Discussion:
Believeable/plausible galactic government...
(too old to reply)
Johnny1A
2018-02-19 04:33:09 UTC
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SF is full of interstellar states, up to and including some that include huge percentages of the galaxy, or all of it, such as the classic _Foundation_ series.

Now, obviously this only works if you have FTL travel (FTL communications other than travel are optional but very useful). But if you have fast enough FTL tech, there's no inherent reason why states couldn't come together across interstellar distances, just as current-day travel tech enables continent-wide or bigger states, at least in potential.

But, there are other issues with a galactic-scale state, such as complexity. Using Sagan's old figure of ~400 billion stars in the Milky Way, let us say for the sake of argument that one star in a thousand has a useful world that might be considered habitable for colonization. That leaves us with 400 million worlds.

(That's a conservative estimate, BTW because at high tech levels lots of different kinds of world could be useful for settlement. But assume 1/1000.)

Let us also say that our FTL tech is good enough that we can get from any point within the galactic disk to any other point within one Terran year, and it takes a Terran year to cross the disk from rim to rim. Just for illustration.

So if all 400 million worlds are part of the galactic union, how can they be plausibly governed? Representative democracy?You'd need an entire world just to house the legislature, if representation is no more than 1 to a world. If we subdivide the galaxy into smaller states of say 1000 worlds each, and each one gets 1 representative, that reduces our central legislature to a mere 400,000 members. Now all we need is a good-size city to house the legislature.

We could go old school, like Asimov, and posit an Emperor. The Emperor of the galaxy and his 400 million planetary dukes...

What SF writers have addressed this problem in a creative or halfway plausible way?

One is Lloyd Biggle, who wrote the Jan Darzek stories in the 1970s. He posits that the Milky Way is ruled by such a multi-world, multi-species state, and the practical governing is done by a planet-sized computer AI called Supreme. For practical purposes, Supreme is the galactic government, though there are bureaucratic organizations that serve it and a council that sort of supervises it. But in a society made up of millions upon millions of words and thousands of intelligent species, supervising it is kind of a hypothetical issue.

Anybody else?
Quadibloc
2018-02-19 05:06:25 UTC
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On Sunday, February 18, 2018 at 9:33:14 PM UTC-7, Johnny1A wrote:

> What SF writers have addressed this problem in a creative or halfway plausible way?

I know that in Profiles of the Future, Arthur C. Clarke _identified_ the problem,
that if one takes away the scale of the Universe, one is still left with its
complexity.

John Savard
m***@sky.com
2018-02-19 05:58:28 UTC
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On Monday, February 19, 2018 at 4:33:14 AM UTC, Johnny1A wrote:
> SF is full of interstellar states, up to and including some that include huge percentages of the galaxy, or all of it, such as the classic _Foundation_ series.
>
> Now, obviously this only works if you have FTL travel (FTL communications other than travel are optional but very useful). But if you have fast enough FTL tech, there's no inherent reason why states couldn't come together across interstellar distances, just as current-day travel tech enables continent-wide or bigger states, at least in potential.
>
> But, there are other issues with a galactic-scale state, such as complexity. Using Sagan's old figure of ~400 billion stars in the Milky Way, let us say for the sake of argument that one star in a thousand has a useful world that might be considered habitable for colonization. That leaves us with 400 million worlds.
>
> (That's a conservative estimate, BTW because at high tech levels lots of different kinds of world could be useful for settlement. But assume 1/1000.)
>
> Let us also say that our FTL tech is good enough that we can get from any point within the galactic disk to any other point within one Terran year, and it takes a Terran year to cross the disk from rim to rim. Just for illustration.
>
> So if all 400 million worlds are part of the galactic union, how can they be plausibly governed? Representative democracy?You'd need an entire world just to house the legislature, if representation is no more than 1 to a world. If we subdivide the galaxy into smaller states of say 1000 worlds each, and each one gets 1 representative, that reduces our central legislature to a mere 400,000 members. Now all we need is a good-size city to house the legislature.
>
> We could go old school, like Asimov, and posit an Emperor. The Emperor of the galaxy and his 400 million planetary dukes...
>
> What SF writers have addressed this problem in a creative or halfway plausible way?
>
> One is Lloyd Biggle, who wrote the Jan Darzek stories in the 1970s. He posits that the Milky Way is ruled by such a multi-world, multi-species state, and the practical governing is done by a planet-sized computer AI called Supreme. For practical purposes, Supreme is the galactic government, though there are bureaucratic organizations that serve it and a council that sort of supervises it. But in a society made up of millions upon millions of words and thousands of intelligent species, supervising it is kind of a hypothetical issue.
>
> Anybody else?

