So far in this Equilibrium platform, I have discussed the theoretical science behind it and the general differences between current government practices and practices under Equilibrium. In this article, I will be exploring Dante in greater depth, were we will cover aspects such as its constraints model.
I will discuss how Equilibrium integrates with various social and political models, the results of which may be a little surprising. I will also take a brief look at the objective view of our world, which is the only perspective that a system like Equilibrium views it from. Finally, I will look at Data, its capture, preparation, cleaning and deliver to Dante.
As with each article in this series, take this as a seed of an idea, something to build upon.
How do we design a software solution to capture the concept of balance? More importantly, what do we even mean by a concept of balance in the context of a nation?
Let's deal with the latter issue first. Balance starts with the universally accepted principle of Equality. Equality is not something that just drops out of the sky, it is not something typically even found in nature (at least not a human sense of it), it is a concept that mankind has developed over eons as a driving force to improve the quality of life for everyone on the planet. Without question, it was what made America great, it brought about the end of segregation, it is brought allies to its side, it what made enemies crumble and it is the core of the nations economy.
To some, these values mean little, but to the broader world and indeed much of the US, it is central to who they are as a people. If this were not the case, it would not be a common theme in the various constitutions and declarations across the globe. Violation of equality comes with one guarantee, in time, your society will collapse and it will most likely be given a good shove by the rest of the world.
Each nation encapsulates this notion in a slightly different way, whether it be through laws, rights, constitutions, etc. Our entire legal system is about balancing the needs and wants of each individual. Where imbalance exists, either perceived or real, change follows as a consequence.
It is this that we want to capture in the heart of Dante.
It is important to recognize balance as a process, not an event. That is, in the general improvement of conditions globally we must recognize our limits, understand that the path from A to B is not always in a straight line, accept that things come with time and embrace change. Thus, Dante needs to be flexible to achieve balance, yet maintain a sense of importance or priority in its goals.
The overall goal for Dante is to bring all indicators into a nominal position and maintain that. This is not only at all levels of our society, but at all levels in every society globally. In our current world, our respective long term economic health and security is wholly dependent on our relationships with foreign nations, even with perceived enemies.
To achieve this Dante must have sense of the founding values of a nation. To a computer, the extermination of a segment of the population to save on welfare payments may seem reasonable, but when weighed against the constraints set forth in law, this no longer becomes a viable approach. A computer has no other sense of ethics, other than what we provide it with.
Given this, there are a set of fix constraints or pillars within Dante, the primary one being the concept of equality. Equality has a lot of dimensions to it, racial equality, gender equality, pay equality, etc. From this single root concept, we could practically derive all of our laws as branches on a tree.
It is here that we define 'nominal position'. In a Communist society, 'nominal position' would typically mean that all indicators achieve a central status. In a capitalist society, a 'nominal position' would fluctuate within defined constraints. Achieving the Communist, or Marxist, ideal of central status is physically impossible. It ignores the key concept of Entropy in a physical system. Thus, a Communist society would, in practice, fluctuate much like a capitalist system. The primary difference is that in a true Communist system, Economic indicators are replaced with resource and planning indicators, perhaps even some demand indicators. Again, in practice, the true Communist model would work very much like the Capitalist model in that the public would collaborate with the government breaking down the central planning model.
If we step back from these notions of 'isms', we can observe that at a pure functional level both models are near identical. The striking differences are the lack of imbalance in personal wealth and that Equilibrium manages production. Outside of Equilibrium there are obviously other differences, for example the motivational forces that drive people to work and engage in society. In capitalism that is provided by the forces of the market driving self-motivation backed by the power of the state. Under Communism that is provided through self-motivation and power of the state.
As an aside to this, this may explain why Communism tends to collapse, in a Capitalist system people can blame a distraction called the economy, whereas in a Communist state, only the government can be blamed. Issues also arise at the interface layer between a Communist state and the outside world in a global marketplace. This is something that would be clearly visible in Equilibrium. A Communist state generally only has its resources and derived products to bring to the marketplace, whereas Capitalist nations have a range of abstract goods and services over-and-above that of the Communist state. Thus, we can expect the Communist state to grow slower, if at all possible, in a world dominated by Capitalism. The lifetime of a Communist nation is thus governed by two factors, resource consumption rates and how much force the state must apply to motivate workers. One or the other will drive transition to Capitalism (i.e. Soviet Union), or hybrid model (i.e. China). In the case of the Soviet Union, it was the state that became the primary issue. In the issue of China, due to its population size, it was resource consumption rates.
In a capitalist system, we can observe that if the economy collapses or if the state becomes too forceful, it too will collapse. Under a capitalist system, Entropy occurs in a number of forms. The first is the collapse of the currency FX rate, the second is the hording of wealth and the third is large debts. When all three combine together in time, we would describe this as a 'perfect storm'. The constraints model in Equilibrium creates solutions that avoid these conditions, whilst preserving a sense of broader equality. That is, its solution is to adjust key laws to ensure liquidity is maintained and growth is achieved. Ultimately, under these conditions, Equilibrium cannot prevent economic collapse, as it is a function of the design of the Capitalist system. That is, Capitalism promotes a self-destructive set of social behaviors, Equilibrium can prolong that event but it cannot prevent it indefinitely.
