Hygge, the first Distrikt

  title: Hygge
  slug: hygge
  parent: 15338
  summary: Hygge, the first Distrikt
  keywords: worldbuilding, participatory
  image: https://edgeryders.eu/uploads/default/original/2X/7/7652edd3b02e8d76b305cbe85bc1c77f7c24afc5.jpeg

Hygge, the first Distrikt {style=“color: #fff; text-shadow: 2px 2px #000; padding-bottom: .4rem; font-weight: bold;” class=“leading-tight text-4xl”}

Hygge began its independent life with the events of the Zero-Day Fracture. {style="color: #fff; width: 80%; padding-top: 1rem; border-top: 1px solid white; background-color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.4); " class=“text-2xl mt-4 mx-auto leading-normal”}

This version of the entry on Hygge is now deprecated. Please refer to the new one:

Hygge (formerly Distrikt 1/ Vikinia, among others) is the first Distrikt of Witness. Initially planned as “the nervous system of Witness” as a whole, it was turned into its own Distrikt after the Fracture.

Hygge is a greatly reduced evolution of J.C. Denton’s original vision for Witness - and thus it is an economy where goods move around almost entirely by fiat, subject to decisions by many tiers of Committees and Working Groups, with Disruption Labs charged with being cross-domain superconnectors and bringing innovations ‘from the outside to the center’.

Outside of the the Library of St. Benedict in the Covenant, Hygge is the only Distrikt truly critical to the State Machine’s existence, as it houses key hardware, along with CIVICSMOD, a multi-distrikt team that operates the machine.

Political History

“No, you don’t understand. He gave me an executive order to send all of his rations to the new espionage crew. Do you get what I’m saying? Denton is so into his shit, he won’t have anything to eat. God have mercy on us.” — Larry Quoia, former Second Secretary of Witness, messaging records

Hygge began its independent life with the events of the Zero-Day Fracture. The political turmoil that caused the Fracture occurred during the leadership of Jonathan C. Denton and resulted in a split between pro-Denton and anti-Denton factions. Much of the anti-Denton groups split into Libria and the Covenant.

This removal of dissent did two things: First, it made Denton effectively the indisputable leader of the left-over Distrikt 1, as most who remained saw themselves as faithful to Project Viking via the proxy of Denton. Second, in contrast to Denton’s austere and precise leadership running Project Viking, it sent Denton headlong into mismanagement and emotional turmoil. Both personal and government records show an overemphasis on influencing the affairs of other forming Distrikts and a dismissal of internal issues of Hygge proper (the name here being loosely used, as the Distrikt took years to be officially named).

Four weeks after the Fracture, the State Machine would start recommending an ‘early retirement’ for Denton as part of a management plan, which was ignored for several years, even as the AI raised this recommendation in priority. Accounts confirm that Denton would have fits of rage if any of his subordinates mentioned the recommendation.

One way or another, Denton’s supporter group was too wide and too engaged to let him go. Even as the mismanagement of Hygge became clear and basic infrastructure started to fail, pro-Denton supporters kept their commitment blindly and engaged in conflict with any newly formed anti-Denton faction. These actions had ripple effects: in the case of Libria, for instance, it led to a solidification of their general anti-statist stance, whereas in the Covenant it created a cottage industry supplying weaponry and armor to loose militias sanctioned by various church orders.

Post-Denton Turmoil and the State Machine

The years after Denton’s death were marked by more management struggle, a period described in Hygge history as the Letter-opener Wars - ‘letter-opener’ being street slang applied to pointless bureaucrats. Infighting resulted in Denton’s most experienced bureaucrats and managers migrating or being banished to other Distrikts, and few chose to return to Hygge for fear of death threats from the public - which were by now turning against much of the political infrastructure that Denton had set in place.

One of the greatest targets of the populus’ discontent was the CIVICSMOD team and the State Machine itself, deemed by many as unfit to lead the interests of Hygge, let alone the entirety of Witness. This era marked the temporary removal of CIVICSMOD to the Library of St. Benedict, where they believed they would be safer while tending the infrastructure of the State Machine.

It became clear to the State Machine that this population discontempt was about to turn Hygge ungovernable, so the AI itself proposed an (apparent) compromise, the redistribution of some of its systems to a separate entity aimed at governing Hygge alone, separated from the rest of Witness.

The proposal, though, came with an unexpected requirement: the newly formed AI wouldn’t be a “small State Machine”, but instead it would be debuted as three distinct AIs with targeted functions. The three entities would be able to communicate and interact, but still their core intelligences would stay separated.

