Philosophically speaking, we do not need Governments. This is a topic I discussed with my wife the other day when debating the essence of traditions like dowry and bride price (those are two different things), identification documents and a number of other non-essential things Governments and cultures have forced us to abide by. But Governments must exist because mankind requires leadership, control, and order. Mankind requires some power to deter him from harming himself and others, ensure he lives cordially with his neighbor, and refrain from taking advantage of the downtrodden.
Although mankind require leadership hence governance, over the years Governments have existed not to help mankind live a better social life, but to take advantage of the governed. Governments have become more oppressive, causing the governed not to be uplifted or treated better but to end up being the downtrodden. Think of street families and the million others who cannot afford anything other than to live hand to mouth.
Faced with the ills orchestrated by Governments, there have been uprisings, civil rights movements, signing of agreements, enactment of laws, and different forms of Government changeovers including but not limited to democratic elections with the aim of promoting liberty and prosperity. Although these changes have by and large helped lessen the ills orchestrated by Governments, Governments world over have continued to grow in size forcing the governed to dig deep into their pockets in order to fund the operations of their respective Governments – and this again has led to a new form of oppression – some call it tax burden. There is one thing we need to be grateful for – technology.
Over the past 200 years, technology has proved itself to be the solution to numerous problems humanity has faced for thousands of years. Problems ranging from diseases, use of slow transportation methods, lack of proper shelter, eating of unhealthy foods, inability to communicate with anyone at will, and inability to fulfil one’s potential have been dramatically disrupted by technology through industrialization and information ages. As technology continue to solve natural and manmade problems, the next problem that technology is going to solve unknowingly or unintentionally is the problem of governance and Governments. Indeed, as Zoltan Istvan wrote in motherboard, Technology will replace Governments as we currently know them with something better, something incorruptible, and something that works all the time for everyone. In the near future, Politicians, Presidents, Parliamentarians, Judges, Police officers, The Army, all those people who make lives difficult will be replaced with robots.
This part of the article first appeared on Motherboard under the authorship of Zoltan Istvan. The article has been reproduced with permission.
The US Government has been expanding in size and reach for decades. The federal budget, deficit, and government employee base is near an all-time high.
It wasn’t always like that. Many of America’s founders were Libertarian-minded and skeptical of the state, wanting only those parts of the government that were absolutely necessary.
However, there’s reason to believe that in the near future, government might dramatically shrink—not because of demands by fiscally astute Americans, but because of radical technology.
Indubitably, millions of government jobs will soon be replaced by robots. Even the US President could one day be replaced, which—strangely enough—might bring sanity to our election process.
But it’s not just robots, it’s software programs and weird new tech that will do thereplacing. Consider the over 1 million firefighters, a staple part of American government that also represents the ideal of service and career to one’s country. Companies around the world are now building fireproof everything, including couches, furniture, and building materials that simply don’t burn well. And intelligent robots—which I think will be in 50 percent of American households within five years time—will all have fire and carbon monoxide detectors.
In fact, I’m certain many in-home robots will not only be loaded with numerous security alert systems (like intruder alarms, flood warnings, and the ability to detect snakes, scorpions, and spiders) but will also be able to fix problems that occur. It’s likely in just a few years time, in-home robots costing less than a $1,000 dollars will know how to put out a fire with an extinguisher, turn off a flooding bathtub, or squish a black widow.
Each time a robot or software can save an emergency call to a firefighter or police officer, money, time, and resources are saved. Twenty-five years into the future, we may have little reason to call any government service employee whatsoever—and institutions like the fire department may be significantly smaller.
The same idea goes for employees of the Internal Revenue Service, whose jobs crunching numbers can be done by even basic AI. Meanwhile, drones will replace building inspectors by flying around construction projects to determine safety and building requirements are being met. Even the tens of thousands of govermenthighway workers will be replaced by driverless vehicles that automatically lay new roads down. Driverless construction equipment—just like a fully automated trucking industry—is the future. For that matter, even the White House may eventually turn to automated equipment such as driverless lawn mowers to cut its massive property lawns.
It’s the military, though, where some of the robot revolution has already been witnessed on TV by many Americans. Instead of a company of troops on the ground, a single US soldier now sits in a military base on native soil controlling an armed drone thousands of miles away. America has approximately 2 million soldiers who can be quickly called up to service, but I think that number will quickly fall over the next decade as the US streamlines its military in the age of transhumanism—the age where machines do most of the work. Because national defense is such a large part of the Federal budget, this could save many billions of dollars for Americans.
Another area where technology can significantly help reduce government is the absurdly huge US prison system. Right now it costs almost four times the amount of money to run America’s nearly 5,000 prisons and jails than it does to run the US education system. But in the near future, we might use drones and robots to monitor criminals, both in and out of jail.
Many of our prisons are filled with nonviolent drug offenders, anyway, and I think we should let them all go free. If people and politicians are too afraid of that, we could just have drones or tracking devices monitor them. This way many nonviolent criminals could find jobs and start paying taxes—instead of being a drain on government resources. Another benefit would be that many prison guards wouldn’t need to be employed either, as there would be less criminals to monitor. Perhaps best of all, emptied prisons and jails owned by the government could be used for other things, like new colleges or job training centers.
I welcome this future smaller government as a result of evolving technology, and I hope that Americans will pay less in taxes as a result of it. In fact, I think it’s possible to offer more social services—including a Universal Basic Income—from the government to the people as a result of technology shrinking the administrative side. This would be a welcome arrangement, since the American government was founded to maximize the will and benefit of the people.
President John F. Kennedy famously said: “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” But he wasn’t aware of the coming impact of the internet, the microprocessor, CRISPR gene editing technology, artificial intelligence, the robot revolution, or even people overcoming death with anti-agingscience. He wasn’t aware of how much this innovation would change the human race and the nature of government. If he had been, he might’ve said: “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what technology your country should use to serve its citizens better.”
Zoltan Istvan is a futurist, author of The Transhumanist Wager, and a 2016 US Presidential candidate. He writes an occasional column for Motherboard in which he ruminates on the future beyond human ability.