The Cryptarchy

Newsflash: blockchain was invented by slugs on Vega Prime (officially known to humans as Tau Ceti h.) These creatures adapted to the arid planet by building massive mucus domes. Instinctively or, perhaps in Darwinian fashion, they realized that a government based on mistrust was the only way to ensure that no slug was left behind.

The following account is inspired by the efficient hive-mind of the Vegan Dome Builders.

Despite dire warnings to the contrary, the country did not collapse. It did, however, cease to exist in any format that would have been recognizable to a visitor from the late 20th century. Capitalism, Democracy and Federalism gave way to Googleism, which some wags likened to mental hooliganism.

The change began innocently enough. Information overload reached a critical mass required for the unimpeded adoption of computer-generated decision-making. Based on GPT-3, drone language constructors propagated mindless, soulless consensus echo chambers, which seeped into social media, daytime television and corporate offices. 

Freed from thinking, consumers, show hosts and C-suite executives defaulted to a mode of communication that can--at best--be categorized as a digital pastiche. Naturally, such commoditized transactions demanded no more attention to detail than one might give to a mild itch. Muscle memory responses, in turn, gave way to automated versions of themselves.

As more of the population settled into the comforting ebb and flow of rubber-stamped babble, critical thinking was ceded to computer chips. Unlike Matthew Broderick's character in War Games, nobody in the country attempted to rein in this emergent intelligence. For one thing, it was decentralized. For another, it didn't threaten human life. On the contrary, the drones made life simpler. No supply shortages, no delays between seasons of exciting new shows and, most importantly, no bad news.

"News" evolved into a litany of recommendations and 90 per cent of the choices were auto-selected by the drones. Over time, every decision that used to be derived after extended deliberation was resolved in seconds. This massive boost in efficiency crept into the hallowed halls of government. Votes were automatically tallied and validated. Would-be hackers were too slow to interfere with the transactional journals. At any rate, nobody was remotely aware of the issues on the floor.

One of those issues was the dissolution of the Constitution. The constructed consensus held that the document's shelf life had expired, much as had its predecessor, the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. Legislators blissfully passed the bill into law and subsequently became the first governing body to unanimously fire itself.