Politics (or: “Fun at parties”)

Politics is a distributed system — one of the many that humanity as a whole is running. It’s a set of algorithms (interfaces and their implementations) that influence the present and future state of mankind; it’s also all individuals as a computing mass communicating within the protocol that they choose or have to bear (tyranny, capitalism, socialism, communism) to the highest level of abstraction possible, that which concerns itself with the ways in which we want to live, or be, together. Consider that this system runs within the constraints imposed by our limitations; the fact that we are humans with inefficiencies, both in our characters and in our bodies; and that we communicate mostly with pained ambiguity and at a low information transmission rate.

Now picture a world where all our characteristics can be tinkered with and improved on; and where the society we work in, the distributed system manifested in our interactions, can move at the speed of silicon and Von Neumann architectures — or better.

That which in our present world takes 50 years — the political debates that societies go back and forth on throughout the years — would take in this world of silicon only seconds. The abolition of all forms of sexism and segregation may take the blink of an eye, if still pending; perfect equality (that which maximizes the total amount of freedom) two seconds, with the fairest possible distribution of the sum of the world’s wealth thrown into the mix.

What could come after this? So freed from its limitations (its shackles, if you like a metaphor), how would humanity advance itself further? Which measures would it take next, and in which ways would it choose to alter itself to keep improving? It would take only a few more such iterations for that world and its individuals to become pretty much unintelligible to us, present day society, so at this point the interest usually weakens. But what we’re all doing here, now, is writing the programs and maintaining the systems that may still run in that hypothetical future, in some shape or form — heavily refactored, and unshackled.

Anyway, this is what I say nowadays when people bring up how they’re tired of politics at parties.


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