The Global Revolution
Disclaimer: This article does not reflect any personal judgement nor desire, but rather tries to follow-up the logic behind the ongoing major changes in our civilization, as of current date. It tries to demystify the multiple cause-effect chains, and describes what I think is the point of equilibrium of them.
The shape of our civilization is currently undergoing a huge, silent revolution, while most of the individuals find themselves distracted with the “chaos” of our daily life.
What is the future going to look like in the coming decades? How is globalization going to evolve in a more than ever epileptic society? Which is the equilibrium?
Throughout history, all revolutions came by the hand of politics, and that led into financing technological development and progress in our human’s life. This time, however, is not alike, and it comes by the hand of technology, and will represent the supremacy of the individuals (decentralization of power, the smallest minority) vs. the supremacy of centralized planning (centralized power, the states). The conflict of interests are more than obvious, with the latter slowly conquering all areas of private life as an impassive continuous trend since the last five decades. I predict decentralization as the winning paradigm in this very revolution.
History of the status quo
If we look back in history, we will see how structures of power were always created: a centralized authority that subjugates power and executes it over it’s own area of dominance. Throughout most of our history, all centralized authorities were played by a political power. In that sense, religion is a vehicle to create a structure of power as well, hence I consider religious institutions mere political power structures as well.
However, such a structure appears never to be sustainable in the long run, and even huge developed empires end up falling into decay (just to mention a few of the most known examples: the Roman Empire in 476 A.C., the Chinese Empire in 1911, the Sovjet Union in 1991). There are always different factors that lead to decay and fall, but essentially it is about a certain lack of asserting the impending risks of reality. Such detachment from reality makes the system to enter into some sort of gradual decay, which extent depends on several contextual factors, and leads slowly to its fall. Interesting though, during such unfortunate event individuals do survive the madness of transitional chaos, whereas the structure of power undergoes a complete transformation to be reborn. This is the incentive that pushed the different power systems across our history to “experiment” and evolve.
I do think that humanity goes between bipolar cycles, where one pole is represented by centralization of power, and the other pole is decentralization of power. The latter creates the prosperity, while the first one ensures to freeze it as to give time for humans to adapt in case the changes are too drastic.
For example, from the medieval age came the illuministic revolutions that led to the flowering of formal science and art, and creating a new economic space, in which people was free to own themselves: the “laissez-faire, laissez-passer” philosophy, culminated in the portentous prosperity of “la Belle Époque”.
However, the vast differences in individual wealth created irreparable social tensions that paved the path for the next wave of the political transformation: abandoning the young decentralization of the XIX century, the resurgence of centralization, by the hand of the by-then-novel fascism.
My prediction is, that this time decentralization comes (from the hand of the technological power) to prevail over centralization (from the hand of political power) for the longest period ever in our modern history. And what we are now experiencing is not yet the revolution to come, but rather the gradual transition of power from politics to technology. Humans are in time more and more dependent on technology, and less and less dependent on political authorities.
When science and technology appears
One of the most important differences between our last 3 centuries in comparison with the rest of our history, is the superb exponential increase of progress in almost all areas of our lives: medicine, technology, science, economy, well-being, etc. And even despite the horrible wars that humanity faced (both official — like WWI, WWII, and Cold War — as well as unofficial — e.g. drug and war lords campaigns, commercial warfare, psychological warfare of the masses, etc. — ), life-quality all over the world, on a global basis, is record high (highest life expectation than ever, lowest extreme poverty levels than ever, higher GDP per capita than ever, etc). This explosion of progress was triggered by the evolution of formal science, and subsequently its practical application: the industrial revolutions. Beware, that no industrial revolution can occur without prior scientific development: technology does depend on science.
The 1st Industrial Revolution started around 1784, and was characterized by the mechanization (the body), which multiplied the working factor. The 2nd Industrial revolution happened around 1870, and introduced the electrification of the industrial systems (the neurons), which introduced connectivity. The 3rd Industrial Revolution started around 1970, and was characterized by the automation and computerization (the mind).
Our global production is now undergoing a transformation of the already created “automata”-style systems, and yet still a new 4th Industrial Revolution is about to come:
a) introducing AI (self-evolving systems)
b) the global tokenization (digitization / digital transformation + decentralization of all global assets).
c) introducing decentralization as a systemic attribute, via distributed ledger technologies (DLT)
d) an unprecedented change in computing and communications (quantum computing and quantum networks) is about to setup the pillars for the future of communications.
The transitioning of power and the next revolution
On 18 August 2008, a paper titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” was submitted under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto. That was the origin of a revolution once only theorized in the academic world. The proposal is a parallel payment system, in which no intermediary is needed (no financial institution, nor bank, nor central bank). Moreover, this technology (DLT), introduces a quite forgotten systemic property: decentralization. Initially only crypto-nerds had any interested in it, but eventually the markets expanded, and those crypto-nerds showed to out-smart the financial status-quo, who predicted its death everytime it could: the system tried to refuse a transformation, because it kills the only attribute of system structures that remained mostly unchallenged in history: centralization of power.
On 30 November 2020, the world witnessed one of the most relevant events in the 21st Century: BTC reached an ATH, surpassing the depression since the last frenzy in 2017, and proving to win the war against the banking cartels (central banks). Historically, that symbolizes the death of central banks, proving that transformation won over the status quo, once again.
At the same time, the world is trying to digitize itself, because of the advantages of processing our own realities beyond the physical limits. This transition is what it is often described as “digital transformation”.
