Globa: Accelerating technologies will create a global state by 2050
January 19, 2011 by Hugo de Garis
This essay argues that the exponential rate of technical progress will create within 40 years an Internet that is a trillion times faster than today’s, a global media, a global education system, a global language, and a globally homogenized culture, thus establishing the prerequisites for the creation of a global democratic state, “Globa,” and ridding the world of war, the arms trade, ignorance, and poverty. Whether Globa can cope with the rise of massively intelligent machines occurring at about the same time is far less certain.
Most readers will have heard of the phenomenon called “Moore’s Law” (i.e., the trend that the number of transistors that can be crammed onto a chip keeps doubling every 18 months). Less well known is the phenomenon I label “BRAD” (Bit Rate Annual Doubling), i.e., the speed of the Internet keeps doubling every 12 months. [Both of these are examples of Ray Kurzweil's law of accelerating returns. - Ed.]
The physicists say that there is effectively no theoretical limit to how tiny a substrate can be that is used to convey information, so we can expect the Internet speed to keep doubling for many decades. This means that in 30 years, the Internet will be a billion (230) times faster than it is today (2011). In 40 years, it will be a trillion (240) times faster.
What could one do with such fantastic speeds? One obvious answer is that 3D images could be transmitted that would appear to our eyes as real and as vivid as the objects we see by the light of the sun. It would also mean that everyone on the planet could receive the media of the whole world, i.e., “everyone gets everything.” The 3D life-size images transmitted would be so real that they would generate the same emotional impact on the viewer as a normal face-to-face contact in the same room. This will have a huge impact on people’s minds and attitudes.
The “Global Language Snowball Effect”
Imagine you are a very young primary school child in the 2020s and you are watching your “vid” (i.e., your 3D video player) in your living room. You notice that about 60% of the programs and the content of the world media you are receiving on your vid is in the world’s 1st or 2nd most spoken language, i.e., English. You therefore decide to master this language so that you can understand what most of the world is saying.
Now imagine you are the minister of telecommunications in your little country and you have to decide which languages you will use for the content you will send up to the global Internet satellite system. You note that already 60% of the world Internet content is in English, so you choose to send up your country’s content in your country’s language, and in English, as well as perhaps several other languages.
A few years later, the percentage has moved up to 70%. Eventually, all countries will be sending up their content in at least two languages — their own, and English. A snowball/saturation effect has arisen (i.e., the greater is the proportion of people on the earth who watch a given language, the greater is the number of countries that transmit in that language, and the greater the percentage of content on the global media that is in a given language, the higher the proportion of people who decide to learn and listen to that language), causing English to become the global language.
English today is far and away the planet’s most spoken 1st or 2nd language. It will certainly not be Chinese, since the world will utterly reject China’s incredibly clumsy and stupid writing system. China is the only country in the world (as far as I know) that does not use an alphabet in its writing. Instead of having to learn an alphabet of some two dozen symbols, the Chinese have to learn thousands of symbols to write their language.
The rise of a global language will have a huge impact on the world. Ideas will be able to flow far more readily across the planet. Billions of people will be influenced by the “best” ideas that the planet has to offer. People’s minds will be influenced powerfully, so that today’s nationalist mentalities will be gradually transformed into tomorrow’s globist mentalities. People will be able to compare their own local customs with those of other cultures and reject their own if they feel that other countries customs are superior to their own. People will become more “multi” (i.e., multi-cultured) than “mono” (i.e., mono-cultured).
Multis will increasingly look down on monos as inferior beings (rather like city-slickers towards country-bumpkins), seeing the monos as limited as individuals by the limitations of the single culture that programs them. Today’s governments will no longer be able to brainwash their citizens into the ideologies of their nationalist leaders. Global education systems (“globiversities”) will be established, to educate the poor people of the world. Internet satellites will be able to beam down education programs at all levels, from kindergarten to PhD level research seminars on all topics.
