Anything close to reality is pure coincidence…
Is the year 2031, the network (next term after the internet) is the most important of human assets. The US owns the majority of it, with the country living under the dualism of being the core of its infrastructure, which brings immense power and wealth (most extracted from the other countries), and the curse of a population no longer engaged in meaningful or real jobs.
By now, most of them have been replaced by machines with software driven processes. Internal insurgence and terrorism is very common. The US defense department looks more inward than outward, and the new aristocracy of the Network constantly demands protection and stability from a large population dependent on welfare and US government jobs and transfers.
Internationally, situation is not better. Biggest countries are by and large copying the policies of the US against their citizens, and in exchange for cooperation and data, have unwritten agreements to release any information about anyone. What was a self regulated internet, is now a Network for the States to regulate their citizens.
A small group in Palo Alto led by a guy codename Ed, decides a definitive action needs to be taken. They cannot continue waiting for the US state to protect their interests in the Network. They actually despise the side of it that aims at full control of the people and monitor all of it movements. They have been thinking long and hard for a new model, they still don’t have it perfected, but is certain a major shift needs to happen, and all the roads lead to one outcome: Complete independence from the USA. Not only in their actions as regards to the Network, but also of the community of individuals and businesses in their cities. Independence with sovereignty. But, they don’t want to create another modern state, to them its failure as a model is clear. A new government model needs to be put forward.
The community of friends in Seattle, San Diego, and the most tech part of California are with Ed. By now, conversations about revolution are quite advanced in certain aspects, and not mature enough in some others. One key issue, is how to manage a revolution in a country with the most incredible system of monitoring of every movement, conversation, and of course a monopoly of armed defense. Bill, one of the most influential network engineers in San Diego expressed “The issue is we are only talking about revolution mainly from theory, and the practical thing for them will be to get rid of us one by one, using network defense agents (NDA), or apply brute force on our soon not to be states, to make us look like we want a new civil war, or worse just plain terrorists” and adding to his argument, “I’d like to use the term government reinvention, to refer to our activities. However, I still don’t think we have done enough progress on the issue of how to surprise, break out, and not give them a chance to use force” Indeed one they invested some time to crack.
Although they couldn’t figure out yet the practicalities of the revolution (or even a name for it), they felt responsible to make something happen. They are the last group of people, with enough insider knowledge and (some) power, to have a chance at countering the course of current history, and bring humanity, and particularly the US people back to some basics. Responsibility for taking action, and revolution as an answer for freedom, commerce, participation in government, and stability. The rest of the US and the Globe, will be incorporated into their cause “as needed”, or just simply by natural contagion.
Everything started with the protocol that allowed for communication. At first only revolutionaries could understand and use it. This was quickly evolved to one that have the highest security, and at the same time, able to be interfaced by regular people. The principle behind this effort was the importance of their activities not to represent only the interests of the Network aristocracy (which neither of the unnamed group felt they belong to), only diversity of thinking and operation will bring back some of the things badly lost when the network became the center of everything. Control by the many not by the few. Ed was clearly up for rethinking some parts of the Network, and as needed, re-humanize them. Only then their revolution will have a chance to produce the effects they wanted.
The next step was to capture key nodes of the Network from where to block defenses once a full offensive started. This was done on a minimal disruption basis. Ed kept reinforcing that their position was peaceful, but might eventually required more than that to effectively get their objective. By now, formal channels of communication with the US government, and the states of California, Washington, Colorado and some parts of Texas, are made aware that their bodies of representation need to start debating these issues on behalf of the people, or they will render obsolete for the next stage to come. Ed addressed key representatives of the political power in the cities and states “This initiative will be led by us or not, but be sure it will be led to happen. Our violence so far is in being sure when to hit and how to disguise against the NDA agents. However, if one of us were to fall for this cause, it will be of the highest honor ever possible”.
The use of force, and other moral dilemmas haunted some of the people in the movement. Are we really doing the best for everybody? Or the best for our community with politics and commerce interest on the network? Once we separate from the US, there will be consequences all over the world in terms of the markets and disintegration of order. It will mean lots of repression, war, and poverty, for many, many people. So, how is this the right thing? Ed and Bill were up to debate the questions, change the course if required, but at the same time, continue with the overall objective and actions. It was clear that the assembly of this unnamed group was more trying to rationalize and create a story that justify their actions, rather than debating to stop the course of things. The more they talk it, the more they were convinced it was right and possible.
