Politics is a nasty business. It always has been. At least, here on pre-Singularity Earth anyway. We’re currently in the midst of a particularly disgusting episode. Maybe the most disgusting ever. Certainly, the scariest ever. This time around rationality itself is on the ballot.
That’s right. Here in the 21st century, on the brink of the technological Singularity, when artificial intelligence will soon exceed human intelligence – we have a significant faction of the electorate thumbing their nose at facts they don’t like and a president running against science. That’s insane. I’d have some respect for the anti-sciencers if they lived like the Amish or the Alaskan Bush People, but they don’t. They are happy to benefit from the fruits of science, riding around in their cars, flying across the country in jets and socializing on their smart phones, all the while dismissing covid-19 as “just the flu,” and climate change as a hoax. You don’t get to choose the science you like and ignore the science you don’t because you don’t get to pick and choose aspects of reality that you like and ignore others that you don’t. That’s deadly stupid. There are quite a few covid-19 deniers who have been killed by the virus.
There’ll be quite a few more (maybe all of us) if the covid-19/climate change deniers prevail in this election and I think it’s a real possibility. I have little faith in elections. When I was a teenager, Reagan was elected President. I had the same reaction that Doc Brown did in Back to the Future. Ronald Reagan? The actor?!! The year before I had done a project for a high school class on the type of person who should be President. I didn’t have much of a sense of right or left politics back then. To my young, naïve mind, a president should be the smartest guy there is, someone who has a professorial understanding of science, which would enable him/her to be the visionary we need to lead us into the future.
My guy was Isaac Asimov. Not that he was running. He wasn’t. But he was the kind of person I thought we needed. I designed a postage stamp with his image and the question: Should our next president be a scientist? Asimov was sort of the Carl Sagan before Sagan. He was a biochemistry professor, who became famous for his science fiction and popular science works. He wrote the greatest science fiction series of all time, the Foundation series, which was about the fall of a great, galactic empire, followed by a period of feudalism and the rise of a second great, galactic empire. It was the literary equivalent of Star Wars. Like I said, he was my guy. I thought he had a real handle on politics and he was a scientific visionary. Sounded like the perfect choice to me.
Reagan? Not so much. An actor?!! An actor to lead us? A guy whose expertise is pretending to be something he’s not? Get real. What this said to me was that the government – at least the part that was public – wasn’t a serious operation. I got highly suspicious that the entire political process was a farce. I mean, if it can result in a president who is a fake, a phony, an actor reading his lines, then maybe the whole thing is fake, right? In retrospect, this was a joke, a slap in the face, coming on the heels of President Jimmy Carter, who’d been forced to break his promise to release the truth about UFOs when he was thwarted by then CIA Director George H. W. Bush.
It didn’t take long for Reagan to confirm my worst suspicions about his role (pun intended) in government. When asked by legendary reporter, Sam “Spock” Donaldson who was going to be in his cabinet Reagan said, “They haven’t told me yet.” Wait- what?!! Who’s they? Donaldson quipped back at Reagan, “Well, governor, you ought to see if you can’t get them to start telling you what’s going on.” That was Reagan, the actor, as President-elect, waiting for his producers to get him the script. I was disillusioned. I never took politics too seriously after Reagan.
Who “they” are is the subject for another post. If I were to imagine the ideal candidate today it wouldn’t be as easy as finding an Asimov analogue like Michio Kaku (I don’t think he’d want the job) or Neil DeGrasse Tyson (certainly not him. Ugh barf). It would have to be someone running on a Disclosure ticket. Unfortunately, the time is now and it isn’t happening. If Elon Musk is right that AI will surpass human intelligence in about 5 years, we might only get one more shot at it.
A Disclosure ticket will probably seem like a left wing utopian dream in the current political paradigm, but it’s not all bad news for right-wingers, who will experience unparalleled, glorious freedom like never before, even as capitalism inevitably fails.
Life is paradox.
