(Sunday Thought) The New World

Imagine you are good at chess. You have played it since you were a kid, and although you’re not going to win any grand championships, you have competed successfully before.

Now imagine they change chess. In the future, it is announced, chessboards will be a 16 times bigger. Instead of eight squares on a side, there will be 32, meaning the total number of squares will increase from 64 to 1,024.

To accommodate the change in board size, the total number of pieces will also increase from 32 (16 per side) to 128 (64 per side). But that is merely a derivative change, you are told, to fit the game to the new board. Don’t worry! Everything else stays the same. It is still chess. It’s just BIGGER chess. More of what you love!

Very quickly, of course, it’s discovered that humans actually have great difficulty playing on a board of that size. Many of the traditional moves and feints no longer apply, or only apply in certain cases, such as when pieces are clustered in a corner. Players start winning and losing effectively at random, obliterating any merit in their play.

Because f the change, new strategies are required, and all the guides and educational materials have to be updated. Anyone can do that, the proctors say, with a little time and effort. Thus, they say, the game is still fair.

Of course, some players realize you can build those new tools and strategies much, much quicker with machine learning. All it requires is a team of researchers and a couple millions dollars to develop.

Now who wins? The best players in a fair competition? Or the ones hired and trained by the technocrats?

Note, we haven’t changed any of the rules of chess. The “laws” are all the same. The board simply got bigger, introducing more degrees of freedom to move. Anything else was simply derivative.

This is what has happened, and continues to happen, in the developed world this century. You are being told that nothing has fundamentally changed, that the laws are all the same, and everything is basically as stable and fair as it was in 1980.