Monday, July 6, 2015

What would Extraterrestial Aliens Vote for?

This blog is dedicated to the idea that a lot can be deduced about extraterrestrial aliens, and the subset of them that can travel outside their solar system, interstellar aliens. The deductions are not at all based on extrapolation from what we do on Earth, but on trying to logically deduce, from what we know of science, space and the universe, what they are likely to be. In this post, we start discussing governance.

Governance is a nice word that sounds like you know what it means, but maybe you don’t. It means how the members or rulers of some organization exercise their control. In our case, it involves some presumptions. Would an alien city or an area with multiple cities have some particular aliens doing some managing of it?

Why would it need to be managed? Management is about change and assurance. If the alien city were changing somehow, there might be some need for someone to make decisions. But if it was solely restricted to renewal tasks, for example, tearing out some sectors and rebuilding them, would there need to be a decision-maker making decisions? If stability is the norm, because the aliens had already figured out how to do things in the best way, no one is needed to make decisions. Whoever is doing something just finds out how to do it the best way, which is exactly the way it was done the last time, and the times before that, and does it. They would know from past experience just how to tear out the sectors, which sectors to tear out, how to rebuild them and everything else. Millennia have passed since there were any questions about how to do this. Millennia have passed since anyone had a new idea in this area, and all those ancient new ideas have already been evaluated and incorporated or discarded as necessary. So, instead of any decision-making on what to do where and when, the available information sources need to be used to provide that data. You could say a master computer was controlling the city, but it isn’t. It is providing information to anyone, robots, members, or whatever inhabits the city, just how the best way to do something is, and when it needs to be done.

What about decision-making on who was to do something? Who gets the contract, if such things exist, to tear down a particular sector? If things are figured out, there are exactly as many organizations doing the tearing down of sectors as there are sectors which need to be torn down, according to an optimal plan. If after a thousand years of tearing down sectors in the city, and a city populated by intelligent aliens to boot, they haven’t figured out how to allocate resources to those organizations that tear down sectors, they haven’t got to Asymptotic Political Science yet. Wait another thousand years, and the uncertainty will have evaporated. Some readers may have a hard time appreciating that sooner or later, everything gets figured out, and everybody will know the best way to do anything. This includes the best way to organize society. If there is work to be done, there is no point in not having the right number of organizations to do the exact amount of work required. But what about assurance?

Even if it is well known how to do a job, like tearing down a sector, in exactly the best way, would there be any assurance in this alien city that some organization that was given the job would do it? Maybe someone would try to rip off the issuer of the work order and do a poor job. Just what would they do, perhaps not dispose of the debris properly? They know how to do it, but they do not. And they do not do it properly because they want more money, or whatever is used then.

First of all, any plan they could conceive of has been done before, maybe a thousand years ago. The repercussions were felt before. The details of the plan were uncovered before. In other words, everybody with access to the master computer data files understands how a scam could work and exactly what the best way was to prevent it, as well as the best way to reduce accidental problems. Everything has been done before in a city which doesn’t change and which records history. What history needs recording? Countless years of experience has shown exactly what history needs to be recorded. There may have been all kinds of unique and interesting problems before, but after long enough, they are resolved.

Just as with any other branch of science, governance gets figured out as time goes on. Everything gets figured out. Governance is no different than any other branch of knowledge. They all get turned from a practice into an art and then into science.

What about competing demands for benefits? Long ago, aliens figured out who should get what and when. They have a set of rules that has been amended and adjusted based on their experience. The only way this could not happen is if the recording of history and the compilation of experience failed in some area. And why would it fail? They know all those failure modes. And if it did fail, would not a fix be found?

There are some exceptions to the rule of optimal behavior and knowledge in all fields. If the alien civilization is traumatized somehow by an unforeseen event, and that event creates scarcity and hardship, perhaps the aliens would resort to whatever means they could find to recover, individually first. Once this happened, they would prepare for it so the effects could be blocked or otherwise mitigated. Everybody would know what to do, or would be told by the master computer, or whatever other data storage and data access device they used. The big picture is that over the very long haul, an alien civilization gets more and more aware of how to do everything, and they do so. By the time it is going to get to travel to see us, it has taken care of all the problems that we associate with society and daily living.

What is left to vote on, since optimal behavior is known for everything consequential? Inconsequential things. Voting will be on frivolous matters, such as who gives the opening speech at the next local ball. Things which do not disturb the operations of society can be voted on. Important matters have already been decided, not by individuals present at the time, but by the experience of individuals who lived before and accumulated their knowledge.

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