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Rising Choir

In 2045 everyone's voice contributes to an emergent global choir!
The drawn peace-, or V-hand-sign encourages people to make use of their voice. through V.O.I.C.E.
Sofiá calibrating a new General Robot care-unit to their new environment.
This future value-compass indicates the thousands of preferences of a single human.

Overview

Rising Choir envisions a 2045 where advanced AI and robotics are seamlessly integrated into everyday life, enhancing productivity and personal care. The V.O.I.C.E. system revolutionizes communication and democratic participation, developing a sense of inclusion across all levels of society. Energy abundance, driven by solar and battery advancements, addresses climate change challenges, while the presence of humanoid robots in every household marks a new era of economic output and personal convenience. 

Existential Hope Vision

What makes this future a desirable outcome for humanity?

Thanks to humanoid robots helping with daily tasks and taking care of ordinary productivity a new level of flourishing has been achieved. Liberating time to be spent with friends, family, playing sports or making crafts. Allowing more time to be used in creative ways and for contributing to sustainable development goals. 

In addition, the improvements in communication and collaboration via V.O.I.C.E. culturally enriched people’s perception of the world. An increased openness of societies in combination with an opening up of borders through international agreements provides an encouraging sense of opportunity. 

Lastly, this world seems full of potential. Major power conflicts have been avoided and technological progress is ongoing, while active debates about what lives to lead and societies to form are ongoing and being tested out!

Top 3 goals of the world:

  1. Implement effective strategies to alleviate poverty, with the ultimate objective of eradicating it entirely. 
  2. Develop a radical acceptance of diversity, leading to peace and collaboration and the avoidance of future war.
  3. Address the climate crisis through sustainable development practices to safeguard ecosystems and ensure the well-being of all future humans.

Significant challenges that this world must overcome:

To realize its Existential Hope vision, the world must overcome significant technological and societal challenges. On the technological front, ensuring anonymity and preventing abuse in voting systems while verifying human votes and preventing circumvention of verification methods is crucial. Making these systems accessible to all, including poorer regions, and scaling algorithms to handle billions of preferences without losing key information or nuance are also major obstacles to overcome. Furthermore, balancing code security, transparency, and open-source development is necessary for trust and adoption.

Societal challenges include promoting collaboration and engagement across cultures by highlighting win-win scenarios and navigating the emerging global-preference-space while preventing cultural wars. Helping societies cope with increasing complexity in daily life and building trust for universal platform adoption while addressing state censorship are also necessary. Finally, gaining both bottom-up and top-down buy-in of V.O.I.C.E is essential for the successful realization of this vision.

Core Elements of this World

Technology & Science

1. What is a major problem that AI (not AGI!) has solved in your world, and how did it do so?

Major breakthroughs in collaboration and prosperity. 

Progress in collaboration was achieved through V.O.I.C.E., a global preference polling tool, which collects ideas and proposes compromises for (local) communities, cities, nations, and up until international levels of coordination. Finding positive-sum interactions, Pareto-improvements, or also called win-wins is achieved through a vast amount of compute. V.O.I.C.E. stands for Voice for Open Source Information and Community Engagement and is an orders of magnitude more potent than today’s open-source survey research tool Polis. It enables direct democracy and has replaced political representatives for a significant part of governmental decisions. By 2045 everyone can simply share a preference with the world by voicing it to the many interfaces on smartphones or social media platforms. In addition, V.O.I.C.E. A/B tests millions of policy suggestions to thousands of global citizens such as “Would you be willing to pay 1% more tax if it would lead to outcome Y?”. As a result, V.O.I.C.E. builds an understanding of the preference space of humanity and searches for mutually beneficial steps. 

Vast increases in the economy have been achieved through humanoid robots which can learn >95% of tasks simply through simulation or observation and direct conversation with humans. By 2045 there exist about two humanoid robots per human on Earth. Due to robots’ high productivity, this has resulted in a 10x of labor in the economy and a 20x GDP growth, leading to the abundance and affordability of most goods.

2. Why does AGI not exist?

For AGI to be developed or develop itself there are two necessary, but not sufficient, conditions. First, the AI itself needs to be of a critical size (e.g have enough parameters) and secondly, the duration and size of it’s context window (how much it can keep in ‘mind’ at any point in time) need to be large enough for self-improvement to be possible. Both aspects have been severely limited in this world. 

The first point has been limited due to simple economic reasons. Models that are capable of doing >90% of economically useful tasks were developed in the late 2020s. We don’t know where the threshold to AGI exactly is, but we were lucky in the sense that these productive models fell short of that threshold. As a result, most funding and investment went into ‘dumb-and-specialized’ models that could be run locally, making them more efficient, requiring less compute and energy to be price competitive. 

The second point fell under strict regulation with the Robot Act of 2030 in which indefinite context windows for autonomous agents have been banned, and larger context windows (eg. lasting more than a day) have been heavily regulated. 

