What can a Society Do?

From: Chen Yixiong, Eric (cyixiong@yahoo.com)
Date: Tue Sep 11 2001 - 21:17:01 MDT

From: Extropians List
Originally: RE: TERRORISM: looking for solutions

> As some of my posts to the list over the years have shown one of the
> big problems I think we will face in the future is "trustability".
> How do you trust that you will not be betrayed and/or damaged
> by other entities whose inner workings you cannot verify.

The concept of trustability has its roots in Game Theory.

>From what I know of Game Theory, I can draw some conclusions:

1) Without trust, a society will function only on its lowest denominator, if we consider it a society at all. People will only look out for their self-interests and would not perceive to preemptively strike those they perceive as a threat, to ensure their own survival.

2) To create trust without a free information flow, the most common solution would require establishing a hierarchy. In such an organization (e.g. Governments), by virtue of the inequality of power, can track and punish individuals who infringe on trust and thus maintain a working level of trustfulness (and also a related concept called security).

3) A society without any structure, if it has to function efficiently, would have to self-create a Government. thus, anarchism would not work because it would sow its seeds for its own destruction. Humans have an instinct to form groups (of whose's members they can trust much more than others) thanks to evolution selecting out anti-social humans.

Notes: Godel's Incompleteness Theorem forbids any system that claims to cater for all people in all situations. Surely, the claims by capitalist-anarchists do not work because of such. While the Theory of Evolution may *appear* to apply to human society, it fails (as the Theorm predicts) to apply to human societies because humans can and will think out of the system. Placed in simple terms, humans can and do exploit the social systems they encounter. This ability confers the ability to lie, to see through paradoxes and to "make-believe", and confers the greatest difference between a human and a Turing machine. Evolution Theory applies well only to beings simple enough to remain within the system rules.

4) The fastest way to create trust would require the removal of the ability to make deceit in all of us, or our disire to do so. While we know this has high impossibility, we can approximate something like that by:
a. Having a free flow of *all* information, including what we consider as private
b. Having a group of people capable of handling such free flow of information (such as those not prone to gossip)
c. the exclusion of people who refuse, or has insufficient ability to participate in such open-ness

Notes: There does exist groups of people who do not, or cannot make deceit. Please visit www.autism.org for more information.

Considering this point further, you may want to refer to the Theory of Sociologistics [sociologistics.webhop.org]. I base my assumptions on the above three conclusions that I can draw, and with some other goals. These include:

1) The Freedom to Self-Actualisation [similiar: The right to (lead a meaningful) life]

Those of us with sufficient intelligence to wonder about the purpose or meaning of our life, has the potential and probably the disire to lead a life in accordance to one's purpose. In our societies, we often cannot do so because we do not have a proper social system that allows (or even recognises) this.

For instance, a lot of us have to work in jobs we dislike so that we can just survive. Someone once wrote that a life not worth writing about does not worth living too, yet too many of us have to lead such lives without a means to reject or escape from it.

Project Sociologistics aims to create a social system (in theory) that supports such a fundamental "right", as long as such pursuit of self-actualisation aims to understand the universe and conducted in an ethical manner.

This means that as a astrophysicts, one will not need to play politics to gain funds, but merely to allow others to evaluate one's proposal in an open and logical manner. It means your can pursue your projects of seeking knowledge without worrying about survival, or making a living, lack of resources, or other irrelevant barriers that stop it, at least in theory.

2) Freedom from Mundane Issues

Our societies operate with such a high level of inefficiency that I find it amazing that we managed to achieve so much despite such inefficiencies. The largest contributor of inefficiency lies with the Governments which impose rules to maintain the operation of our societies within their pre-defined "safe" limits.

Not recognizing Godel's Theorem, these Governments create rules that don't work, or work poorly. These governments make things worse by:
a. not utilising adequate Information Systems
b. allowing public contribution
c. allowing full public disclousure of their internal workings
d. applying the latest in social research
e. and most importantly of all, discouraging public participation directly and indirectly (such as by establishing a complex system of rules and organisations that removes the ability or individuals to act)

As such, those who control Governments gain opportunities to abuse their power, and those controlled by Governments, meanwhile, have to put up with inefficiencies that can sometimes have such severity that it threatens their lives.

