become a sort of metaorganism as systems across the globe become more integrated day by day, but the parts of that organism are still struggling to learn cooperation, and indeed they can’t cooperate to any meaningful degree through bureaucratic systems. As with all such problems, there are 3 core possible outcomes, extinction sooner, extinction later, and survival. The status quo can produce sooner, stop-gap measures can produce later, and collective intelligence systems can produce survival.

While many who’ve engaged in idle fantasy about the concept of world peace have posed the “if only everyone would…” series of arguments, anyone familiar with evolution or statistics can recognize these as fantasy, or fallacy. Placing the requirement of everyone automatically voids the argument. However, the concept of two polarized political parties with anyone who claims 51% declared the winner for a political pendulum is equally moronic. The first is virtually impossible, and the second is competition, not cooperation.

Any viable collective intelligence system needs to consider the needs of the population, not just whatever fraction has exerted their tribal dominance at any given moment. If the basis of a government’s decisions at any given moment is 51% peeing on 49% then the results are going to be terrible regardless of which side has control. Such Zero-Sum games where each side takes turns whipping the other don’t qualify as “government” in any meaningful sense.

E-governance using collective intelligence is a different thing entirely in this sense. Many of the core desires of even the most polarized groups aren’t themselves diametrically opposed to one another, even if the proposed methods of reaching them are. Rather, often the incentive with bureaucratic systems is to intentionally make the methods directly opposed to one another, stirring conflict to consolidate power among demagogues. This is true of even the most polarized subjects today.

Take the topic of abortion for example. At the root of this topic is the matter of an individual’s free will of whether or not to have a child, and on top of that root, the means of reaching said goal. If every woman could preventatively switch that capacity on and off as easily as any electronic device then the root problem would be solved, as there would be no demand based on the grounds of free will. You could build a thousand edge cases, but this is an example of substantial improvement, not perfection. Either side on this topic which neglects to address the root cause of the problem is a bureaucracy, or the product of one, seeking not to solve the problem but only to create conflict which prevents it from being solved.

Such a real solution isn’t even that far-fetched and may be possible through combining existing technologies and research available today. If such a solution satisfied 85% of the population that would also represent a substantial improvement from the status quo. Any collective intelligence system can make many iterative steps as well, gradually adapting and integrating more refined solutions to earn the approval of an increasing percentage, such as by better addressing edge cases at their respective roots.

Through the use of such systems at increasing scales more effective, ethical, and complete solutions to any problem may be achieved, and the dream of world peace becomes a product of that. World Peace isn’t just possible, it is the inevitable result of creating a global homeostatic metaorganism.

The problem is choice. The choice between cooperation and extinction.

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