Worldbuilding an ideal and functional post-Singularity system of governance for an interplanetary species, bound for the stars

bretbernhoft

Bret Bernhoft
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In too many of the science fiction stories that I've read over the past decade, much of the human turmoil found therein is attributed to a breakdown in post-Singularity governance. For example:
  • Colonies (such as on the Moon and/or Mars) rebel against a home world (like Earth)
  • A secret discovery gives one particularly mischievous faction (or agenda) the upper-hand
  • Sabotage, provocation and bad deals
You know the kind of stories I'm referring to. Each portraying a fractured human landscape.

I'm interested in writing a story that describes a post-Singularity governance system that is both ideal and functional. More specifically, I would like to tell a story of how a species transforms itself, from solar to interstellar. But I am not an expert on how to worldbuild at this "narrative scale". My mind is still untrained.

To help me understand what this kind of interplanetary/galactic model of government could look like (either from the inside or the out), are there any science fiction stories that you think I should read?
 
Most things Star Trek spring to mind.
 
Surprisingly, for me, Greg Egan comes to mind. Let me try to justify that, or atleast outline my own stupidity.

Sadly I can't seem to attribute Greg's stories to their correct book titles and I'm convinced that, in my mind, I amalgamate much of his (very disperate) stories into one, but anyway...

Most of the books of Greg's that I have read tend to take place at point of technologically fuelled ascendency of some kind but often in these worlds the status quo is of utter peace and co-operation amongst the soceities. What I find intriguing though is that he never seems to explain the fact and it's more just a matter-of-fact that this is the way it is and the reader is left to gleam these aspects of these soceities through suttle things such as an absence of fear or wariness about others or of new phenomenon. For a lot of his worlds it's just the norm to be apathetic about being immortal.

Obviously this would likely not fit your pre-FTL style civilisation (although Egan never betrays the laws of physics in this particular way that I'm aware of (or in any other way that I can think of)) but if it was me thinking about world building for your story (quick disclaimer: remember I'm stupid) I would try and roll some of the behaviours and featurs of these worlds backwards and perhaps imply more than tell, it just always makes these world-defining notions seem more vast to the reader in my opinion, sort of highlighting by understating.

OK - yep, definitely stupid.
 
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Those stories don't sound post singularity to me. Governance itself doesn't sound post singularity. What do you think that term connotes?
 
Yes, I think we would need to know what this 'Singularity' that humans have gone beyond actually is.
 
Are you talking about the "Singularity" when the AIs become superintelligent and self aware, as in Skynet?
 
I think the singular governance means in this case a singular state of governance encompassing all of mankind, so no separate states/countries etc.

And that in the fiction he's come across in the past this has always been followed by periods of high turmoil between new factions/colonies etc.
 
The premise of „interstellar“ technology begs the question: Is governance still necessary?

For one, it would mean that humanity has made it past the great filter. So humanity must have improved on the level of the individual, as well. More cooperation - less conflict.

Wouldn‘t it be a cool premise that humanity does not need a formal agency to make them cooperate, anymore? That they have evolved intellectually and emotionally, along with technology?
 
The premise of „interstellar“ technology begs the question: Is governance still necessary?

For one, it would mean that humanity has made it past the great filter. So humanity must have improved on the level of the individual, as well. More cooperation - less conflict.

Wouldn‘t it be a cool premise that humanity does not need a formal agency to make them cooperate, anymore? That they have evolved intellectually and emotionally, along with technology?

I'm not sure that we ever will. If you remove anger, hate, greed, sorrow, and all of the negative emotions from the human pysche, can you still appreciate the positive ones? Would we still be human if we no longer have these personal goals to strive for? To rise above anger and make peace; to suppress greed and show generosity, and to grieve for what we have lost.

" I need my pain," said Kirk, in one of the most evocative scenes in all of Trek. It made him who he was.
 
The premise of „interstellar“ technology begs the question: Is governance still necessary?
I would assume it would create the need for some sort of governance. Any ship of realistic size is going to be very resource constrained. Allocation of resources in a fair and maintainable manner would seem to necessitate a government.
 
The premise of „interstellar“ technology begs the question: Is governance still necessary?

For one, it would mean that humanity has made it past the great filter. So humanity must have improved on the level of the individual, as well. More cooperation - less conflict.

Wouldn‘t it be a cool premise that humanity does not need a formal agency to make them cooperate, anymore? That they have evolved intellectually and emotionally, along with technology?
It would be the same as for any ocean-going navel war ship here on Earth, just more so due to no port or re-supply ships to help out with. So just like others have said, total self-reliance. Therefore, total self-governance is needed and probably severe and blunt at that to any who fail or go against the governance. Human nature prevails.
 
My point is that to become an interstellar species, our level of technology would have reached a point where raw materials are abundant and humans no longer need to do any work because machines would do all the labour.

In other words: human individuals would be self reliant - at least as far as the purely materialistic is concerned. Humans will probably still be social animals and need interaction with other humans at least for their psychological needs. But there would probably be a level of individual independence that I find intriguing.
 
I'm interested in writing a story that describes a post-Singularity governance system that is both ideal and functional.
Technology evolves in fiction and reality, but the fundamentals of the human condition remain the same. It could be a story about humans living in another galaxy or thousands of years in the future. The average sci-fi reader / viewer expects to see the same type of drama and conflicts that occur in the present. It’s one of the reasons why sci-fi writers treat the contemporary human condition like it’s a physical law of the universe. The prevailing narratives are, anthropomorphize everything everywhere, and love or accept the hell that you know because radical social or biological change is bad.

I have a preference for hard sci-fi or somewhat believable escapes from the contemporary human condition. Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult to find the type of stories that I enjoy. Usually the best that I can hope for are brief glimpses of believable “otherness” (AI takeover, hive minds, trans / post-humanism, non-humanoid aliens). Sometimes it’s 2 or 3 chapters of a novel that I didn’t enjoy, or the first 30 minutes of a movie. I usually get more enjoyment from speculative nonfiction (Kurzweil, Kaku, Tegmark) when I want to read about the future of our species.

My ideal fictional post-singularity society would be in universe where the great filter makes it impossible for contemporary humans or warlike humanoids to spread their filth throughout the galaxy. Dyson spheres and stellar engines would be a job for ASIs, not Starfleet. There would be some amount of turmoil or suffering in any story that I enjoyed, but a character’s perception of pain could be different. Our general perceptions are based on biological norms. What could the world be like if humans had more control of their biology? And what would it be like if most of the biological life in our solar system was manipulated, controlled, and governed by a post-humanist super intelligence. (Perhaps a network of ASIs, robots, and cybernetically linked biological life that can all function individually or as one organism) In this context, violence or conflicts could be analogous to an organism’s immune response, or a battle between microbes that are pathogenic or beneficial.

The concept of idealism is good, but it’s subjective. One person’s fictional utopia could be another person’s dystopia. But the fact that you’re thinking about an ideal post-singularity society, could mean that you’re open to the idea of narratives where technology is used to fundamentally change what it currently means to be human. Are you a writer that dares to imagine a world where technology has given humans the ability to see the world and the universe beyond the myopic view of our genetics and social constructs?
 

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