Global Satellite Learning (“GSL”) will rid the world of its last dictatorships (a process called “dedictation”), as billions of poor people catch on to the idea that they can pull themselves out of poverty by buying a small cheap vid (legally or on the black market) and educating themselves using the programs beamed down by the Internet satellites, the “edsats” (education satellites). As billions do this and become “middle class,” they will demand a say in their political systems, leading within 40 years (at the rate the world is democratizing — two countries per year) to a totally democratic world.
Since democratic countries do not go to war against each other (their voting populations do not allow it), the world will be far more peaceful. The 20th century’s diabolical trade in arms can be banished, and so can war. With over a trillion dollars a year freed up from arms spending in the world, this money can be rechanneled into humanitarian pursuits.
Global Cultural Homogenization
With a global language and all countries being democracies, the stage is set for global cultural homogenization. A billion-fold faster Internet will not be the only factor leading to global cultural homogenization. There are many other factors pushing humanity into a “globist mentality”, e.g., high-speed train networks across countries and continents, space planes that can carry a thousand people from New York to Beijing in a few hours, and greater wealth, which will mean far greater numbers of people becoming international tourists, visiting the beauty spots they can see on their vids in vivid 3D.
Also, a larger global economy will stimulate global trade, the creation of ever more economic and political blocs such as the EU (European Union), SAU (South American Union), AU (African Union), etc. will mean ever more international business people will be traveling to do business and to inspect progress in their various projects, etc. All these influences and more will make the creation of a global cultural homogenization more probable.
When the whole planet can watch the media of the whole world, in a global language, the minds of the world’s citizens will be made “globist,” not “nationalist.” Political leaders of countries whose policies are considered by the majority of the world’s citizens to be harmful or stupid will feel enormous moral pressure against them.
World opinion will be overpowering. If the citizens of a given country learn that 95% of other countries are opposed to their country’s policies, that will force them to think twice about the wisdom of their own leaders’ judgments. That in turn will make their leaders think twice too. All the world’s leaders will become sensitive to global opinion.
As the best ideas and customs spread across the planet, and billions of people adopt the same set of ideas (i.e., cultural homogenization), the stage is set for the creation of a global state. This will obviously be an incremental process.
Building Globa, the Global State
There are many routes to the creation of a global state, e.g., the expansion of the EU (European Union) route, the expansion of powers of the U.N. (United Nations) route, the merging of economic/political blocs route, etc. As the size of the economic/political blocs keeps increasing, smaller blocs need to become larger to stay competitive.
For example, in the case of the U.S., if it does not do what the smaller European nations have been doing for half a century, i.e., ceding sovereignty and merging into a much larger whole, then the U.S. will “not be a player” in the 21st century, because it will not be a member of the “billion club,” whose members include China, India, the EU, etc. The US will need to merge with the 30+ countries of the Americas and/or form an “Atlantic Union” with the EU to stay economically competitive and powerful. As blocs merge with other blocs, eventually there will be a single bloc the size of the planet.
There will be many forces that will be opposed to the creation of a global state, e.g., nationalism, national sovereignty, cultural differences, the clash of ideologies, religious differences, charity begins at home attitudes, cultural inertia, cultural alienation, etc. To overcome these formidable barriers that kept nations and mentalities apart in the 20th century, the “Globists,” i.e., those people in favor of “Globism,” the creation of “Globa,” the global state, will need to organize and spread their Globist ideology.
Since the creation of a global democratic state has such huge advantages compared to today’s sovereign nation state system, where each state is always spending large amounts of money preparing for the next war, the Globists will be able to muster powerful arguments in their favor. The Globists will need to organize at a local level, at a regional level, a national level, at a continental level, and eventually at a global level. They will need their symbols, their logos, their flag, their ideology, their anthem, their political programs, etc., and will then need to proselytize the world.
Globists could be active in researching and setting up the globiversities, the GSL (Global Satellite Learning), designing cheap smuggle-able vids for the world’s poor, pouring scorn on the nationalists (e.g., jeering at national anthems, etc.), making their presence felt all around the globe, pushing towards a grand vision: creation of a global state, riddance of war, banning the arms trade, scrapping nuclear weapons, education of the world’s population, and removal of world poverty.