3. What are two new non-AI technologies that have played an important role in the development of your world?

Abundant Energy has been achieved through a combination of solar & batteries (and other low-carbon tech where sensible). Two decades of development reduced the cost by another 90%. Most grids deployed 5-10x their daily energy requirements in generation capacity to account for the worst Dunkelflaute of the year (a period in which it is heavily clouded and without wind). As a result most societies have abundant free energy 100-300 days in a year. This free surplus energy is being utilized for two key things predominantly:

  • Running AIs / Compute / searching for improvements in global-preference-space. 
  • Running energy-intensive carbon capture technologies to address Climate Change.

4. How does your world utilize technology and address potential coordination challenges and risks arising from the technologies you focus on?

Misuse of humanoid robots, for example for terrorist attacks, are being prevented through high levels of regulations and capacity limits in their context windows. All commercially available robots can not be updated over the internet and need to be brought to maintenance units or certified calibrators to receive updates. The certification process has mandatory humans in the loop which uses a combination of verified humans (via TOPs) and smart contracts. 

New risky technological developments, such as steps towards AGI, are being closely observed by actors everywhere in the global society. Due to the ease of coordination that V.O.I.C.E. brings, global scrutiny can be organized to pressure companies, forcing them to convince the public that their next research developments will be safe. 

Ironically, the progress stifling powers of too much coordination make the world of Rising Choir fall short of its grant potential for now. But trust and hope reign, that we will get there eventually. 

Values & Community

1. How do people live, work, and interact in this hopeful future?

We see four primary ways of interaction: 

  • The classic way of talking to your neighbor still exists. We imagine the increased prosperity allowing for a reduced workload and thus more time to meet up with others and enjoy life.
  • Meeting up at in-person events which have been facilitated via V.O.I.C.E.. For example when several people are asking / polling about local dance events, people see that preference rising in their community and can say if they want to join or co-organize.
  • Connecting via intentional digital communities and dedicated communication channels. See the example of the extended family chat in Sofía's story below. 
  • Partaking in national and global conversation via V.O.I.C.E.. 

We expect the economy of 2045 will still be comparable to 2024. A lot of jobs have been disrupted and transformed, and new ones emerged. Social safety nets have been implemented and thanks to (humanoid) robots the cost of goods has decreased significantly. As a result basic needs can be guaranteed to every citizen. Overall people don’t have to work anymore to survive which allows them to spend more time with their children, family or friends. There are still plenty of developments in the world ongoing and…

This depends on where you live and what your preferences are! Ever more open borders allow you to move to the cultures with their architecture, dress code, and traditions that fit you. The range of lives you could lead in 2045 is so vast that we don’t make predictions here. Living styles depend on where you live and...

2. What is a notable beneficial trend in this world and what is a trend many are concerned about?

Beneficial trends: 

  • Increase in the participation of the people, having their opinion heard through V.O.I.C.E., and as a consequence a more equitable society and more informed decision making processes. 
  • More participatory forms of democratic governance result in policies that reflect more of the people’s genuine policy preferences (instead of models relying on approximating those preferences through a middleman representative).
  • This in turn grants greater perceived legitimacy to policy processes and outcomes, creating stronger public trust in public institutions. (In countries implementing V.O.I.C.E-enabled democratic models, at least.)

Concerning trends:

  • There are constant opportunities for the human tendency to be outraged. How can this be counteracted in a constructive (but not condescending) way?
  • Not all countries welcome the unprecedented tech-aided political participation that V.O.I.C.E promises. Some communities opt-out and stop contributing to the global hive mind.

3. Which of today’s values does society keep, which of today’s values does society expel, and which new values has this society added?

Today’s values which are reinforced and broadly distributed include increasing equity, accessibility to all, acceptance, and shared mutual understanding. Cooperation and peace are also valued highly. 

On the other hand, negative discrimination and segregation due to religion, race, ideology, or personal opinions are reduced as much as possible by this 2045. 

Finally, new values have also been added to this society:

  1. A paradigm shift in the understanding of military deterrence took place.
  2. With increasing levels of collaboration and interconnected economies and societies war becomes less reasonable. With the costs of a high weapon arsenal being transparent, societies don’t see a large army as something valuable but more as something costly. Thanks to V.O.I.C.E people also understand the necessity. As a result mutual deproliferation efforts are being supported by both international as well as national voters, to increase national prosperity. 
  3. Radical tolerance: Since people have increasing faith that every voice can be heard and taken into account in political & policy outcomes, the environment in democratic societies using V.O.I.C.E no longer feels like an “us vs. them” zero-sum battle. As a result, tolerance is naturally easier, when people don’t so much operate on a scarcity mindset and feel like they have to push someone else down in order for them.

