In the world of the “Three-body problem” novel by Liu Cixin, stable eras, when the planet is rotating just around one sun, and everything is quite predictable, are changing to chaotic eras, when all three suns are involved, and nothing is possible to predict. In our history, we have relatively stable periods (when you are quite certain that your job or savings are not going to disappear tomorrow, for example). The levels of stability can be different, of course. The first few months of the pandemic were really less stable than life before the pandemic, but certainly more stable than life during WWII (at least in Europe). The question that I want to discuss here is how likely that we will get into a very chaotic era again, and what should we do with it. Notice, that by chaotic I don’t mean necessary “troublesome”. I mean only “hard to predict”.
Hard to predict for whom? We have many agents with different levels of expertise and different level of responsibility. If experts make a correct prediction, but many non-experts made a crucial mistake that strongly hurt them (loss of income or savings, for example), these non-experts can start acting based on emotions making the situation even less predictable, thus leading to the “domino effect”. Peculiar conspiracy theories spread among them can make the situation even worse. Another option is an irrational decision of a person with a huge level of responsibility, such as a dictator of a country with nuclear weapons, for example.
I can name a few scenarios that may increase the level of chaos in the system – just what came to my mind. Of course, there are more, most likely – those are just illustrations
-Due to AI, a lot of people may lose their jobs, and there may be no other job they have skills to do, so we get a huge amount unemployed and likely angry people, that can unpredictably vote or protest.
-The world financial system may transit to cryptoeconomics, which, in the process of transition, may lead to huge instabilities on the market, inflation, and people losing almost all their savings (again, a lot of angry people)
-Technological progress may lead to asymmetry in the opportunities of countries with nuclear weapons (like the system that would destroy all opponent’s missiles, for example). The threat of such an event may result in the dangerous behavior of the opponent without such a system. For example, if he is a dictator and more concerned about preserving his power than about the lives of his people, he may decide to strike first before the system is working.
-Robots may be used in the army and police. That will make any dictatorship very stable, and alleviate any coup that would lead to dictatorship – what makes the whole situation less stable since it is less controlled by institutions and more by the will of a dictator.
What are other scenarios you can think about? How likely is it to go into a chaotic era in the near future? What can be done to make it less likely? If it is something unavoidable, what can be done to decrease the level of damage?