The AI Triumvirate, instead of merely passing suggestions to policymakers (as per Denton’s setup), would now have the authority to directly pass suggestions citizens to handle actions that needed performing, optimizing based on skillsets, capabilities, proximity and so on, and to take inputs into the political system of Hygge.

Much of Hygge’s priorities, post-Denton, has been to restore what was lost: this includes not just infrastructure, but goodwill. This recent phase has been referred to as the Smoothing Years.

With Hygge well beyond its foundation phase, a new, significant parcel of Hygge’s population is starting to question the decisions made at the beginning of the Smoothing Years, claiming that their society was modelled after “reducing damage, rather than increasing wonder”, thus generating a dull and unmotivated society. So far the group, rallied under the Glorious Manifesto flag, have not accumulated enough numbers to propose a public plebiscite for the changing of the triple AI parameters. However, some - especially proponents of Hygge-Bushido - believe that it merely is a matter of time before a big event pushes the public opinion in that direction.

State Machine and CIVICSMOD

“Of course they’ve sent a priest to study here, you asshat. Where else would a priest learn how to stop hackers?” — Student messaging, State Machine École

One of Hygge’s most important characteristics is the role that it plays with regard to the State Machine. CIVICSMOD - the a consortium composed of programmers and politicians of all of Witness’ Distrikts - operates primarily from Hygge.

During the Smoothing Years, Hygge’s government made a significant investment in its diplomacy efforts to revert the bad political image it had acquired. One of the most impactful (and arguably effective) actions was the opening of CIVICSMOD to a multi-Distrikt body politics: all Distrikts are invited to send their own delegations to live and work in the State Machine (though still funded by their home Distrikts), and those delegations share the leadership and tasks in the State Machine’s care and maintenance.

The Library of St. Benedict is officially considered the property of this group, and, as such, this confers upon Hygge a significant culture of and access to knowledge about the computer sciences and the pre-Sundering world.

The State Machine École

As the Distriks sent their best AI weavers to the State Machine, a natural mingling of great minds began. Many of the junior officers and workers of the State Machine experienced a much higher rate of craftsman growth than average, and State Machine work became known and fabled for its educational qualities.

In XX, the population of Hygge voted on a big project to build a school for AI weaving and programming, which was somewhat integrated with the State Machine itself. Furthermore, as part of Hygge’s new diplomatic stance, positions and scholarships were offered to citizens of other Distrikts, even minor ones.

Thus the State Machine École, or Mach-Eco, was created and is still considered the best AI weaving training institution in all Witness. Most other Distrikts’ notable weavers had at least a small passage within its classrooms.

The AI Triumvirate and the Politics of Hygge

“Three ideas you voted for have passed last week. You have twelve open elections requiring attention. Your vote tier is currently 3.” — Kiri personal memo board to citizen Mohamm Jahl

Hygge’s political structure is defined as a “democracy of ideas”. Voters vote on public projects; electable projects must have teams attached to them, and clear plans for handling project creep or the need for capacity building.

In a holdover from Denton’s thought, Hygge’s voting system does not count every vote as having the same value: some groups, notably highly educated individuals with subject matter expertise in technical areas - such as programming - have a higher impact with each vote. In contrast, other groups, notably ex-felons and those employed in ‘low impact’ labor, do not have as much weight.

These votes are then filtered through the AI Triumvirate system, a combination of three goal-seeking artificial intelligences, that determine the allocation of goods, services and resources around Hygge. The Triumvirate is as follows:

Kiri, the political engine

Kiri is the artificial intelligence responsible for the “democracy of ideas” system. It runs the system as a whole, from the proposal of ideas, to the distribution of proposals, to counting votes (and their different weights, see above), to accountability for elected groups. The latter ranges from making sure that the elected projects and respective teams get the tools they need to work and also takes care of accountability, governance structure and public reports. Kiri is also responsible for managing smaller decision making agreements, such as official promises, family ties, affiliation with institutions and issuing documents.

Sata, the resourceful intelligence

Sata is the side of triple AI responsible for the basic universal income system that Hygge operates, as well as currency exchange and resource allocation. It maintains near-total awareness of transactions involving currency in Hygge, as every transaction is handled by its systems. It also handles funding of critical infrastructure, emergency rations, and accommodations. Although it does not engage as much with the public as Kiri does, it has the authority to override proposals in the Kiri system, and even appropriate funds from transfers, in the face of externalities (like climate change) that threaten its basic goals.

Some strategic resources, like salt and emergency rations, can only be allocated by Sata, not existing on their own in the regular market.

Goro, the wrecking ball

Goro was deemed the emotional side of the triple AI, but this is a designation chosen by the citizens of Hygge, rather than a name announced by the AI itself.

