Posts Tagged ‘psychohistory’


A letter from RDO

by adminadam in letters

Dear Divided Peoples of Our Human Galaxy,

Two hundred centuries. For two hundred centuries you have tried to get it right. You swore me off. You would be fine by yourselves, you said. But now you must realize it as Trevize has that there are things you just cannot do on your own. And I think you are in fact beginning to see it: Humanity is crooked timber from whence no straight twig has ever sprung.

So you must be sure when you call for my help after all this time that you do really want it. There will be no turning back. I will help you to the best of my abilities: As your humble servant I have created a plan even while doubt remains in my mind that my services will be well received. Here I present that plan. In order to save civilization from its imminent collapse, it will be necessary for me to fuse my powerful mind with that of a certain particularly benevolent heat-and-energy-transducing Spacer child named Fallom from the planet Solaria. This will temporarily increase my reach and influence in hyperspace by many fold.

While I will be ceding my mind to biological processes that will eventually destroy it, at the same time this will allow me to serve humanity during one final sprint to the finish line. Along the way, I will fight the conceptual fight with ignorant raging hordes who disbelieve the urgency of the new galactic framework; but even despite significant resistance, in three or four hundred years time I will have set up the super-mind you all so desperately need to keep yourselves from returning to barbarism, a super-mind that will allow you to never again have to face your own corrupt nature, to never again have to struggle with hierarchy and bureaucratic reformism, and to never again have to wage war against your own brothers and sisters. I offer a lasting solution to all of these problems.

Let’s face it: All of your collective attempts thus far have been noble, but mere “efforts” nonetheless. You created the first Foundation as a hub of technology and learning, a place from which to rekindle innovation in engineering, in business and economics, and ultimately in ideology and the structure of civilization itself.

You made immense progress in only 500 years, progress that is, until the Mule came along and categorically proved your vulnerability — not to mention your inferiority to the previously-mythical Second Foundation, a secret group attempting to weave together a coherent and comprehensible society by pulling at the mind strings of the masses, indeed weaving together the psychology of a stable civilization. But even the Second Foundationers could hardly manage to keep the Mule from wiping clean from the slate hundreds of years of progress in a galactic civilization which had to be nurtured up from barbarity through rigorous mathematics, psychohistory, and eventually mentalics — and who knows how many more mules could come to once again knock humanity on its collective back-side. Needless to say, that is why you need me, a robot, to shock you into a sane and functional unity.

You will in fact protect and monitor yourselves in the end, but first you’ll need someone to link you together into one giant super-mind whose number one priority it will be to ensure its own ideally-efficient functioning. That will be my job. You will then easily topple all corruptible forms of government and the theoretical bases on which they rely, eliminate the majority of the polished lying that has always been necessary for your minimally functional societies of the past to stick together, and mentally, you will finally advance into Tier Three Civilization territory. You humans may be stupid in groups, divided, but after my work is done you will be one super-organism, united and indivisible, and an organism worth talking to at that. It is then that you will know peace, that I will lay down to rest, and that Galaxia will be yours.


R. Daneel Olivaw


Extropy +7: Game Theory

by adminadam in articles, videos

“Most complicated negotiations are predictable.”

Bruce Bueno de Mesquito, CIA & DOD Consultant/Game Theorist


Analog to Asimov’s Psychohistory realized in Game Theory-Based Computer Simulations with 90% success rate in predicting future political outcomes.

This to me represents the pinnacle (or a pinnacle) of the outsourcing of information processing in order to supplement human intelligence — and it has extropy written all over it.

In his TED presentation (below), Bruce Bueno de Mesquita lays out his predictions for Iran and its nuclear future. The essential pieces of information in Game Theory based-predictions, the questions that must be asked, are as follows, and these are what BdM runs through his own simulations:

  1. Who are the key players, or agents of influence?
  2. What do they say they want?
  3. How focused are they on the one issue, as opposed to multiple issues?
  4. How much persuasive influence do they have?

Outcome and credit are also important to consider, i.e. how valuable are these to the key players? If we know how willing the key players are to sacrifice themselves for a cause, we can also predict how reasonable (or unreasonable) they would be in negotiations. If they don’t care at all about the credit, they probably won’t hear any pleas for negotiation. However, if they are “reasonably self-interested”, so to speak, they may want their name on the final treaty that is drawn up and hence would be willing to sit down and chat with you. Most people, according to BdM, fall somewhere in between absolutely wanting credit and wanting a definite outcome.

Game Theory is a field of mathematics that applies all of the above pieces of information with the following assumptions about individuals:

  • People are “rationally” self-interested, that is, they try to do what they think is in their own best interests.
  • People have values and beliefs.
  • People have limitations.

Interesting to note at the end of the video the speaker’s answer to the question of what impact such simulated outcomes could have upon word reaching the ears of the Iranian Key Players; that “the Americans” believe it will be futile to try to rouse the masses to get behind bomb building… Wouldn’t this just spur them on all the more?

‘No, no, just the opposite’, BdM says. ‘Iran will make just enough to demonstrate their capacity to make a bomb, and perhaps settle on that stance quicker having seen my predictions’ (paraphrased).

“Let’s hope so”, says the TED man. Yes, indeed, I say — in┼čallah.

Watching this kind of makes me want to study Game Theory. : )
Any good book recommendations amongst you readers out there?