I know we’re only supposed to start this part of the project next year, but I had a cool idea and I thought it would be a shame if I lost it — and since I typed it all out, I thought I might as well share with you here!
Distrikt proposal: Socialité XIV
Socialité XIV is a distrikt based on the economical and political structures of Socialité d’Engagement (described below). It is named so for being the fourteenth experiment with Socialité, an open-source AI powered government practice, and it’s one of the most successful to date.
Joriam: some of my influences here were social media, meritocracy, that scary sesame credit system in China, positive reinforcement, youtuber culture, Japan’s Gross National Cool, Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness and the recent declaration from Jacinda Andern that New Zealand would change its focus from growth to wellbeing.
“What you’ve done for your people is invaluable, but please accept this token. Our distrikt’s highest honour, the silver lens, which comes with the highest grand increase there is. Thank you. We hope to see you running for staff office one of these days.”
— Principal of Socialité XIV
Socialité d’Engagement, also known as Good Deed Society or simply Socialité is an AI-powered societal organisation system that affects both economical and political aspects directly and many more indirectly. It is open source and free to copy.
In this system, each person is assigned a number called ‘grand’. Your grand is a trade modifier: whenever you make any trade transaction (notably financial, but also others), before the currency is exchanged, it will pass through both parties’ grands and be recalculated based on the grands’ values. In simpler terms: if you have more grand than I do, my one currency mesure is worth less than yours, even though we seem to be holding the same value.
Grand is a fluctuating number that can be boosted by Deeds: verified actions that contribute to overall wellbeing of society. It can also be lowered by Misdeeds, though the scale is not balanced, the Misdeeds are expertly calculated to tank your grand so much that they are not economically worthy.
The list of Deeds and Misdeeds and their altering factors is centrally controlled by the Socialité’s AI and can’t be manually changed. Still, the AI is programmed to accept requests and suggestions from the distrikt’s population, which are generally assimilated with due corrections. The most important part of this system is that both Deeds and Misdeeds need to be proven by irrefutable proof, generally in a form of photos, videos or hologuides and always certified by either present individuals and/or present AIs.
Every citizen has by default their list of Deeds and Misdeeds widely available and public, though citizens that wish for privacy may silence this list and receive a neutral grand, generally considered low.
Some societal actions are limited by your grand, chief among them occupying political positions. Other societal actions are not limited by law, but naturally limiting, for example opening an endeavour: with a low grand, the chances of financial success are minimal, as the transactions are weak against you.
“Of course I don’t have a job! I’m 25! I should be helping grandmas with their groceries and running my local daycare. What’s the point of having a job when I haven’t proven how good I can be?”
— A Socialité XIV citizen talking to a Terminus citizen
Every Socialité distrikt has different dynamics, but some patterns can be observed among all of them.
In this model of society, the younger you are, the more you’re stimulated to boost your grand instead of your direct income. Thus, a large chunk of the population works in a gig economy with the true objective of doing as many Deeds as they can while also sustaining themselves financially. This involves a lot of voluntary work, generally caring for your communities (from the household level to city-wide) and having a diverse pool of skills that are trained by seasonal and temporary work.
Once the population gets closer to middle-age in their seventies, they tend to occupy more permanent and more administrative positions, as they had enough time to build their grand and by doing so established the connections and had enough experimentation and specialization in skill to find a more long-lasting arrangement.
It is notable that Socialité distriks have very little crime and an above average mental-health conditions, though it is also important to note that it tends to have more emigration than the average distrikt.
“Write this down, write this down! After our first youtuber president, we’ve proven once and for all that social media is the most important political tool we have — but what if it was also economical? What if we replaced money?”
— Meeting recording from ‘The Social Planet Corp’
The idea behind Socialités came from an old failed experiment. A long time ago, a capitalist magnate from the old social medias decided to experiment with a society based on the same principles of social media popularity, the motto was “the like is the currency.”
The results were disastrous, as very quickly the society organised itself by mere appearance and not by the production of any value or increase in any level of wellbeing. Thus very quickly it was shut off, but some aspects of it fascinated the people who, almost 100 years later would found Socialité I, the first distrikt of its kind.
Their reasoning was that interaction alone was not enough of a measure, but if a similar process was applied to verified acts that better society (in terms of sustainability, wellbeing etc) and if the verification process was accurate enough and cheap enough, then this society could be based around those acts.
That combined with an expert AI that calculates the values up and down to point society towards what’s lacking formed the basis of the system.
The council of truth
“Trying to lie to an AI is dangerous. For example, did you know that on average, the more rebellious people move their left eyebrow 3% more than the right one? Of course you don’t know that! You’re not a bloody machine. The council is, in fact, a bloody machine.”
— Character from ‘Breaking the System, popular Socialité XI movie
To prevent the repetition of errors of the past, the Socialités have something called the council of truth, which is an automated societal process to identify attempts to alter, misguide or exaggerate events with the intention of altering your grand favourably.
In other words, if you try to cheat the grand system by informing you’ve done a Deed bigger than you did, even if you present credible proof and find a suitable accomplice to vouch for you, you’ll still need to pass through the AI scrutiny of the council.
The system is very effective, especially by the sheer amount of previous data attempts it has. Most discoveries are made by pattern recognition and microactions that are invisible to humans, but easy to identify by expert AI.
Art and Influence
“You know, you had the better life. You chose to build this! Myself, I cleaned water. It was years of extracting salt, of screens and the smell of plastic. Gah it’s so much plastic. I don’t regret it, I think it’s important, but you had the best mojito I’ve ever had every day. For me, it took forty years to get where you started. Listen. Barella just started to sing her second set. This is exactly what I used to listen back at home, the difference is that now I can see it live. I’ll extract your salt until I die if I can come here every evening.”
— Scarla, Socialité XIV immigrant
The Socialité distriks are fabled for its host of artists, generally tending towards videomaking, photography and hologuiding, as those elements are part of day to day life more here than anywhere else. For that reason, people from other, even distant distriks have a good idea about how Socialité life goes, what sort of shows they watch and how they communicate. Socialité distriks are also famous for spreading slang like no others.
Since a successful experiment in Socialité V, the distriks have put significant effort into achieving strata status. The word strata nowadays would be translated as cool or hip. Once a distrikt crosses a certain strata threshold (calculated by the AI via a series of strata indicators), it acquires a lot more tools and exchange possibilities that have been thoroughly documented since Socialité V.
Most notable of those new possibilities is a high influx of expert talent from other distrikts, who come to Socialités knowing they’ll receive a high grand score by their achievements alone and will occupy a comfortable space in the most strata of societies.
Joriam’s final thoughts
My main point was to get the surveillance society aspect of social media and turn it on its head: you are encouraged to act selfishly by doing those selfless acts. What’s the difference between a society of selfless and selfish people (internally) if everybody is helping everybody all the time? What happens if a selfish generation raises a selfless generation? What if positive reinforcement was the basis of a culture?
Those thoughts inspire me!
Anyway, I’m happy to just let this simmer here until next year, just wanted to leave it around!