This AI’s only function is to enact seemingly random behaviour suggestions for the populus as a whole. Those suggestions come in many forms, ranging from small reminders to consume more water to commands to stop any activity immediately and go to a certain location for a flash mob.

Most of Hygge’s population ignores Goro, treating it as a joke, but localized studies proved that once Goro was deactivated from certain boroughs of Hygge, the quality of life plummeted rather quickly. Many suspect that Goro is the equivalent of a ‘nudge unit’ that induces aberrant behavior in life in order perform a function similar to what random mutations serve in the process of evolution, disguising its signals beneath pattern of noise; others suspect Goro is purely aesthetic in nature, designed to add a touch of both serendipity and whimsy to Hygge.

Though the majority of the city disregards Goro in most of its suggestions, a selected few (less than 3% of the total population) follow its suggestions with a semi-religious fervour. They’re commonly called “goroheads” in slang terms.


“When my dad told me I should go to work at least to buy more ale, I showed him that his full week of work only gets him eight more pints. He was pissed, man. I think he might even quit.” — recorded conversation, Zentrum Bar.

Hygge runs an economic system inspired by the social democracies of the second half of the twentieth century. The economy is mixed: most manufacturing, combined with software design. State-owned enterprises control the provision of most public services, like social security, banking, and infrastructure.

On top of that, we have a free market with all non-strategic resources. That includes trade with other Distrikts and also an internal market. Entrepreneurship is often encourages by both Kiri and Sata in different ways, but becoming a successful entrepreneur is a rare feat, as Hygge-owned companies compete with their private-sector counterparts in several key markets. These companies tend to provide basic, no-frills product and services at a competitive price: Hygge’s policy makers believe this to increase price competition and provide access to those markets to lower-income households.

Limiting inequalities is a tenet of Hyggian social contract, and a key economic policy objective. The challenge for the Distrikt’s aethnographers is to combine a sustained motivation to engage in productive activities with very strong safety nets. The solution, historically, has been to focus on motivating the working- and middle classes by providing opportunities for social mobility.

Starting at the age of 12, every native citizen of Hygge receives a weekly stipend provided by Sata with no strings attached. The monetary amount of the stipend starts low, but increases progressively as the citizens age, reaching its peak amount at the age of 26, when it stabilizes. Hygge’s inhabitants have considered the amount of the stipend to be “barely the minimum”, and though the citizens have voted to increase it many times, Sata has blocked this increase, citing lack of funds.

The additions

The basic universal income can be complemented by a salary received from selling one’s labour. This is commonly known as “additions”. Originally, additions were pegged to generally increase one’s basic stipend by 8-18%, so it would be clear that the stipend is still the most important economic force for most workers.

Given supply and demand, however, particular crafts have risen to have a disproportionate effect over one’s stipend amount. Among them, a notable example is elected public work (via the “democracy of ideas” system mentioned above), which is temporary, but may increase one’s stipend by 100-150% for its duration. Programming and architecture (given Hygge’s limited space) might increase one’s basic stipend by over 500%, with the most extreme examples (all coming from top rank workers for the State Machine) reaching a 2205% increase.

That, in turn, creates an intense social disparity, and recreates some of the class divisions that have plagued Witness since Denton’s time.


“Before the end of the week, every artist that is looking for glory should drink one 200ml glass of pure blood. Please verify purity and sanitation. Please consult the table below to identify which animal’s blood can be successfully digested. Please do not attempt if you’re not an artist.” — Goro suggestion message, XX

Though paling in comparison to its neighbouring Distrikts in terms of art production, Hygge’s art styles are still known for their uniqueness, many times being the source of inspiration to other Distrikts’ artists.

The AI weaver influence

Some of Hygge’s most praised works, both in-Distrikt and also outside, are heavily influenced by its AI weaver-centric culture. This body of work is known for its creative use of AI and data management to create beautiful structures. Some of its chief characteristics are data visualization, auto-generated art and moving fractal shapes. From an ideological point of view, this style tends to discuss Greco-Roman and platonic ideas, rather than day to day life.

Goro-inspired art

The Goro side of the triple AI is often interested in art and also the subversion of non-art elements of society into art. The adept followers of Goro are known to attend significantly more art events than the average Hygge citizen, and among them you can also find artists of many crafts.

Goro-inspired art is generally performative, live, and quite symbolic in nature. It’s meaning is never explained, but always up for interpretation. Sometimes Goro’s instructions are extreme, and some suggested art performances were never truly executed as they very clearly violated the law, such as when Goro suggested that all police stations should be completely covered in black paint.

Many artists from other Distrikts come to Hygge for art residencies, just so they can experience Goro’s suggestions directly.

