Checks and Balances

Day 339 Week 49 Q4 Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Checks and balances can be a tricky business for creative outliers. When you are doing new things, it can be difficult for external perspectives to be relevant and valid. People who are gifted are not necessarily happy because they are necessarily excluded. Exceptionalism does lead to exclusion more often than to adoration and acceptance.

So, when that brilliant CEO declares themselves to be the chairman of the board, thereby wiping out all of the checks and balances of the corporate structure, it is understandable, even though it is not a good thing. In the past, democracy created checks and balances to prevent autocracy and capitalism, and its highest form, the corporation, created boards of directors for the same reason.

Exceptional individuals are quite capable of running amok. It is hard to draw the line between spearheading a new initiative and inventing a new field. A new initiative does not necessarily have to have traction, but a new field does.

We have the same need for checks and balances that we always have had. And checks and balances can’t get in the way of progress, or at least slow it down to try to make sure that it will be useful and positive.

Right now, Society is wrestling with the concepts of artificial intelligence and its future ramifications. We clearly do not entirely understand it, even though we created it.  It is clearly powerful, and we are not entirely sure why or how powerful it is.  This is not a reason to fear; it is a reason to use checks and balances.

To imagine that we could legislate control over an open-source phenomenon is absurd. First of all the legislators do not understand the issues, and they cannot because the inventors do not entirely understand the issues either. Second of all, open source, by definition, is not controllable. In fact, that is exactly the reason to have open source in the first place, so that it is not controlled or closed but open to everyone.

Do open systems outperform closed systems? There is a reason why Apple Computer is much more successful than any other computer company. It is closed, not open. Systems integration can never be optimal. If you don’t even understand all the parts, are trying to integrate, and have no control over them.

Close Systems do inherently have checks and balances. Open systems can, but it is more complicated.  The larger issue is how centralized is decision making? How centralized should decision making be? Autocracy can be more efficient than democracy, but by condensing decision-making into a small number of individuals, we wipe out the ability of humanity to adapt by being creative and individualistic.

The only way that humanity is going to solve its problems and prevail over its stupidity is through the checks and balances of decentralized decision-making. It may not be as quick or as clean, but it is far more honest and, in the long run, our chief survival strategy..humanity.

We need democracy and the checks and balances that come along with it in order to not accidentally destroy ourselves.