|Date:||Wednesday, February 05, 2020|
|Posted By:||Plaid Hatter Games|
The world of Iliad-07 is a Post Scarcity society, living in the shadow of the Individual Creativity Extinction (I.C.E.) age. The ICE age was brought on by the Spreadheet Revolution. During this dark era, guided by simplistic models and charismatic confidence men, Politics, the Economy, Education, and the Creative arts were consolidated into mega-industries.
Human interaction was moved out of neighborhoods and into "Social Networks." Sports stopped being something that you played, and turned into high-stakes spectator events in massive overpriced stadiums that normal fans would watch on television in between commercials. Education ceased to be a tool of personal enrichment, and turned into a proxy for status and wealth. Politics ceased to be about solving problems, and became the means to divide public opinion and stymie social progress. People stopped creating, and instead were "Entertained" by increasingly vapid offerings greenlit by increasingly consolidated corporations.
The ultimate blame for the age was placed on, what became later known as the Wendigo. The Wendigo, borrowed from Aboriginal culture in the Federated States, describes a mythical creature who would grow hungrier by consuming. Wendigo dominated societies became known as Consumer cultures. They Consumed, but were never satisfied.
Modern science now understands that Wendigo are to humanity as Locust are to Grasshopper. Wendigo are normal people until conditions set them off into their psychosis. And there is a certain amount of the behavior we attribute to Wendigo in normal human behavior. Wendigo syndrome is also an extreme on an entire spectrum of maladaptations that occur when humans are subjected to starvation, or perceived starvation.
Like a Locust, once someone goes far enough down the developmental path of Wendigo syndrome, there is no coming back. A Wendigo in a position of power can be an absolute disaster to society. Preventing societal breakdown requires installing a set of what social Engineers refer to as "Circuit Breakers".
The first circuit breaker is to minimize human exposure to poverty. Prolonged periods of stress, starvation, and hopelessness are the entry vector of the disease. All space societies possess dedicated facilities where anyone who is hungry may freely eat, obtain medical care, and speak truth to power.
The second circuit breaker is to provide sensory and intellectual stimulation. Space settlements feature free schools, well stocked libraries, public gardens, and theaters.
The third circuit breaker is to dilute power in such a way that no one individual can be in a position to leverage it. Part of that is to divert social status away from actual power centers in society. This is done through the Civil Service System for critical systems and services, and the Tribal Primacy System for positions of social status.
Auditors need some feeling of advancement, so they are organized into Martial ranks. All Auditors start at the bottom, and those at the top have done so only through a combination of their own competence and their ability to not sully their career with scandal. Ranks are given by merit, regardless of how many other Auditors may have that same rank: Apprentice, Journeyman, Master, Doctor, Elder.
The exact details of how society on ISTO Colony Ships requires a Doctorate in a number of fields to understand completely. And even with the requisite talent and interest, gaining the real-life experience required on board would be impossible.
Recognizing these facts, ISTO colony ships are designed around the principle of: CRAJED (Computers Running Algorithms / Juries Evaluate Decisions). CRAJED is losely based on the Technocratic government that evolved in late 20th Century Poland.
Poland has endured regular changes of management for essentially as long as history records. The country lies along the natural invasion route between Europe and Asia. Over the centuries it has had to develop a system to reconcile a pile of traditions collected over stints at Anarchy, Democracy and Monarchy at the hands of both Domestic and Imperial Governments. They were looking for a system of politics that could endure, while preserving individual rights, while at the same time providing consistent outcomes.
The Government of Poland at the time commissioned the nations brightest minds to devise a system. The system that emerged was part Scientific Method, part Technocracy. Utilizing the emerging technology of System Ekspercki, they produced a system for translating arbitrary human rules into a mathematical, algorithmically parsable, format. As rules regularly collide, they also wrote in a system for human feedback to help the algorithms navigate the conflicts. This Machine Parse/Human Feedback system evolved into what we know today as the Computers Run Algorithms / Juries Evaluate and Decide (CRAJED) system.
Under CRAJED, all new laws or regulations have to be translated into the language of the machines. Machine language requires years of training to interpret and compose. To the casual observer, it resembles a circuit diagram. This "schematic" then undergoes a process of integration with the entirety of all laws and regulations (political and natural). Where conflicts arise, a Jury of randomly selected humans have the problems stated to them, and if they can agree on a unanimous answer, the integration is considered successful. If no agreement can be found, the new regulation is dropped.
CRAJED also contains a continual improvement process. Methodologies are applied which look for inconsistencies in the great schema, and Juries are commissioned to figure out which interpretation (if any) is the "most right." This prevents upheavals where court cases may upend decades (or centuries) of laws in one ruling. At random.
CRAJED can also incorporate mathematical models, and long term planning goals. These projections can be compared to actual behavior. Deviations from expectation can be signs of a flawed model, fraud, corruption, or abuse.
A central computer system on the Arthur C. Clarke contains the complete set of operating laws for how a starship must function to survive for the long term. This includes models for physics, chemistry, population growth, politics, and medicine. These models were developed by experts, and refined decades of experience at other ISTO colonies and missions. The system does not discriminate between Engineering, Politics, Humanity, or Psychology. It has on mandate: understand everything, identify problems, suggest to the humans on board the best way to fix those problems.
This unified approach to problem solving is essential on a ship where every system relies on every other system, and for which there are few externalities.
Software tools exist to allow humans to ask basic questions to the computer, and get back simple output, usually in the form of a short narrative or pictograph. A specialist class know as the ELFs maintain the computer system, update its programming, and troubleshoot bugs. ELFs are also required to translate more complex problems back and forth between the humans and the computers.
The CRAJED process is used in criminal investigations, accident investigations, and civil disputes. The feedback process is also used to validate the computers models running on the computers with actual output in the real world. (Possibly touching off investigations if the figures are wildly off.)
CRAJED on the Iliad Project ships is remarkably resilient because much of the data it works with is passively collected from the ship's own sensors and inventory control systems. The mathematical laws that govern its architecture were developed over decades, and were specially built for long-duration space settlements. The system is not considered infallible or foolproof by any stretch, but it is recognized as impartial, deterministic, and fair.
The forecasting talent of the computer is also considered uncanny. It is alleged that the computer once said "once you recognize that people are random, their behavior is quite predictable." Models work on a population level, as the behavior of individual humans is as inscrutable as the random motion of individual electrons.