Economy & Institutions

1. What is a new or reformed institution that has played an important role in the development of your world?

We lack the words to describe the emergent system that will run V.O.I.C.E. in the year 2045. It is a combination of the Wikimedia Foundation, the Linux open source ecosystem, and a DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization), but with clearly identifiable clusters of stakeholders consisting of nations and UN-funded infrastructure.

The source code and algorithm are public and independently verifiable which led to the adoption of a unified standard in 2032. Before that varying forks of the tool existed, which were merged over time. 

2. How has one sector of society been transformed by new technologies?

Supply chains and trade have been shaped severely. See the section on microeconomics below. 

The whole idea of political offices and representatives has shifted significantly. Initially, some politicians running for specific positions signalled their democratic values by committing to adhere to the poll results of V.O.I.C.E. when making decisions about new policies. This gave way for neutral 3rd parties to enter the political system. For an increasing range of causes relevant to the broader society political representatives have become more of a human in the loop than a political extension of the public. Some offices have disappeared, some new ones were created, and some have been de facto replaced by V.O.I.C.E.. 

3. How have the following branches of economics evolved, and what are their current roles?

Microeconomics (individuals and organizations)

Due to the increased interconnectedness and ease of communicating needs or gives, the Consumption Chain was shaped by V.O.I.C.E. - smoothing out transactions and information flow between producers and consumers. People are able to just communicate that they have something to trade, sell, or share. As a byproduct producers of goods have become more decentralized as the reliance on in-house trade networks is dispersed. A non-perfect example might be how today everyone can become an Uber driver (after a verification process) and set their own rates, cancellation fees etc. and working hours without having knowledge about the transportation needs of the public themselves.

Macroeconomics (nation-state level – if it still exists)

(but looking significantly different than how it looks today)

Robot and AI taxes are funding social safety nets such as Universal Basic Income. Different regions in the world vary in their approach to adapting to the economic transformations of millions of additional workers in the economy, but most of them found ways to tax profits in such a way that basic needs can be covered. 

Compute has become a resource and a tradable commodity with its own futures markets. This is due to weather impacting the amount of free abundant energy and therefore the price of compute at different times. 

Global Political Economy (global economic policies and geopolitics)

V.O.I.C.E. enabled trade agreements (among other agreements) between nations and opened up economic development. 

V.O.I.C.E. is starting weapon deproliferation agreements saving nations military expenses and reducing tension between countries. 

A day in the life

Sofía was on her way to work in her walkable city chapter, when she came by one of the free community art walls. There amongst the overlapping drawings she spotted one which had lost colour over the years. It depicted the peace-hand sign, or the V-sign, in combination with a musical key. In the early 2030s it felt rebellious, important, revolutionary! A call to action, to “make use of your Voice”. She smiles at the memory of hope & fresh winds. 

The drawn peace-, or V-hand-sign encourages people to make use of their voice. through V.O.I.C.E.

Nowadays V.O.I.C.E. is seamlessly integrated in all layers of society. It didn’t bring the radical changes some hoped (and some feared). But it brought real tangible improvements. On a local level it meant more collaborative community design, through festivals and housing projects. On the national scale it was key for deciding how general purpose (humanoid) robots (GRs) should be regulated. Running a household with 2 kids alone Sofía welcomed the helping hands and advocated actively for a fair inclusion of the newly developed technologies. The kids made sure that she would always be learning through these still transformative times. They traveled abroad recently to explore other cultures and further their education. Sofía was glad to be able to provide such freedoms to her family, not only thanks to the small but steadily increasing living standards over the last decades, but also because of the international agreements that V.O.I.C.E. enabled between nations, which birthed exchange programs and opened up borders bit by bit. 

Having worked with various generations of GRs made her an expert in their shortcomings. You would be surprised how many edge case tasks a typical household provides, despite companies advertising their robots as being “pre-trained for over 10.000 certified tasks” or “capable of 99.7% of daily tasks”. Over the air updates were strictly regulated and in practice non-existent for commercial robots. Something companies were required to secure since the 2030’s Robot-Act which followed the robot-empowered terrorist attack the year prior. Today, as a Calib, short for Calibrator, she trained and set up GR units in new environments. Often she found herself visiting handicapped homes due to the state-guaranteed and provided GR-support-units.

Sofía checked her smart-watch. Today’s GR needed to be calibrated for Juana, an elderly woman in her 80s who had broken an arm in a climbing accident. Sofía always took time to connect with the human the robot would support. Over tea she listened to Juana, her life story, and the many plants she loved and the special care they needed. 

Now, attuned to the specific needs for this household, the 2nd part of the work day began. After taking on sensory gloves and camera equipped headgear she was ready to go. She activated the CARE-unit and quickly tested the functionality of the pre-trained tasks, such as cleaning dishes, operating the vacuum, taking out the trash after a quick environment scan etc. 