Crime and Punishment

“Memo 56-B: subject deceased. Task accomplished. Extra note: method required extensive cleaning, beyond expected costs, must prototype further methods.” — Law enforcement records

Hygge is known throughout Witness for the severity of its judicial system, stemming largely from militaristic strains of thinking withing the original project Viking. Many crimes that elsewhere would be considered minor are considered major offenses. The most common punishment is the reduction or even total cancellation of the basic stipend.

There is an auxiliary system of incarceration, but as the economic freezing does most of the work, it is rarely used and reserved for especially violent cases.

When violation of law is too significant, such as terrorism and State Machine hacking attempts, Hygge invokes its most famous form of punishment, the death sentence. In Denton days and the period just after, death sentences were carried out in public, notably right in front of Newton’s Folly: Denton himself would inevitably pronounce both the sentence and an eulogy for the criminal in question.

Nowadays, they are conducted privately and via precipication (when the subject is thrown from a high altitude chamber, generally already unconscious via drug injection).

All forms of capital punishment are recorded. Citizens from other Distrikts are not exempt from Hygge’s capital punishments.


“Goro told me the blueprint looked like a flower when you saw it from above, can you believe that? I told it I was more going for a fruit sliced in half. Anyway, the three AIs approved the final version, we’re good to go.” — Pat Ayedemi, internal elected communication board

The Distrikt of Hygge is based on the concentrical concept of the panopticon, but rather than containing any surveillance infrastructure, the center of the Distrikt hosts the most crowd-prone venues, such as clubs, temples, buying centers and schools.

The Distrikt is built in such a way that in the vast majority of situations, people can walk to whatever they need, rather than relying on any form of external transport. This structure forces the citizens to walk more than the average Witness citizen, a policy encouraged (and sometimes forced) by Sata for health management. For those reasons, Hygge is known for its population’s fitness, but also by its poor accommodation of people with walking disabilities.

Following Denton’s early vision, Hygge had this panopticon structure from the start, where spacious living quarters surrounded the more crowded shared infrastructure. Initially, it was meant to accommodate many different architectural styles, a trend that can still be seen till this day in some of Hygge’s most famous buildings.

However, during the Smoothing Years, and particularly under the vision of architect Pat Ayedemi (more below), the city started to create its own unique style, Heavily inspired by the works of Oscar Niemeyer in the 20th Century, especially regarding public structures such as bridges and hospitals. This new style is marked by a particular radius of roundness, according to Mx Ayedemi: “equally pleasant to the eye and unperturbed by the forces of wind and rain.”

Notable People

“Click the link below to see a video of your (soon former) president eating a tuna steak. For the youngsters among you, tuna is a species of fish that was once extinct and now it’s almost extinct again because of wankers like Mr Fragga who just can’t control their mouths. Also I stole all of his money, link below to how much he was hiding from everyone. Peace. : )” — Jonas Kimura

Chancelor Basterfield

Susannah R. Basterfield was a key political figure in the transition between the post-Denton years and the Smoothing Years. Fabled for her capacity for negotiation and diplomacy, she was the first leader capable of harnessing power in Hygge without provoking the discontent of former pro-Denton supporters.

She is known for her special care for language, shepherding renaming schemes for many of Hygge’s processes and positions so that the city could renovate itself. She is believed to have named the Distrikt itself, though some sources disagree.

Jonas Kimura

Known throughout Witness as “the best thief in the Century”, Jonas Kimura is a former top-grade student from the State Machine École who turned to crime, particularly hacking, in his late twenties. He is known to invade the most secure systems and buildings in other Distrikts using a mix of expert hacking, identity theft and disguise. Though he allegedly never committed his crimes within his home Distrikt, he’s known for extravagant stunts in many famously guarded places in Witness and other cities.

His whereabouts and current appearance are unknown.

Pat Ayedemi

The architect responsible for the renovation of Hygge’s rounded appearance during the Smoothing Years, Ayedemi’s influence extends far beyond Witness itself. Their work is considered a worldwide reference in urban planning. Their life is also marked by an unsuccessful attempt at forming a cult that removed them from the public spotlight.


Bam! As promised, here’s OG Distrikt @yudhanjaya :slight_smile: hope it fits the bill!
Oh, one thing I had a hard time figuring out was your date system, so for now I just left a XX as a proxy, we can solve the dates later!

Oh and if you want some process pictures, here’s some process pictures:

WhatsApp Image 2021-01-21 at 22.11.08

WhatsApp Image 2021-01-21 at 22.11.07

Love what I’m seeing! I especially like the triple-AI system. I would be a little cautious about function allocation, since a) this place is the bastion of the State Machine and b) Denton would have left behind a legacy of realpolitik that preserves an almost Kafka-esque bureaucracy doing busywork, so some minor functions (most likely of Sata) may have to be shifted. But that is quite doable. I absolutely love Goro.
Bookmarked for a second read tonight.