Interesting point - some thoughts:
1) Having an unexplored frontier is a lot of fun, and so is humanity struggling off earth and fighting for survival, so fully settled galaxies aren't that common in SF.
2) Even with only a fairly manageable number of settled worlds Drake's RCN series follows the precedent of Rome in having a single world rule all the others. To the extent that other worlds have any influence in policy at all, it comes from them having people on the central world (Cinnabar) to speak for them. Another well-known accommodation for transport problems is the time between the election of members of the electoral college in the US and the time when they meet to officially chose a President, to allow them to gather on horseback.
3) Hierarchies are actually pretty scalable, if you don't care about how deep they are. 400E6 < 2^29 so if one person can supervise 16 others, a nine deep hierarchy should work. Picking eclectically to get enough titles we have 1 Emperor 16 Augusti 256 Caesars 4,096 Princes 65,536 Satraps 1,048,576 Governors 16,777,216 Counts 268,435,456 Dukes and 4,294,967,296 Lords.

I think experience shows that people can only keep a small number of personalities in their head, so if this is some sort of democracy, you elect and Emperor and let them choose the rest. In fact, I'd like to elect a slightly non-standard triumvirate. One emperor, one deputy emperor, and a umpire. The emperor is pretty much all-powerful, except that the umpire has the ability to remove them in favor of the deputy emperor. This can survive the insanity of any single member. If the emperor goes bonkers, sack them. If the deputy emperor goes bonkers, do nothing. If the umpire goes bonkers the worst that can happen is that the deputy takes over when they don't need to.
Michael R N Dolbear
2018-02-19 22:05:46 UTC
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***@sky.com wrote in message
news:bd04b45c-d4cd-43e9-b455-***@googlegroups.com...

> in having a single world rule all the others. To the extent that other
> worlds have any influence in policy at all, it comes from them having
> people on the central world (Cinnabar) to speak for them. Another
> well-known accommodation for transport problems is the time between the
> election of members of the electoral college in the US and the time when
> they meet to officially chose a President, to allow them to gather on
> horseback.

Usual mistake here. The US electoral college never meets, rather the
electors go to their states' capital and their sealed votes are sent to the
federal capital.

--
Mike D
t***@gmail.com
2018-02-24 02:09:47 UTC
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On Sunday, February 18, 2018 at 9:58:33 PM UTC-8, Andrew McDowell wrote:
> On Monday, February 19, 2018 at 4:33:14 AM UTC, Johnny1A wrote:
> > SF is full of interstellar states, up to and including some that include huge percentages of the galaxy, or all of it, such as the classic _Foundation_ series.
> >
> > Now, obviously this only works if you have FTL travel (FTL communications other than travel are optional but very useful). But if you have fast enough FTL tech, there's no inherent reason why states couldn't come together across interstellar distances, just as current-day travel tech enables continent-wide or bigger states, at least in potential.
> >
> > But, there are other issues with a galactic-scale state, such as complexity. Using Sagan's old figure of ~400 billion stars in the Milky Way, let us say for the sake of argument that one star in a thousand has a useful world that might be considered habitable for colonization. That leaves us with 400 million worlds.
> >
> > (That's a conservative estimate, BTW because at high tech levels lots of different kinds of world could be useful for settlement. But assume 1/1000.)
> >
> > Let us also say that our FTL tech is good enough that we can get from any point within the galactic disk to any other point within one Terran year, and it takes a Terran year to cross the disk from rim to rim. Just for illustration.
> >
> > So if all 400 million worlds are part of the galactic union, how can they be plausibly governed? Representative democracy?You'd need an entire world just to house the legislature, if representation is no more than 1 to a world. If we subdivide the galaxy into smaller states of say 1000 worlds each, and each one gets 1 representative, that reduces our central legislature to a mere 400,000 members. Now all we need is a good-size city to house the legislature.
> >
> > We could go old school, like Asimov, and posit an Emperor. The Emperor of the galaxy and his 400 million planetary dukes...
> >
> > What SF writers have addressed this problem in a creative or halfway plausible way?
> >
> > One is Lloyd Biggle, who wrote the Jan Darzek stories in the 1970s. He posits that the Milky Way is ruled by such a multi-world, multi-species state, and the practical governing is done by a planet-sized computer AI called Supreme. For practical purposes, Supreme is the galactic government, though there are bureaucratic organizations that serve it and a council that sort of supervises it. But in a society made up of millions upon millions of words and thousands of intelligent species, supervising it is kind of a hypothetical issue.
> >
> > Anybody else?
>
> Interesting point - some thoughts:
> 1) Having an unexplored frontier is a lot of fun, and so is humanity struggling off earth and fighting for survival, so fully settled galaxies aren't that common in SF.
> 2) Even with only a fairly manageable number of settled worlds Drake's RCN series follows the precedent of Rome in having a single world rule all the others. To the extent that other worlds have any influence in policy at all, it comes from them having people on the central world (Cinnabar) to speak for them. Another well-known accommodation for transport problems is the time between the election of members of the electoral college in the US and the time when they meet to officially chose a President, to allow them to gather on horseback.
> 3) Hierarchies are actually pretty scalable, if you don't care about how deep they are. 400E6 < 2^29 so if one person can supervise 16 others, a nine deep hierarchy should work. Picking eclectically to get enough titles we have 1 Emperor 16 Augusti 256 Caesars 4,096 Princes 65,536 Satraps 1,048,576 Governors 16,777,216 Counts 268,435,456 Dukes and 4,294,967,296 Lords.
>
> I think experience shows that people can only keep a small number of personalities in their head, so if this is some sort of democracy, you elect and Emperor and let them choose the rest. In fact, I'd like to elect a slightly non-standard triumvirate. One emperor, one deputy emperor, and a umpire. The emperor is pretty much all-powerful, except that the umpire has the ability to remove them in favor of the deputy emperor. This can survive the insanity of any single member. If the emperor goes bonkers, sack them. If the deputy emperor goes bonkers, do nothing. If the umpire goes bonkers the worst that can happen is that the deputy takes over when they don't need to.