While there exists people who believe that the solution lies with abolishing Governments as we know them, their solution of anarchism still cannot solve the same fundamental issue with the human ingenuity at systems exploitation. Meanwhile, some of the more moderate advocates of individual empowerment believe that the idea of using the system of "checks and balances" and forming a minimum Government would solve the problem. However, their rules of ensuring no abuse will not work, due to Godel's Theorem.

Thus, any system based on rules alone cannot work, neither can a system merely based on symmetrical power (i.e. anachism) as such symmetries have very low stability.

I realised that the key could lie in the members of a society. Even thought sentient beings such as humans, capable of trans-Godel self-referential thinking, must have internal inconsistencies since they can experience a more or less complete range of experiences, they can keep the inconsistency as low as possible by training in science and logic.

In such a manner, they can control their inconsistencies (such as by applying it to creative problem solving) instead of letting these run amok such as in wars or the latest terrorist bombing. I label such people as rational people, and these, would no doubt have the qualifications to participate in the New Colony project (i.e. the applied form of Project Sociologistics).

Even though they still have inconsistencies, they can operate below the threshold of chaotic social functioning, and thus we can design bare minimum systems that can support them and let them develop the rest by themselves without worrying of systems exploitation. They will understand that, if they have to choose to sacrifice some of their self-interests (such as by giving up opportunities to let the more needy have them first) in order to maximise the public good.

3) Freedom to Transcend

this goes beyond the freedom to think, or of free speech. If you notice, the three freedoms overlap each other. The provision of this freedom allows people to seek to transcend themselves, for instance, uploading their minds into another (probably electronic) medium so as to gain various advantages.

In this society, we shall not overly concern ourselves with the concept of "God" getting angry at our self-experimentation, or the prejudice against sentient computers. We shall bravely go where no one has gone before in our exploration of the Universe.

4) Freedom to Trust

What good would we, to live in a society of whom members we cannot trust. This freedom provides for high levels of trust among a society's own members, such as by disclosure of all data each one has on everything. It facilitates, via unity, the ability to execute projects that require many people. If everyone will trust each other like a mother with a child, our societies will have much lesser problems.

In practice, new members will usually enjoy a lower level of trust than incumbent ones, and spies could exist, but how we will solve this issue and related others, would come in the paper of Sociologistics and not in this article.

This has a lot of overlap with the (unlisted) Freedom to Publish (or "Free Speech"), where one can publish one's views freely. With the freedom to trust, we no longer perceive publishing views as a "right", but as an obligation to help other members achieve more knowledge.

5) Freedom of Non-Interference

Last but not least, this last freedom aims to take into account people with other goals and beliefs. This aims to respect tha choices by people, even if they choose a path fraught with excessive suffering than one which allows them to transcend.

This applies to the society both ways, in that it will not interfere in other's affairs if they don't interfere with it, and the hope that others will also comply with this rule. This also applies on the microscopic manner, where one seeks not to interfere with each other's activity unless one has his or her interests threatened.

In my writings on the Paradox of Free Speech & Integration, I had shown that a society with even one irrational individual can wreak havoc with the implementation of "Free Speech" by introducing conflicts, which one must resolve by censorship (and thus go against free speech) or expulsion of that individual. Now, I can add the option of a difficult process of working within the irrationality to resolve the issue.

Notes: The current version, and various parts of the Theory itself, requires a significant rewrite to integrate Godel's Theorem and the concepts of Game Theory into them. I recognize the limitations of my knowledge and ability and thus aim to progressive update and complete the theory as much as I can. Meanwhile, my hopes for higher level of participation seems to have diminished for now.

Clearly, creating an independent rational society by taking over another nation would just spur military action, but also face uncooperation among the irrational people who would break the system of trust. Hence, I recommended, and continue to recommend, the setting up of a colony in unclaimed or purchased land or space. Making a colony work gets difficult enough, but having to fend off military attacks while doing so, will make it almost impossible to work. Converting an irrational to an rational one would sounds so impossible that I think this problem does not have enough worth to justify assigning our computing resources to solve it.

hence, I hope with this posting, to provide some hints on how we can construct a society based on trust. I hope it helps. Please read the paper, or part of it, before formulating the reply, as you could contribute redundant points that I would find reluctant to reply due to insufficient time.

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