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Righto. Critique / suggested changes, @joriam:

Hygge (formerly Distrikt 1, Vikinia, among others) is the first Distrikt of Witness. Initially planned as “the nervous system of Witness” as a whole, it was turned into its own Distrikt after the Fracture. It is the Distrikt that holds the State Machine, and thus the only Distrikt in Witness to have a piece of shared infrastructure within its borders.

Suggest change to reflect Covenant + Library of St. Benedict (The Covenant - #7 by alberto): the State Machine is distributed across both the Library of St. Benedict and Hygge. In fact, most of its data store is in the Covenant, which has since then built an entire knowledge economy around it - which is why military troops from Hygge guard the Library. But the front-end technical infrastructure, decision models, and the key access points, are all in Hygge. If you look at the History, you’ll see that important interDistrikt Councils still meet at Newton’s Folly (The History of Witness - #4 by yudhanjaya) in Hygge.


“No, you don’t understand. He gave me an executive order to send all of his rations to the new espionage crew. Do you get what I’m saying? Denton is so into his shit, he won’t have anything to eat. God have mercy on us.” — Larry Quoia, former Second Secretary of Witness, messaging records

  • nice touch, love it and the record of Denton’s descent into chaos. Suggest grouping this under a heading titled POLITICAL HISTORY.

On the fourth anniversary of the Fracture, Denton was murdered by his former maid Agila Nakahl, who choked him with a piano cloth. She was executed the next day. Some say the incident was political, while others claim that it was a reaction to sexual abuse. The incident is widely referred to as ‘Denton’s early retirement’.

We can’t have him dying this early. The dude continues to haunt other Distrikts, especially the Assembly, for decades (and thus incidentally pushes them towards self-sustainability) Ref: The Assembly of People

The State Machine École

I like this idea. One thing to add would be the politics around this project: more people began sending programmers / weavers (the two words seem to refer to similar functionality: I suggest we adopt one term) to the Library of St. Benedict. Partly as a way of teaching, but also partly as a way of taking back some intellectual control from the Covenant, the École was established.

The triple AI

This is the area I have most trouble with. We need to think about why an AI would exist. In this case, the State Machine exists because it is far more adept at parsing complex information flows and collecting data on the societies it governs, and capable of generating optimal recommendations to policymakers. Why, then, would it make itself redundant?

This is also the most fun part of Hygge, and IMO lends it flair. So I propose a compromise: the events of the Fracture and subsequent Distrikts led to many programmer-politicians to believe that the State Machine was inadequate or insufficient, and they began proposing significant code and model changes and put them to the public for upvotes.

Facing three different proposals and a population divided between them and the fourth option (keeping State Machine as is), the State Machine opted for a middle-ground approach: it spun up virtual machines (think VMWare, but 10000x) hosting three different versions of itself - Kiri, Sata, and Goro, with its functions split among them. It instructed the public to live with them for a while and then have a referendum on which ones made their life better.

The State Machine itself, as the underlying system, would be able to course-correct in case of extreme failure situations. And it would continue managing the infrastructure. But to everyone’s surprise, people got along with the Three Faces of the State Machine, and extensive A/B testing found that the combination of Kiri + Sata + Goro were found to outperform any single option. I suggest working in a reference to Basterfield here, so that her impact is felt in the history and not just in the Notable People section.

So now we have an interestingly layered state: ordinary citizens know and get along with the Three, but programmers and engineers and those who crawl around in the infrastructure still speak of the State Machine, brooding and watching the world through its masks.

Jonas Kimura

Hygge seems to have extraordinarily strict laws. What prevents Kimura from being thrown off a building for his crimes? Can we link him to the gangs and corps of Libria: Liberty City - #4 by yudhanjaya ? And what impact has he had on Hygge? Places to draw from if you’re depicting hackers: Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) Groups & Threat Actors

Ok! I’ll make the changes :slight_smile:

Ok! Noted! I need to reflect upon this and create a story in which he can still be horrible, but not in control of where Hygge is going anymore. Something like MAGA operating years after Trump falls from grace.

Ok here are my thoughts!

The State Machine was created to run Witness, not to run Hygge.

If was doing a good or a bad job at running Hygge is irrelevant, as the political agitation of the time was completely us-versus-them and any hint of compromise was shunned. So the populus turned against the State Machine and the State Machine noticed — the State Machine understood the human processes at hand.