These are magnificent goals and are readily achievable with the technologies that are coming in the next few decades. These technologies will soon make what was earlier seen as “globaloney” into Globa.
Once a global state (“Globa”) has been established, it will have its work cut out for it. The first thing it will have to do is set up a slew of new institutions, most of which will be analogous to national institutions as we know them today, e.g., create a global constitution, a global president, a global parliament, global political parties, global laws, a global civil service, global police, a global court, a global military, globiversities, global taxation, global wealth distribution, global resource management, global trade unions, global incomes policy, a global currency unit (the “Globo”), global health insurance, etc.
Once the establishment of these institutions is well en route, Globa would then need to tackle the planet’s major problems, e.g. it would need to create a globist ethics and globist propaganda, to undertake global nuclear disarmament, ban the global arms trade, meet the global environmental challenges, eliminate global poverty, establish a global taxation policy, as well as a global incomes and raw materials policy, global education, global population migration, foster greater global happiness rather than economic wealth, etc.
Globa and the Artilect
The above has argued that a global state “Globa” could be established by about the middle of the 21st century. This would be a wonderful thing if it can be achieved. However there is a gathering storm on the horizon, which will be playing itself out over the same time frame, namely the rise of the artilect (artificial intellect, i.e., a godlike massively intelligent machine) with intellectual capacities trillions of trillions of times above the human level.
The rise of the artilect will probably divide humanity bitterly into two major human groups: the “Cosmists” (who want to be “god (i.e., artilect) builders,” a form of science-based quasi-religion) and the “Terrans” (who are bitterly opposed to building artilects, through fear that the artilects may one day decide humans are such inferior pests and wipe them out). There is a third group, the “Cyborgists” (who want to add artilectual components to their own brains and become artilect gods themselves).
Since the computational capacity of nanoteched matter is so great (e.g., a grain of sugar with each atom switching in femtoseconds could outperform a human brain by a factor of trillions), the Terrans will lump the Cyborgists into the same ideological camp as the Cosmists (since a cyborg would be indistinguishable from an artilect in artilectual capacities). Since the Terrans will have a limited time window of opportunity within which to oppose the Cosmists/Cyborgists, before the cyborgs and artilects come into being and are then smarter than the Terrans, the Terrans will not be able to wait for too long.
The Terrans will have to “first strike” the Cosmists/Cyborgists/cyborgs/artilects before it is too late. The Terrans will be using 21st century weapons that will enable the scale of mass killing to rise from the tens of millions of people of the major wars of the 20th century, to the billions of people of a major 21st century war. The Cosmists/Cyborgists will anticipate this first strike by the Terrans and be prepared for it, also using 21st century weapons.
Thus Globa will have to face its greatest challenge: can it cope with the rise of Cosmism and Cyborgism? Will Globa be able to cope with the passions generated by two murderously opposed, very powerful ideologies (Cosmism and Terranism)? Opinion polls already show that the “species dominance issue” (i.e., whether humanity should build godlike artilects this century or not) divides humanity about evenly. Many individuals are ambivalent about the magnificence of building artilect gods, and horrified at the prospect of a “gigadeath” “artilect war.”
It is not at all obvious that a unified global state would be strong enough to withstand the divisive passions of the “species dominance debate” that will heat up in the coming decades and may explode into a “global civil war” killing billions of people, with 21st century weapons, in the greatest war humanity has ever known, because the stakes have never been so high: the survival of the human species. 20th century wars were largely “nationalist wars.” A major 21st century war would be a “species dominance war.”
The above essay is a summary of the ideas in the author’s second book, Multis and Monos : What the Multicultured Can Teach the Monocultured: Towards the Creation of a Global State. The ideas above concerning the rise of the artilect are taken largely from the author’s first book, The Artilect War: Cosmists vs. Terrans: A Bitter Controversy Concerning Whether Humanity Should Build Godlike Massively Intelligent Machines. Both books are available at amazon.com