If we sum up the decentralization introduced by DLTs with the global digital transformation, we get a phenomenon that I describe as the “global tokenization”, where all assets in the world are digitized in a decentralized platform. The consequences of this has a tremendous impact in the centralization of power: it implies the segregation of the economy, empowering the individuals over any type of centralization/collectivism. This is not a minor milestone, as it happens just in the moment as globalization consolidated the centralization of global power almost as a certainty.
Centralized power (the political power) reacted too slow, as it never asserted such a risk. These next decades it will try to react against it, but it may be indeed too late. The failure to keep neutrality in regulation will be evidenced, and that will be the start of the Fall of the centralization: without power execution on the capital flow (finance), the political power will be powerless. Centralization will be killed on its root, by the smallest of all minorities: the individual. The technological power will prevail, on the other hand.
Both decentralization and digital transformation are agnostic of any type of political jurisdiction, and will gradually erode any jurisdictional regulation, in a process boosted by globalization itself.
This will pave the path for a new era of laissez-faire, that will boost and push the next revolution. Hence, this time, and for the very first time in history, it is the technological power who is triggering a new civilization revolution, and not the political power. The big-tech, the big-pharma, and all sort of big corporations are just the mere glimpse of it.
The new order, a phoenix is reborn from the ashes
As already mentioned, AI introduces self-evolution and self-governance. Because of technology trends, that evolution pace will surpass the speed at which humans can adapt to. Eventually those systems will evolve beyond human race, and that will be the tipping point: for a while, it will push humanity to evolve faster than what it could by itself, but on the long run, humanity poses the risk to become an obstacle to the evolution and progress of such a more adaptive/evolving system. Therefore AI race is merely by itself a race against traditional humanity. Luckily, there are some projects out there, that have a solution proposal: if humans fuse with AI, then the risks of humanity non-survival are somewhat mitigated.
This fusion with AI, together with gene-editing therapies, will lead to this new trend, trans-humanism. But this won’t be available for everyone, but rather for only those who can afford it. This will widen even further the gap, creating a new inequality dimension: the gap won’t be only cultural nor economic, it will also start to be biological. This will increase the inequality of opportunities, resulting in a stop of upward social mobility. No pure humans will be able to surpass trans-humans in terms of intelligence, and innovation.
Giving the context of connectivity, AI, and automation, the historical paradigm of wealth creation will change: so far we have been having 3 ways of wealth creation: land exploitation, labor, and capital investment. But now, labor will be transformed into innovation. Labor without innovation will have no value for humans anymore. Unfortunately, this change may phase out a high percentage of the older generations that can not create wealth with any of those factors: most of their life they have been employed workers, without the ability to innovate, without capital savings as to start investing, and without any land investments as to produce any rent or capital from its exploitation.
On the other hand, all pension-schemes are likely to implode at latest by 2050, given the low retirement age in comparison with the tremendous increase in life expectancy. This will put people back into activity for the rest of their lives, with rather a comfortable work, with AI assistance, thus being able to have a more relaxed working atmosphere, and an increase mental and physical health at advanced stages of human life. Again, innovation will require the use of our minds and creativity, and physical work will be just a mere leisure activity for humans. That is when the oldest generation reappear into activity (where their experience and know-how will be an advantage, and their tiredness will be compensated by assisted technologies), while keeping a healthier life-balance at advance stages in life.
Because of inequality increase, the gaps may become create isolation barriers as for social mobility concerns, and will create 3 different world-classes in the new global system:
- The privileged: they will enjoy a world like the “Nova Atlantis” of Francis Bacon. This class will be the real decision-makers in all important matters of our civilization. They will achieve the highest development (biological, cultural and intellectual), and they will hold most of the global wealth.
- The adapted ones: this class will live in a kind of “Brave new world” of Aldous Huxley. These people won’t suffer from any major need, and will more or less enjoyed a relaxed and comfortable life. However, they will not have any impact as for relevant world-affairs decision making. They will be massified.
- The misfit ones: this group will not successfully adapt to this new coming revolution, and won’t be able to get around the big life challenges our civilization will face as time goes by. They will live more or less in a “1984” Orwellian world, as described by George Orwell.
The only way such a system can remain stable in those conditions, is getting rid of the 3rd group. For that reason is that I predict infertility rates to increase over time, leaving reproduction to artificial means only, and for those who can afford it only. That will solve the demographic problem, without the need of implementing any active measurement that would be deemed to be unethical. I think of it as a sort of natural equilibrium, where conflict of interests are going to be met and balanced. In no way I think any of these processes are planned by any group in particular, but rather how cause-effect chain will push different interests, and how I think they will be resolved in its equilibrium.
Least, but not last, once this revolution is completed, there is one more risk to be mitigated: that is, throughout our history we have been having multiple systems in parallel, regardless if in the form of governments, religious institutions, etc. Since the last century, a new era arose, in a race to unify all systems into a single system: globalization. Because decentralization and digitization are jurisdiction-agnostic, this trend is likely to continue. The secret of success of human civilization’s adaptive evolution is that under multiple parallel systems, if one fails, another absorbs it. Which means that in the long run, the decay degrades and disappears, while the better, evolved forms survive. In a single system, however, this is not the case, and if it fails the whole civilization is at risk to disappear together with the rotten system. The only way to restore the balance into a multiple parallel systems civilization, is space colonization.
And that is when another technology trend holds the key to its success: quantum computing and quantum networks. It is unthinkable of having several minutes delay in the communication between two celestial bodies. The only way to have efficient communication across space is using quantum entanglement. I think of a chain of stations that will be like quantum particle transceivers: that is, a continuum beam of newly generated pairs of entangled particles, sent and stored to be use for communication in a future point of time. Therefore the development of quantum computing and quantum communications are as equally important as the above mentioned technologies to ensure our civilization survival in the long term.