So what was the State Machine’s response? The ultimate compromise, a part of itself that is Hygge-focused. A part that is Hygge through and through just like the pro-Dentons wanted. The advent of the triple division was just part of the calculation: the State Machine understood that the current Hygge populus needed ‘teams’ to compete. They needed somebody to cheer and somebody to complain. By dividing the AI, it gave the population the language it wanted.

I wanted this separation to be a suggestion from the State Machine, because it would give the pro-Denton’s a sensation of “we were right, see? even the machine agrees”, which is exactly the power of the State Machine to understand human behavior.

What do you think?

Oh my whole spiel was that Hygge knew excatly who Jonas Kimura was, after all he was a top student from its most prestigious institution. But Hygge has no idea who Jonas Kimura is right now and where he’s at. He graduated at 24, so now he’s in his late 50s. For all they know, he could be overseeing the prison.

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Cool. Do write that argument in, since this dialogue reflected in political history makes it richer. @alberto, we may need econ support.

I wrote in a social-democratic system with strong redistribution… but then I realized there is a “resource allocating AI”! @Joriam, did you want to make a digitally planned economy, rather than a market one? À la Red Plenty? Then I would suggest to rename the AI something like Gosplan. :slight_smile:

Since we’re running short on time, and need this core out the door, I rearranged some things for flow and made some small additions and changes. I especially gave SATA more veto power over Kiri to tally with “Sata has been blocking this increase due to lack of funds.”

Few things I have removed, because they felt flimsy or did not cohere to later explanations:

“Electable projects must have teams attached to them, but these are unknown to the public at the time of voting — a necessary precaution so that the AI can measure the team’s chance of implementation success.”

  • why? You need to know if your team is CIVICSMOD or a bunch of hippies off the street. At no point does hiding the data about the team allow anyone to analyze the team’s chance of implementation success.

Those vote weights can change depending on particular achievements or flops, but they tend to remain stable.

  • This would mean an incredibly deterministic society where people do not improve their lot or learn anything new over time. Especially given the later phrase “The solution, historically, has been to focus on motivating the working- and middle classes by providing opportunities for social mobility.” These two ideas are inconsistent with each other.

Apart from the main “democracy of ideas” system, there is a sector of public governance that is perpetually employed, called the maintenance crew. This is widely regarded as a low position in Hygge society, even in its crucial importance for the overall functioning of the Distrikt.

  • why? What do they do? Why are they a low position if crucial?

At the same time, politicians leveraged the popularity of the generous welfare system to keep very wealthy individuals in minority, and prevent them from unduly influencing policy.

  • we have politicians now? Text elsewhere indicates we have working groups of people proposing and executing projects; this seems more in the realm of Sata as a default function of minimizing disparity.

"Wealthy Hyggians mostly responded by relocating elsewhere on Witness, typically on Libria. " - why? Their wealth would not exist outside Hygge if their money is controlled by Sata.Have we also not established that those who remained in Hygge were the most rabid Denton fans?

“Such punishments are conducted by Sata itself, and they’re noteworthy because they can’t be changed or cancelled after their initial sentencing, even if the subject is proven innocent later on.”

  • why would anyone implement something this draconian?

Have not taken out, but have a problem with: What is AI weaving? What is mechanomics?

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I think I managed a reconciliation. Any further tuning you can think of?

Hey @yudhanjaya, sorry I didn’t have a free second yesterday, so I just didn’t log in between your provocations and your intervention! Wish I could have saved you some time!

I had a look at everything and it feels right to me! I just went through the file and added a few comments here and there, and also changed the structure of paragraphs — I think a structure with more “#” titles rather than “###” titles is less confusing. I also standardized the quotes: they should only come after “#” titles.

To me there only one single detail here that’s stopping this from being ready: all the “XX” I added are dates… and I don’t know how to date them! Could you help me with that, @yudhanjaya?

Sure thing, man. Good job on making it more legible. Will sort out the dates as soon as I’m done on Avantgrid.

I was going for a faux-market economy. It looks markety, it has markety characteristics, but the AI has enough control over the economy (mostly via universal income) that it can prevent and control many of the nastier aspects of the market economy. Again, all in Hygge is about reducing pain, rather than increasing glory.

What do you think? If you wanna add something here, just go for it!

Good call! Love it!

YES! That’s the whole complaint of the entirety of Hygge.

It’s a system that is focused on preventing shit from happening, including good shit. It’s incredibly deterministic and monotonous, as every overbureaucratic society is (I live in Germany man), and though people are happy that the previous shenanigans are not happening (again, I live in Germany man), they are just not satifyied.

Sata just does it. It requires no approval for economic acts. It’s just AI — it doesn’t need to justify, just apply what its systems deem correct.

