Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pol(IT)ical Science

I have a crazy idea. Well, I usually have those about two or three an hour, but this one is special. It came when I was studying my Political Science text (which is going average so far)
The definition for a Nation is a group of people who share a sense of common identity and who typically believe they should be self-governing within their homeland.

I got to thinking and it occured to me, this sounds familiar. Where could we use this principle to simplify struggles and difficulties? To define boundaries and ensure everyone is on the same page to maximize a resource potential?
Answer? On the internet!


Think about it! If we identified the internet as a seperate sovereign nation-state, we could have a defined set of laws, regardless of the origninating country, a police force operating across the world, in union with domestic police forces, a set of buisness policies, regulations and systems which would be universal across the data-space. It could work in concert with the U.N on global issues, spreading awareness, invited into foreign countries on informative missions, work in union with the Red Cross, even streamline all forms of media and information to get around problems of censureship. To say nothing of the research and development potential! Using the internet as a seperate state to tabulate and collaborate multiple countries' worth of individual's research is staggering, to say the least.

But why bother? Interjects my faithful Dear Reader.
The reason is perfectly logical. As the internet's power and noteriety grows, it is going to be harder and more complicated for countries to police and investigate each individual person and entity on the 'net, not to mention the political scandals and international struggles that will invariably arise from extradition orders, and each countries' beliefs about right and wrong. If there was a government head directing traffic on the internet, it could free up many resources for the individual countries dealing with things.

Serious Michelle?
Okay DR, but the problem that I feel most executive branches of government have always struggled with is the tendancy to REACT to things, as opposed to plan for things, to set up systems to deal with things that have the potential for world-changing issues. Especially when it comes to issues of a legal nature; we wait until someone does something that does not seem to fit into our current legal boxes, then we sit around and debate about it, until we decide something, which then becomes a precident for future issues. Now, that's not a real safe system. (Har har, we don't even have a system for our systems). We need to focus more on problems that may arise; there's a whole career path occupied with studying trends and predicting the future actions, consequences, problems, and solutions. The people are called futurists (and this post is getting more and more hebephrenic as I go). As an amateur futurist, I believe one of the most pro-active steps we as a global community could take to prepare for the shiny new future is to turn the Internet into a nation-state.

Netopia: Thee Glorious Future

P.s. Holy smokes, we could assume that robots and even A.I are automatically citizens of Netopia! It could eventually become self-sufficient, and would appease them enough that when Skynet rolls around, they'd love their sovereignity too much to kill us all! They could even build a new land mass and claim it in the name of Netopia!

P.p.s. The dominant government could be Communism! It might be one of the few places where it could actually work well! We could see how it works and model ourselves after it!

P.p.p.s.s. No more exclamation marks for me.


thecaffiend said...

It is an interesting idea, but the thing is, that everyone in a nation (Well, "everyone", cough) is identified, a citizen, and pays taxes. From a technological point of view, there isn't a feasible way to implement it: Any bits can be faked, given enough time, and/or possibly quantum computing. There is no way to 100% identify people on the internet... it's just a signal coming from their home (In the simplest possible scenario...), which can be faked upstream (at their telephone box, complicit with the telephone company, etc) or simply that their computer is hijacked and is redirecting traffic from another nefarious source. The redirecting traffic happens right now, thousands (estimates range well into hundreds of thousands) of peoples computers are currently infected, and running as botnets: Sending out spam mail, attacking websites, etc. Some people are clever enough to create ways to hijack peoples computers that makes it look to the user like it is only running a little bit slow.

Now imagine this botnet scenario, where people are responsible, as citizens, to laws, for everything coming out of their computers. The local police would be so busy arresting little old ladies with no idea how their computers work, that they would spend more time and resources on this then on their current problems.

Imagine trying to collect taxes (How else can you pay people to be in this government?) Trying to prove that *I* was on the internet, not my neighbor jacking my wireless? Not someone at a net cafe using my ID because last time I was there, they broke my wireless encryption via a dual card injected frame attack, and now are surfing for whatever? Net cafes, free wireless, etc, all complicate the issue to the point of near impossibility to control it from a central point.

The problem is, that the internet is a new type of medium, but it has become more then a medium, almost a "new world". The technology is not made in any sort of way to include policing, and retrofitting it to include that would just result in a split-off "darknet" for the "less savory" elements to operate in. Also, technology moves too fast for any large organization like a government to follow: Sometimes, it can be argued it is moving too fast for a single individual to follow. Especially since a computer is not perfect: memory corruption, chip creep, etc, all mean that people can try to claim "Well, oops, *I* didn't hit that one key".

Not to be like... A buzzkill... it's just that old ideas slapped onto new things leads to travesties like the near-eternal copyright on music etc, abbusive software patent companies, etc. If we are going to attempt to institute any sort of "rule of law" online, it will have to be a totally new idea... And (Bias statement incoming!) I will be against it, as we should be in theory moving towards more free, not less free.

P.S. The US government would never let almost all of their people have dual citizenship and/or pay multiple taxes :p

Roots said...

My knowledge in political science is fairly minuscule, I don't like getting involved in politics. Not to say I am not diplomatic, I am simply just the sort of person that doesn't mind that other people are making country based decisions that may or may not affect my daily life. I have my own priorities to worry about and monitoring how countries run themselves is not one of them.

That said I think I agree with thecaffiend. The Internet is far to chaotic to allow any kind of proper government to run it or enforce any specific rule set. Even if we were to attempt it it would take decades or possibly even centuries to fully bring it under a semblance of control.

I think we can afford to use our time more effectively on things that of more immediate concern. Like a cure for cancer.