The Winners and Losers of 2016 and Our Future

I’m beginning to think We the People are the real losers in the 2016 election cycle – not the candidates. The real winners are those whose causes or fortunes are advanced by division within the American people.

Consider how much we hear that the political system in the USA is completely and utterly broken, how crime and indecency are out of control, how we’re all basically screwed. We hear this over and over from nearly everyone. Once the snowball of these statements gets rolling, nearly everyone gets in the act, repeating, embellishing, adding to the narrative.

Consider the possibility that this is mostly inaccurate. We’re not all raving lunatics of the right or left, nor are we all racists, religious nuts, or genitalia grabbers. The giant majority of people in this country and this world are all basically just trying to live their lives, raise their children, stay alive, and do what is right.

Since nearly all of us are consumers, voters, donors we have a few things in common. First, getting us excited about things makes it easier to get our attention and keep it. Second, having our attention and our biases tuned to whatever direction of excitement got to us, we’re easy to sell to. Third, as biased consumers we’re vulnerable to paranoid, inaccurate, divisive statements just add fuel to the already hot flames of our excited, biased, consumerist passions.

As such, we buy products, we tune into TV shows, we consume various other media, and we vote based on these warped views of the world. The world didn’t suddenly get to be evil in the last 100 years, yet we’re strongly disposed to believe this. In fact, the world of today is much fairer, richer, safer, and more full of human kindness than it has ever been in all of human history. But few people actually realize this is true because we have so many sources of “information” that feed our belief that it is not.

Why? Because candidates, media sources, marketers of products, and even our one or two weirdo neighbors benefit from feeding the belief that we’re all going to hell in a hand basket – and soon.

Gene Roddenberry's Vision of a Positive FutureIt’s time for the consumers, voters, parents, educators, and thought leaders of our world to see this for what it is: A façade that nearly everyone has fallen for, leading to diminishment of our lives for no reason.

Gene Roddenberry, well-known creator of Star Trek and visionary but imperfect human, died 25 years ago on October 24, 1991. I believe he would see our modern world as many steps closer to his vision of the future. Sure, he’d see things that are wrong – we all do. But we’re way, way better off than we were when Gene started all of this in the 1960s.

Gene Roddenberry, visionary. 1921 - 1971.

Gene Roddenberry, visionary. 1921 – 1971.

Gene, we miss your genius.

Interactions between things that don’t interact with each other

This isn’t a science post. I want to use a scientific discovery to show a principle that can be employed in many situations in sociology, government, running companies – and yes in physics as well.

Photons interacting virtually.

This article from PHYS.org is a little technical, but the essential point I want to make here can be summarized simply.

Imagine pairs of things. I could call them “photons” here, but they might be people or companies or countries. These things can’t or won’t interact with each other for fundamental reasons of their nature or because of some choice they make. Now imagine that it would be useful for these things to interact with each other. How can this be done?

The answer is to find some other things with which your things (again, these could be people or countries or whatever) will interact.

The Oslo Accords logo.

This is a lot like the process that led to the Oslo Accords. Countries that wouldn’t interact with each other, but would interact with other countries, under the right circumstances, came together and accomplished something useful.

Schwarzschild black hole

Black Hole Lensing.

Suppose you can’t see some thing because it’s invisible, but it will interact with other things that you can see. Right. You can use the visible things and the way they are visibly affected by the invisible thing to see where the invisible thing is, what it’s doing, or whatever. This is very commonly used in astronomy, for example, to see black holes. You can’t see them, but their interactions with other things you can see are apparent. This technique is applicable to criminal investigations, espionage, remote sensing of weather, and way more uses than I can think of right now.

These ideas are incredibly powerful. Given their broad applicability across many disciplines, I suspect they were discovered and named called many things over the years.

An Eye Toward the Future

I have nearly completed my first book. I hope to have it published this weekend or, at the latest, this coming week. More on this when there is news…

Of course I haven’t been idly sitting around waiting for editing, review feedback, and other processes external to me that have been required to publish the book. I already have two more stories in the pipeline. Both of these are in an arc or series called the ANGEL Stories. I’m expecting these to finish as novella sized – quick and easy to read, and with a fast moving pace for the action, which is one important component of each of them. They’re science fiction, set in our time, filled with action, as I said, along with political intrigue, and many things a computer geek, especially, would find to be entertaining reading.

The first has working title of In the Beginning: ANGEL This is the “genesis” of the series, introducing the three main characters who will be present in the entire arc. In fact, this first book involves the creation of one of the characters — ANGEL, who is an artificial intelligence with a predominantly female persona. ANGEL is, of course, an acronym for “Algorithmic + Natural Genetic Evolution and Learning” that describes the fundamental technology through which ANGEL came to be. The other two main characters are Ross Reynolds, an aging geek who spends his evenings playing with genetic algorithms for fun, and Lenora Crosley, an expert in malware and computer crime who works for the National Security Agency. Together the three of them form the “Triumvirate” — a team devoted to improving the conditions of society through subtle and invisible nudges of politics, technology, and culture in directions that will make everything better for everyone. The first draft of this book is now being edited. I hope to have it published in early 2015.

The second story in the series has the working title ANGEL and Kings. This book reaches deep into the past to the time of the beginning of the Crusades, where a secret society comes together around the power struggles in the Church and in the Islamic world, surviving and flourishing into the present day. ANGEL and the Triumvirate become involved when they work backward from a correlation between various movements in the financial world leading to funding of radical jihadi groups and thence to the people who are providing those funds. The identity of these people is surprising, revealing a secret held close by a select few over nearly a thousand years.

Stay tuned as these stories work through their cycles of creation, refinement, and eventual publishing. I’m very excited to see what people think of these. They have been — are being — great good fun to write.