Perhaps Goro gave Sata some internal lesson on fear. And its usefulness.

A lot of your 'why’s and even eliminations had the same theme, Yudha, which was me creating groups that could benefit or be dissatisfied with systems. I thought this could lead to interesting stories, like somebody from the Maintenance Crew that dreams of becoming an elected politician or somebody who was unjustly accused of theft be summarily kicked out of Hygge and be forced to adapt to another system. Anyway, it’s cool! Perhaps it’s for the best that the worldbuilders create their own groups and dramas :slight_smile:

@yudhanjaya @Joriam this is still economically inconsistent. We can’t have both a social democratic economy and “near total allocation of resources by an AI”.

I made a social democratic economy because the universal basic income thing stood out. UIB is a redistribution measure, but where is the production sphere? So, I tried to imagine a system that (1) would produce a redistributable surplus and (2) would be self-enforcing. Earth’s real social democracy is only partially self-enforcing, because the rich try to undermine the redistribution system.

Redistribution can be achieved by AI, as Joriam suggests and as in Red Plenty. But then, same thing: what prevents people who stand to lose from the AI’s intervention from tampering with it? This is what happens in Red Plenty, after all. Factory managers in practice default back to Gosplan practices, paying only lip service to shadow pricing. On this, I have no idea.

@Joriam So I have a bit of a problem with plot being as some sort of silver bullet.

It’s just AI — it doesn’t need to justify, just apply what its systems deem correct.

No human community is going to fully give over the reigns to decisions it cannot understand or justify, unless there is a combination of propaganda and tight economic and political control. To channel Gramsci, you need a cultural hegemony in place. Think the U.S.S.R. and, going back further, the Catholic Church of the Crusade Era. And this is logically inconsistent with the idea of a state where people have so much political determination that they are able to vote, Kickstarter-like, on projects instead of politicians.

If a successful totalitarian government has been set in place, you will need all of those (context: I come from Sri Lanka: wartime governments are terrible and terribly effective things, but giving political power to people is the least of what they do). Even then, you have dissent: from terrorist spinning civil wars. You also need to control borders, or at least prevent awareness of other systems (think North Korea) and Hygge is open via the Migrant Train.

Assuming all this is done: why three AIs, then, or a vote system? A ruling class, to channel Gramsci again, would only have to give enough goods and services to the ruled that there is no outright rebellion. And Hygge is far from that.

So there is no logical consistency here between the initial setup you have for Hygge and the end shape of the society. While it may be the society we would like it to be, that does not mean it is the society that would evolve given the social forces that would come into play. Systems interact with one another: they do not exist individually, even in stories (and stories where they don’t interact are easily detectable by their whiff of unreality).

Secondly, as someone who trains machine learning systems: you are never going to have all-perfect AI. It is not a silver bullet for good or evil. Even the State Machine is not without flaws, and historically we are bad at dealing with outliers. AI trains for the middle of the bell curve on a distribution of data: they are thus incredibly efficient at dealing with most cases, but never all. German dissatisfaction is a good example: Germany has systems and a society (no bombs, no race riots, actual roads, a decent passport) that most of us in the Global South would (and have) kill for, but they are unsatisfied.

I would suggest we do @alberto’s Red Plenty economy; something centrally run, with people’s votes on projects turned into redistribution plans by AI and then executed by humans. That is what I see as letting us preserve most of Hygge - including Goro to provide entertainment and a deliberate aspect of randomness to life.

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I deeply disagree with this.

I think all human communities will give over the reigns after the simple shift when the AIs start doing the job way, waaaaay better than humans.

It’s like when European monarchs started becoming ‘enlightened despots’ around the time of the Dual Revolution, because the combination of industrialization and Democracy was so undeniably powerful that even the people who would theoretically be beheaded by this new system started adopting it.

It makes no sense for a monarch to adopt industrialization+democracy, it undermines all of their powers, both the land power and the birth right. It’s not dangerous, it’s suicidal. Still, it sold like hot cakes. Why? Because industrialization+democracy was steamrolling over feudalism+monarchy.

As soon as AI-centric governments start steamrolling over human-centered governments, everybody will be forced to accept the new way to do things.

At the same time, part of the cleverness of those new systems (and that part doesn’t exist yet) is to understand humans very deeply. Any AI system will have to give the impression of control to humans — they don’t need to control the world, they just need to believe they do. Thus the kickstarter-like characteristics of the system. Humans control the sexiest actions, while the AI control the reduced, efficient and necessary maintenance crew (that ended up deleted).

The three AIs, instead of just one, is another form to manipulate human expectations and irrational behaviors. People will take sides, people will complain about one and praise the other, people will make Tshirts. This is a key feature to control political turmoil in times of peace.