This is not surprising given that, as was discussed in the first article, social behaviors can be described as a predator. Thus, the answer probably exists in periodic 'ism' switches, or a re-examination of the principles of capitalist economic theory to introduce modifications which account for social behaviors. Equilibrium partially addresses the latter to prolong decay.
Ultimately, it must be understood that from a pure objective viewpoint Mankind is no different to the surface activity of a star. Our entire existence is the conversion of Energy from one form to another and evolution/adaptation is merely that system finding yet another method to convert Energy. Given this, usable Energy is finite and thus as a species we are always against the clock and our numbers are governed entirely by the amount of convertible Energy we can exploit. Change is inevitable. Thus, just like a sun, there will come a time when we exploit all the fuel reserves and cease to be.
Observing the world mentally from this objective point of view is similar to observing it from space. Our various 'isms', beliefs and social behaviors not only seem weird, but clearly delusional given what it really is. Imagine a coronal loop telling you it wants to be a socialist, or expounding the virtues of capitalism. Its a bit daft, much like a child sitting in a cardboard box pretending its a car. It is from this perspective that Equilibrium must be judged, Equilibrium is just there to provide the best solution for the current conditions.
What we observe in this, is that Dante's models incorporate a sense of the law, economics and other quantifiable aspects. Incorporating a sense of the law does not require a full blown strong artificial intelligence, merely the definition of constraints between quantifiable aspects. This provides a certain tolerance in deviation from true equality that enables citizens to shift resources around to achieve certain goals, both short term and long term. Thus, it is possible that Dante will periodically reduce equality in certain areas in the short term, to ensure the long term viability of that equality.
As an extension of this concept, Dante will have a sense of priorities. That is, it will examine the nation as a dependency chain of interests and attempt to preserve the key industries upon which everything else built. We can describe this as a survival instinct.
In doing so, Dante must also weigh that against the broader social effects. For example, it may make sense to focus resources to benefit these companies, but that may come at the expense of broader social harmony (i.e. higher taxes, reduced funding for Policing, etc). Obviously, the primary goal of Dante in these complex situations is to strike a balance.
So, what we will find in practice is that a sense of balance is a dynamically moving target, often foregoing short term improvements for long term sustainability.
These models capture, in their design, government policy and can be used to project effects across society and nations. Projections are complex analytics based upon the constraint model that predict the repercussions for each facet of society. Along side this is feedback from the real world, which is used to update the models and algorithms employed in the projections.
From time to time, new things emerge in our society that must be integrated into this constraint model. Prime examples over the last century or so are the introduction of the telephone and the creation of the internet. When events like this occur, the balance can be dramatically shifted, so much so that previous historical information is no longer applicable for projections. We call this event a change in 'global context'. Thus, a new sense of what equality means must evolve in order for the projection to begin aligning with reality.
These models have an additional benefit in the world of the Judicial branch of government. As they capture the law and its effects, it allows judges to test the impact of their rulings and their rulings will obviously update the constraints model too. I foresee a change in the Judicial system, where collaborative judgments become the norm given the complexity of the problems.
Data is what makes Dante work and clean data is highly important. In many big data solutions, raw data is dumped into a data lake and various solutions then take this, process it and derive a cleaned data set to work from. Alternative solutions exist to this problem in complex environments. The primary question to ask is who knows the data best? In many cases it will be the department or group producing the data, thus a viable solution is to have them prepare and clean the data before inclusion into Dante.
It is also at this stage that we can address broader security concerns of personal information entering Dante. In the majority of cases, such confidential information is not a required and thus should remain within the boundaries of the department producing the data. Like all Big Data solutions, the main analysis is about trends and insights, not about specifics and drilling down to identifiable individuals. Given the complexity of the constraint model, drilling down to the individual level has limited value in the majority of scenarios. As such, the recommended practice where identifiable information is concerned is to conduct such processing outside the scope of Dante within the relevant department or group. Just like in the intelligence world, an attitude of 'need to know' must be adopted in the context of personal information. That is, does Dante need to know certain confidential information to perform its role? In the majority of cases, the answer will be a clear no.
Another area to consider is how to get data into Danta and the schema. Will this be by API or raw upload to a data lake? How often will this be performed? What happens when the schema changes? What broader impact does this have when aligning it to the constraints model?
This latter issue of aligning data models, with the constraints model requires expressing the data in a format suitable for integration into what is effectively a larger mathematical piece of work; a formal proof of the socio-economic construct. This also needs to occur in a way that is extensible.
Getting this schema and encapsulation correct is key to whole system.
Much of this, in some form or another, is going on in private enterprises and various government departments across the globe as we speak. The driving force behind this is to provide everyone with a common framework from which to work and collaborate on, rather than having competing models and datasets.
With a common vision and many hands, it becomes possible to resolve complex problems in our society with relative ease and speed. Further, with a clear common view of government there should be little-to-no surprises outside of new factors introduced through innovation in the marketplace.
All of this may seem as complex as the space shuttle, but keep in mind that it merely captures what a government is actually doing right now. Is it any wonder that simple phrases such as 'no new taxes' do not lead to substantial change? Of course not, the realities are much more complex than can ever be conveyed in a sound bite, or be comprehensively grasped by a single individual. That said, it is important for the individual to comprehend the consequences of their actions and that is where Dante lends a hand.
How far away are we from this? Given the current rate of deployment, it is feasible to deliver much of this in the next 3 years. Whether this will happen that quickly depends on a broad range of factors, but the general trend in government is that Equilibrium, in some form, is coming.