“TODAY, THE LAWS THAT GOVERN SOCIETY are not based on truly comprehensive and scientific studies. They are based on opinions and traditional practices. For example, our approach to dealing with an increase in crime is to build more prisons, rather than alter the conditions responsible for socially offensive behavior in the first place. At one point, a discussion with criminologists pointed out that if our crime rate had continued at its current level, more than half the U.S. population would be in prison by the year 2010 and the other half may well have to guard them. Of course, today, the definition of a criminal is ‘one who gets caught’, and we’re seeing more and more crime being committed at the supposed highest levels of society, including bankers, politicians and even clergy. Rather than depend on a failed system of punishment or incarceration after the damage has been done, a more effective approach to solving our problems would be to shift our attention to the scourges of poverty, malnutrition, poor role models, violence in the media, and stresses in family life. We need to make an effort to teach people how to resolve conflict without the use of physical force.
“The discovery of scientific principles enables us to validate and test many proposals … In the new social design outlined in _The Best That Money Can’t Buy_, scientific and analytical principles can be applied, not only to industry and construction, but also to the personal and human components of society. This may lead to the allocation and application of more scientific resources to the study of human behavior.
“Today, we have a decentralized system of decision-making, and decision-makers are seldom aware of problems in regions outside their immediate vicinity. Those in sub-tropical Florida have difficulty understanding water rights in Arizona. A Berber of Morocco would be challenged if asked to design a health plan that matched the life styles of people in Norway. Each of us must participate, and we need verifiable and current information in order to draw up plans.
“When computers have their electrical sensors extended into all areas of the social complex, we will be able to return to successful centralized decision-making. In a global Resource-Based Economy, decisions would not be based on local politics, but on a holistic problem solving approach. Earth and the life on it must be seen as constituting a single system.
“This centralized whole system could be connected to research labs and universities, so that all data is monitored and updated constantly. Most of the technology to allow such infrastructure management is currently available. For example, when electrical sensors are extended into the agricultural region, computerized systems could manage and control the agricultural requirements, by monitoring the water table, insects, plant diseases, soil nutrients, and so forth.
“Computers and artificial intelligence will be a catalyst for change. They will establish scientific scales of performance. It is doubtful that, in the latter part of the twenty-first century, people will play any significant role in decision-making. Eventually, the installation of AI and machine decision-making will manage all resources and serve the common good.”