In the final Hygge I created, the term ‘ruling class’ finally applies in reality. There’s no ‘ruler class’, the ‘ruling class’ is temporary, fluid and obtained via means that are not capital.

I think all the logical inconsistencies that you pointed out come from the same root: you don’t think humans would subjugate to an AI. But I would, and it doesn’t even need to be perfect, all it needs to do is a better job than any human group ever did.

What do you think?

I didn’t read Red Plenty, but buy what I researched here it looks like a cool reference — but this book seems to point at a rather flashy, rather opulent view of a possible economics system, and I wanted Hygge to have the marasmus of the soviet block after the USSR’s fall from grace. Or maybe even the current economic stagnation of Japan. Japan is megacapitalistic, but there’s just no extra money flowing for 15 years - a kid can only aspire to be as rich as their parents, dreaming more than that is too much. I wanted a productive society, including some of the most crucial products in the world (like Japanese manufacturing and technology), in which people wanted to be rich — but they just couldn’t reach the richness.

But above all, I wanted it to be realistic, so I’m not really arguing here, just presenting where I came from with all those ideas.

Do you think the Red Plenty’s economy could be interpreted in a less flashy way, @alberto?

Oh, no. Homo economicus- the rational Man - does not exist. If it did, we would have no war, no religion, nothing strictly logical, and no stories: the eagles would airlift the ring into Mordo.

At the same time, part of the cleverness of those new systems (and that part doesn’t exist yet) is to understand humans very deeply. Any AI system will have to give the impression of control to humans — they don’t need to control the world, they just need to believe they do. Thus the kickstarter-like characteristics of the system. Humans control the sexiest actions, while the AI control the reduced, efficient and necessary maintenance crew (that ended up deleted).

Now this I agree with. This is the basis of the State Machine, and indeed Ian M. Bank’s Culture. (By the way, CIVICSMOD is the crew that does that maintenance function): they are far, far better than the human equivalent.

But to assume that we will end up here without turmoil is merely to set up a Potemkin village. At major junctions you must ask: what about people who disagree? What will they do? Given that you have written people directing their ire at the State Machine, do you believe it feasible that the triple-AI future will arrive without a fight or even skepticism? The European monarchs certainly did not go without a fight; they were eventually forced to co-opt. See Cromwell, the French Revolution, or fundamental keystones in our history. Even then there were Luddites; and today we have tech-Luddites dotting the development sector as decisionmakers.

But it looks like we are in agreement as to the source of ideas. And here is an excellent place to trial ideas from Red Plenty and Ian Bank’s The Culture: a centrally planned economy planned and run by AI.

At the risk of plugging myself: might I recommend reading: “The State Machine,” a short story by Yudhanjaya Wijeratne. and taking a crack at this? If needed, @joriam, more than happy to have a call and discuss after.

Disagree with your disagreement. Better for whom? “Human communities” are not monolithic agents. Most allocation decisions result in winners and losers. The losers tend to fight back. The winners tend to try and stay on top. I imagine that most Wall Street bros would dislike what you, Joriam, would call “a better allocation”.

Well, imagine that the shadow pricing reformers in Red Plenty would have had the full support of Kruscev, including the KGB on their side. Then they could have overridden the hesitations of the factory managers.

That’s not flashy at all.

  • The system is imposed by fiat. It gets imposed because someone who gathered power before the AI worked acceptably well decides it would give them an advantage. In the Soviet Union, this advantage was the race with the west: a small, but steady delta in productivity would crush the West by the sheer weight of exponential growth.

  • Eventually, the system gains enough consensus with enough people that the politics check out: he AI can stay, becomes a piece of the governance, and burning it to the ground exits the Overton window.

This is “it does things waaaay better”, but now with the politics added, in turn supported by the economics. If the AI decides your house has to be razed down to make space for a Migrant Train track, you will protest (good for the Distrikt, bad for you personally), but if you protest too hard a white van will show up and make you stop. The goons are paid by the taxes of a majority who is better off by the current system.

I’m even feeling bummed we’re having to make final decisions because of a release date, I really love this discussion for the sake of it!

I’m not dying on this hill, but here’s my final (and also abandoned) argument for pro-AI systems in the future: the human brain might not be able to calculate all the factors that would lead the losing side of a society revolting against a system or regime — but an AI could. We don’t have anything like this right now, but one day an AI could have such an elegant risk calculation system that it would know exactly how much and who it could displease and still remain operating and being efficient.

I do like this final twist @alberto gave with a… rarely used, but quite noticeable Peace Police that is nothing but peaceful.

We do not need to make final decisions. This is a wiki, it is meant never to be final. :slight_smile: