Just like the author of this article, Neal Stephenson’s “The Diamond Age” has been a big influence on my vision of the future, as was Stephenson’s earlier novel, “Snow Crash” and the works of William S. Gibson.
And also like the author, I agree 100% that we are entering another huge shift in our government, society and culture. The previous shifts have been:
- The Agricultural Revolution: Efficient farms meant the king could tax his subjects and expand his kingdom. Other kings felt the same. Wars ensued.
- The Printing Press: Information and moral guidance was no longer the exclusive domain of a few monks copying scrolls. The Reformation happened. Wars ensued
- The Industrial Revolution: Smarter workers were needed to work in the factories, workers who then began to question the need for bosses. Wars ensued.
The current shift we’re in is the Information Revolution, where the smartphone and wireless web means increased empowerment for the individual vs. the government. However, unlike the author, I’m not certain that the technology shift he describes (nanotechnology) is important to the final outcome. Rather, it’s the concept of the nation-state breaking down into smaller tribes (or “phyles), and the ability to instantly connect to those phyles across the borders of a nation-state that matter most, and that’s facilitated by the web and smartphones.
I’m unique in that I work for a company which pretty much demands a certain moral attitude (namely adherence to the Second Amendment), so it is, in itself, a kind of tribe. I’m not sure the same commonality of root-level worldviews exists in, say, GM, and I’m certain it doesn’t exist in the .gov. Unlike a (un)healthy percentage of Americans, I have another group, my church, which also has moral unity and crosses the borders of a nation state. In addition to this, I belong to various groups on social media with people all over the world who share my core values. I have to be honest: the idea of being loyal to my country over all those other groups isn’t really on the forefront of my brain right now, and I’m certain that others share that belief.