Society 4.0

Society 4.0

Society 4.0

8 core themes that will influence society in 2030, and which we need to think differently about in the future:

  1. the concept of the nation and state,
  2. the government of society,
  3. the world government,
  4. industrial capitalism,
  5. income distribution,
  6. the labor factor,
  7. human life,
  8. natural life.

It is still natural that we earn our money by working. Robot development means that people like you and me are no longer able to distinguish robot and human. And that means they can also do work that requires more empathy, such as a care for the elderly.

Corporate states

Neither those large companies nor organizations such as the WHO and the WEF have been democratically elected. When they make decisions, there is no feedback mechanism. In normal democracy, that feedback loop is there. The government makes some decisions, people disagree, and next time they vote for someone else.

But if that mechanism is missing, the system becomes irrevocably corrupt. And that is worrying because those corporate states practically have a monopoly position. Only the United States and China are big enough to make decisions, the rest of the countries are offside. And the citizen has no idea who is governing him.

Look at large tech companies, pharmaceutical multinationals, and large financial institutions. They often have more capital than countries; you could refer to them as corporate states. And look at organizations such as WHO and the World Economic Forum (WEF). These are public institutions, and they should control those private companies.

But in reality, those two groups have joined forces, for example to combat the corona crisis. Although that often happens with the best of intentions, it is still a questionable development.

Direct democracy

How to break this trend? By a much more direct form of democracy. The separation between capital and labor will become much less important in the future, simply because the concept of labor will gradually disappear. With that, the difference between left and right is also off the track, and thus our democratic structure.

This leads to a pointless fragmentation of parties, like a party for the animals, a party for the elderly, and even a party against scooters.

Instead, create a system where citizens can contribute their own topic. If there is enough support for this, you can vote on it, with special software on your smartphone. Technically it is possible: it is already happening in cantons in Switzerland and in certain states in the US. And the huge advantage is that you will get rid of the undemocratic lobbying in back rooms.

How about the risk that those citizens will make decisions about things they don't understand? Naturally, we must continue to invest in good training. So you have to give people all the information, and also enable them to form their own opinion, without outside influence.

But I also rely on the wisdom of the crowd. Do you know that experiment with the ox at the annual fair? That ox stood on a platform, and the bystanders had to estimate how much it weighed. Some were close, some were far off. Still others were so far away that you wondered if they had understood the question. But the great thing was that the mean of all estimates was terribly accurate. All people together were only 2% off. You can also see this in birds and ants. Especially those ants are very stupid individually, but the swarm as a whole is extremely smart.

We are in a transition phase to a new era. Such a phase is often restless. The parties with money and power will do anything to maintain the status quo, as they have always done. But history also shows what happens when the value distribution in the economy grows too skewed. Then there is unrest, revolution.

That could happen now, for example if it is the elite who are benefiting from Elon Musk's human upgrade idea. On the other hand, if that elite immediately has an IQ of 300, that revolution may have little chance of success. So it is high time to think about this carefully, to discuss these things. And I hope that my book provides the impetus for this:


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