Next came the vocal interface and basic support test: 

“Hey, Juana’s GR-unit, I find this room to be a bit chaotic. Could you please make suggestions about how we could tidy it up?” Sofía asked. 

“Certainly, I see that the cups could go either in the cupboard or the dishwasher, the books back into the shelf, and the 2 plants on the floor could be moved to create a more streamline walkable path. Shall I proceed?” the robot responded in one of the default pleasant voices. Sofia made a mental note to show Juana later how to change it. 

“Good. Leave the open book on the table as Juana is still reading it. Proceed with the rest.” “It is true that I have perhaps quite a lot of plants.” Juana laughed in response. 

Both watched as the robot gently but directly completed the tasks over the next few moments. Now it was time for the edge-cases and Sofía’s craft. She gave the starting ‘OBSERVE’ instructions and the GR unit started following her around, learning from her actions and verbal instructions. Sofía showcased how to take care of the plants, how to prune them and what preferences in terms of water and light or shadow they had. In fact, one of the two plants the robot moved earlier, was a fern who wanted a bit less direct light and had to be moved again. 

The final act of the day was teaching the robot the mutual cooking of a specific traditional dish Juana requested, “guiso de lentejas” (lentil stew). Sofía didn’t have to snap after including the last ingredient and thus include that movement in the calibration-run. But it was one of those human quirks she and her community members cherished. She guessed that, thanks to her, by now there were roughly 50 robots in the city who all snapped at the end after preparing a meal. 

Walking home she enjoyed the shade of the trees the city and the community planted a decade ago along the avenues, but it was still not quite enough to escape the heat from this summer’s day. Sofía wished to drink fresh water, and imagined how cool it would be having drinking fountains in the neighborhood. So she V.O.I.C.E.’d that preference through her smartwatch and people who wanted to be notified about smaller local infrastructure projects received a message. By the time she came home the first few hundred people polled made it clear that basically no one is opposed to having some public drinking fountains dispersed across the city and follow-up votes about the possible locations and designs emerged. 

After some rest she engaged with her extended family’s V.O.I.C.E. channel. Here, in comparison to the public platforms, the votes and chats were not anonymised. Still it was private and secure. Only verified invites. Which in this case meant her direct relatives and people who basically are family, such as neighbors and friendships lasting since elementary school. Sofía smiled at the shared videos from overseas and checked the conversations around their next family get-together.

Before putting her smart-devices away to go play some board games with the neighbors on their connected balcony she had a look at her Social Compass. A fun feature tracking your preferences and engagements with V.O.I.C.E. She laughed thinking about the simplicity of the political compass that was going around when she was younger. “We just had 2-axis! Can you believe it?” Sofía mused to herself. Nowadays the radiant display of values was a piece of art on it’s own.

This future value-compass indicates the thousands of preferences of a single human.

Timeline

2026: First Direct Democracy precedent

Taiwan had the first national poll via digital ID tokens on the future of AI tutors in the education system. Policy was directly decided via citizen poll results. A compromise was found in that state run schools needed at least 80% of teaching be done by humans.

Seeing the power behind these digital IDs attracted money and crime. ID black markets and bot swarms entered the scene and tried to break the open source technology. A digital war between verification processes and manipulation attempts emerged.

2030: Robot Act

After the robot empowered terrorist attacks that shocked the world in 2029 the Robot Act came into power, strictly regulating who is responsible for the acts of robots, how they can be updated, and what connections to the internet are allowed. Each task a robot can perform needs to be certified individually, making sure reasonable safe-guards are in place. A key part for limiting the risks of autonomous agents was a ban on indefinite context windows, preventing larger plans (or schemes) being executed without human intervention.

2032: Unification of digital Passports

A global standard for TOPs (Trust of Personhood) has been established. These tokens verify that the interaction comes from a real human and are highly secure. A decade of development with international support from OpenSource communities, universities and state funding came up with alternating verification processes that provided reliable security. These tokens allow people to actively participate in online polls run through the V.O.I.C.E. platform which is becoming a social media platform, a democracy polling tool, and regional as well as international connection tool.

2033: First Global Vote

In this year V.O.I.C.E. was utilized for the first time to poll the needs of everyone in the world. A huge effort in mapping billions of preferences. It was used to figure out basic needs and how the Sustainable Development Goals, with their related projects and investments, should be prioritized. It had a record 52% global participation rate.

2035: Universal Basic Compute

As an addendum to Human Rights the right for compute has entered the public debate. This is due to the critical nature of compute (for example via AI assistants) being crucial for partaking in modern society. Some nations have included it in their constitutions. Others have a majority of the digital services run on state funded servers and made free to the public.

2041: Social Safety Net

Most nations have adopted some form of social and financial safety net, for example Universal Basic Income. This level of prosperity is being achieved through 100s of million humanoid robots entering the work force, increasing global productivity.