Of course, the abolition of government as we know it would not likely lead to complete anarchy. Rather, it could be reasonably expected the forms of governance to evolve with the technology...
"A representative from something called “Bitnation” explained... how an entire nation could one day be provided online via an uncontrollable, uncensorable digital network, where groups of citizens could club together to privately commission public services. Bitnation’s founder, Susanne Tarkowski Tempelhof, hopes Bitnation could one day replace the nation state and rid us of bureaucrats, creating “a world of a million competing digital nations”, as she later told me.
"And that is just the tip of the iceberg.... digital technology, like bitcoin, is a disruptive force of decentralisation. It tears down settled hierarchical organisations and builds new networked ones (although, like Facebook, they can sometimes end up becoming very centralised too). Social media is “many to many” communication, rather than “one to many” broadcast. “Sharing economy” companies such as Uber and Airbnb are all about linking people and assets via smartphones. Even the internet itself is designed to be distributed, borderless and difficult to control. That decentralising force is sweeping through society and economies and the affects are difficult to predict... These so-called sharing economy companies proudly disrupt entire industries in the name of efficiency. Politics is struggling to keep up, and regulators aren’t always sure what rules apply to them."
Bartlett also touches on AI - a topic inextricably fundamental to the core of some of the most significant transformations occuring and ahead:
"The AI revolution is taking the boring form of machine-learning algorithms... Give it enough data and it can start doing things better, and faster, than humans...
"Brace yourself for a run of stories about machines doing jobs better than unreliable, break-taking, tardy Homo sapiens. Already this year software has trounced humans at fruit-picking, bricklaying and burger-flipping. That you’re probably not surprised by this remarkable feat shows how far we’ve come. It will very shortly move on to less routine and even very skilled work that takes years for a human to master. Already machine-learning software can outperform the top doctors at diagnosing illness from CT scans, by running through millions of correct and thousands of incorrect examples real live doctors have produced over the years.
"Whether this machine-learning revolution means fewer jobs, more jobs, worse jobs or different jobs is hard to predict... according to the Bank of England, as many as 15 million British jobs might disappear from the twin forces of AI and automation within a generation. At the very least it will mean disruption for people and some entire industries, twinned with sudden shifts in labour and skills needs...
"No one in Prague or Silicon Valley or Shoreditch or anywhere else is willing or able to put the brakes on... (thus, increasing discussion about) “universal basic income” - essentially a way to pay economically useless people to live, consume and keep capitalism ticking over. Perhaps that will work – it is seriously worth debating – and perhaps new jobs will arrive too. But also possible is a dystopia in which millions of economically valueless citizens scratch out an existence as a client class while a small number of tech mega-monopolies and crypto-anarchist geniuses rack up unprecedented wealth and influence. No one really knows where this ends up.
"At present, technology stands outside the messy business of politics, but in a couple of elections’ time, AI, big tech, the sharing economy, will be discussed as angrily as immigration or the NHS now. Does anyone seriously believe that Jeremy Corbyn or Theresa May or Tim Farron or Nicola Sturgeon have the foggiest clue about any of this, and what to do about it? (I’ve not even mentioned climate change, synthetic biology, the continued mass movement of people, billions of connected internet-enabled devices.)
And what of the populist right – with their focus on culture, borders, immigration, and sticking it to the establishment? When asked about the future of artificial intelligence and automation, US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin replied: “It’s not even on our radar screen” and that he’s “not worried at all”. A few weeks ago his boss climbed into a huge rig wearing an “I love trucks” badge, just as nearly everyone in Silicon Valley agreed that artificial intelligence was about to decimate the industry. Trump might be able to stop the immigrants or slow outsourcing for a while, but who will stop the robots and the smiling data scientist?
Simply put: the leadership required as mankind proceeds through a period of perhaps the most accelerated transformation in history is not going to come from the political or governmental realm.
In fact, it's quite likely that those putting faith in the soon-to-be archaic systems of politics and governments may be in for a very rude awakening as reality smacks them hard in the face for being so stupid as to ignore and resist the largest transformational technology waves sweeping the globe.
Change is inevitable. And it appears that those most well-equipped to adapt may be found in the cyberstates of the cryptosphere and "radical" technological circles who recognize riding the wave of technology's exponential acceleration is the only way to stay above the water, while those entrenched in political ideologies and dogmatic adherence to "the state" sink.
"At some point, and probably sooner than we think, the current left and right offerings of the major parties, including (perhaps especially) the populist, will start to appear ludicrous and unworkable. New political movements and ideas will arrive before long for this industrial revolution, especially once the majority of the population will soon have grown up online. It will be a politics that offers solutions to the challenges society will face, and be bold enough to steer technology rather than be led by it, to harness it rather than dismiss it, to see it as a motor of social change, not just a job maker. Perhaps there will be some back-to-the-earth, off-grid thinking reminiscent of the 1970s... More likely is that groups like the Prague crypto-anarchists, who will embrace the changes and experiment with entirely new forms of governance and society, will emerge. After all, they were right about digital technology, about surveillance and bitcoin and most of us ignored them. And for better of worse, I think they’re probably right about this too."
Thanks, Jamie Bartlett, for an awesome outlook on the state of worldly affairs. Indeed, we are in exciting times with radical change ahead - and it's thought-leaders like yourself who are the modern-day shamans providing the guidance to help others see the murky crossroads separating the path of self-destruction from that of truly awesome potentials unfolding.