General disclaimer: I am a political atheist. Our first president, George Washington, warned against political parties in his farewell address. Washington said loyalty to party over country would become a great danger to the nation that foreign powers could use to divide us. He was right and now here we are divided into red states and blue states, basically at war with each other. What’s more, it’s obvious that a simple either/or ideological binary choice is entirely inadequate to deal with all the complexities of civilization.
Having said that, whatever your ideologies, preferences, etc., the collapse of the capitalist paradigm is unavoidable. To attempt to resist would be like trying to make water flow uphill. For example, Universal Basic Income (UBI), widely pooh-poohed as socialism in this country, is inevitable in a civilization fully automated by AI Bots. When the best man for the job will always be an AI Bot running on renewable free energy that never needs to sleep there won’t be any jobs for flesh and blood people. The upside is you won’t need to work. I mean – you can if you want – but you won’t have to because the bots will do everything. Like the great and powerful Woz says, you’ll get to live like your pets.
Dot-com and start-up entrepreneur Andrew Yang was the most forward thinking of all the candidates who ran this cycle because he sees where tech is taking us. That’s why his economic policy included UBI. President Yang would’ve made perfect sense here in these very late pre-Singularity days when the president has to be something other than an entertainer. But making sense is not something this human race does much so we’re not going to get that.
A Disclosure ticket would also make reversing climate change and repairing the damage to the biosphere a top priority. The Green New Deal would be just a beginning.
This is where things get really weird for most people.
The ET presence has made it clear through the abduction/experiencer phenomenon that we’d have to clean up our act here on planet Earth before we’re able to establish meaningful diplomatic relations with the greater Galaxy at large. It would mean the end of the fossil fuel era. Accordingly, the Disclosure ticket would include a long term policy goal to prove we can be responsible stewards of our own planetary ecosystem so that we are granted license to develop a new world in the ever expanding universal civilization and participate in the post-Singularity expansion occurring in perpetuity throughout the Universe.
And if that isn’t challenging enough for Joe/Josie Sixpack, there’s more…
A Disclosure candidate would have to have a plan for contact after the AI Singularity that is right now very close at hand. Google’s Kurzweil has said that it’s possible that extraterrestrials that had already been through the Singularity phase of their evolution would wait for us to get there before they made open contact. If he’s right – and he may very well be – that is only one more election away. Yikes.
So it looks like there’s going to be one last chance for a candidate to run on a Disclosure platform. What we need is a Jimmy Carter on steroids, not the current guy. The real Jimmy Carter is still with us at 96 years of age, but I don’t think steroids would be enough for him at this point. He would need to survive the Singularity and have a little anti-aging augmentation done to make another run for president. Doesn’t seem too likely.
And here’s where things get even more extremely weird…
We could still elect a virtual President Jimmy Carter someday after the Singularity, even after the real Jimmy Carter is long gone, cold in his grave. According to Kurzweil, the next sexual revolution will be virtual, resulting in artificial people, who will eventually have their own emancipation proclamation and be granted full human rights once Congress passes a Nonbiological Persons Act that he estimates will happen about mid century. Presumably, such a nonbiological person would then be eligible to run for president.
That date would be too far out for our hypothetical AI Jimmy Carter to be the Disclosure president, but we will eventually have the opportunity to elect a virtual commander and chief. In fact, it’s possible that someday presidential candidates will be designed by AI programmers. You could see an election pitting an old-fashioned flesh and blood cyborg with AI augmentation against a purely virtual candidate. Unlike our current elections, there would be no doubt about the winner. In post-Singularity elections, voting will be done by MindMail, there will be 100 percent participation and everyone will be able to verify the result through Bitcoin/Blockchain technology. A future VR Trump-like candidate will not be able to allege voter fraud and blockchain will make the system invulnerable to hackers.
It will probably be the first time in history we have a real democracy.
It seems far out there- but, believe it or not, it’s not far off.