So, from a natural fear, the assembly (or virtual one) evolve to a thinking were they needed not to rationalize or try to justify all their actions. Their principles (although coming mainly from tech guys) were assuming a more naturalistic form. In nature, government is self-guided and every unit, or the whole, needs to be broken to make it stronger, and evolve. The modern state was now a white monster not adapted to the times, and the units it represented, its people. Every one of them lived in application of those principles, as they saw them working on the everyday in their Network based businesses. The more the competition and the more diverse, the better the result of the product. The more the individuals were the real unit that got the system in motion, via small trade, intellectual contribution, even governmental responsibilities (some in the group have local politics responsibilities), the system became more human, and less dependent on the Network for local and everyday affairs, more efficient in the use of it for trade, and relationships with the rest of the US and other countries.
However, they were not the only ones exposed to the full extent of the current situation, and for others the interpretation of actions coming out of them was different. Aristocrats of the Network, as referred to by the NDA, was a derogatory term for people with some control but no formal political power. Another obstacle to cross in their revolution progress, was the issue of how to get the other “Network Aristocrats” to be with them. They knew they didn’t share the full length of their ideas, but they were among the most influential people in the Globe. Probably the only few living in some form of stability and comfort, where relinquishing some control of their Network assets for the sake of a cause was unthinkable. Humankind was something that they belong to, but practically it was more something they could study, and get right for their software user experience, manipulate through their games, and squeeze out their last dollar with automated marketing and payment systems. There was nothing about humanity that they didn’t think they knew, and it didn’t produce them any sense of admiration or cause to seek for them.
But, faraway the were still very close. A key group of these “Aristocrats” were conspiring themselves as well, toying with the idea of independence, but from a different angle. Their issue was uneven contribution to the rest of the nation. Almost all wealth in the US was generated between the most tech cities in the west, and the benefits were redistributed through the whole nation. Moreover, their political representation, was a heritage of more than two centuries ago, were everybody was pulling their weight in terms of commerce (not anymore the case). In the current world, of winner takes all industries (and they were the owners of the winner companies) the rest of the US was not different from the rest of the Globe. And it was very little that the US government provide them, merely defense, bureaucracy, and taxes. In this they were aligned with the unnamed group. They need not a State, they need their cities back to them, and set themselves free from a facade of being only business owners and start acting as real rulers of their communities and the world could be theirs as a natural consequence.
So, here there was an unnamed group moved by idealism, or sense of duty to liberate humanity from the current system and their unnatural way of working. And another group, maybe as revolutionary as them, but more from a realist side. Their revolution was not to reset the control of the network and redesign it, was more to take it to its natural next conclusion. The winners (in their winners take all economy) needed to control not only commerce, but their own politics, and taxation. More than ever the issue of correct representation (or political power), for the contribution (their cities produced) was their motivation. So, here it is the “Network Aristocracy”, in a quest to get the best experiment in politics and organization in the history of humanity.
On January 24th the next year, war started.
It was a silent war. All real collaboration in monitoring activities against citizens of the US and the world, was replaced by algorithm based data, that looked like the real feed but it was not. In a way they set everybody free, without they even knowing it. Only in a few hours the central learning agent machines will decode the lie and they will be exposed to the full of consequences.The first battle was about keeping communications, and bringing down key infrastructure of defense that could unleash US State quick violence on their cities. By this time, the old states that the cities belong to, were communicating to Congress, Courts and President their official decision to secede from the US, creating their own bodies of representation which will draft a new set of rules for their government and relationship with their old country. War not needed to be bloody, neither distraught commerce. Although they knew that in the issue of independence the other states will be implacable in their opposition.
The protocol of communication was then opened for the citizens of the world to see the real extent of the activities of the Global State, the US like it or not had become one, and exposing it, and more importantly not fearing it, was the beginning of its demise.
In the battlefield, it was a combination of who attacked the most of the computational infrastructure of the other side by hacking into it, and the infliction of real damage by the means of violence. The latter was the preferred by the US forces, as the unnamed group really wreck havoc in the US state machine infrastructure from the very beginning. It was also a propaganda war, the equivalent to Youtube was a platform constantly trying to remain online, and were both factions were pleading their case to the individuals.
After a few long months, Big Blue (as they refer to the US in revolution forces) was losing the battle among its citizens. A global interconnected Network of city-states were taking shape in the US, led by the west cities (which never interrupted trade with the rest of the world), and the last loyalist sectors were beginning to crumble from lack of resources, international cooperation, and just simply morally defeated. Who were they defending? Why to die for a State that no longer wanted the best for its citizens, just complete control of them?
By early October war in the US was over.
And the rest of the world was soon going to catch up,…and history will take its revenge.