What if both Emperor and deputy blow their zaps, or all 3 go nuts?
m***@sky.com
2018-02-24 06:00:54 UTC
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On Saturday, February 24, 2018 at 2:09:54 AM UTC, ***@gmail.com wrote:
> On Sunday, February 18, 2018 at 9:58:33 PM UTC-8, Andrew McDowell wrote:
> > On Monday, February 19, 2018 at 4:33:14 AM UTC, Johnny1A wrote:
> > > SF is full of interstellar states, up to and including some that include huge percentages of the galaxy, or all of it, such as the classic _Foundation_ series.
> > >
> > > Now, obviously this only works if you have FTL travel (FTL communications other than travel are optional but very useful). But if you have fast enough FTL tech, there's no inherent reason why states couldn't come together across interstellar distances, just as current-day travel tech enables continent-wide or bigger states, at least in potential.
> > >
> > > But, there are other issues with a galactic-scale state, such as complexity. Using Sagan's old figure of ~400 billion stars in the Milky Way, let us say for the sake of argument that one star in a thousand has a useful world that might be considered habitable for colonization. That leaves us with 400 million worlds.
> > >
> > > (That's a conservative estimate, BTW because at high tech levels lots of different kinds of world could be useful for settlement. But assume 1/1000.)
> > >
> > > Let us also say that our FTL tech is good enough that we can get from any point within the galactic disk to any other point within one Terran year, and it takes a Terran year to cross the disk from rim to rim. Just for illustration.
> > >
> > > So if all 400 million worlds are part of the galactic union, how can they be plausibly governed? Representative democracy?You'd need an entire world just to house the legislature, if representation is no more than 1 to a world. If we subdivide the galaxy into smaller states of say 1000 worlds each, and each one gets 1 representative, that reduces our central legislature to a mere 400,000 members. Now all we need is a good-size city to house the legislature.
> > >
> > > We could go old school, like Asimov, and posit an Emperor. The Emperor of the galaxy and his 400 million planetary dukes...
> > >
> > > What SF writers have addressed this problem in a creative or halfway plausible way?
> > >
> > > One is Lloyd Biggle, who wrote the Jan Darzek stories in the 1970s. He posits that the Milky Way is ruled by such a multi-world, multi-species state, and the practical governing is done by a planet-sized computer AI called Supreme. For practical purposes, Supreme is the galactic government, though there are bureaucratic organizations that serve it and a council that sort of supervises it. But in a society made up of millions upon millions of words and thousands of intelligent species, supervising it is kind of a hypothetical issue.
> > >
> > > Anybody else?
> >
> > Interesting point - some thoughts:
> > 1) Having an unexplored frontier is a lot of fun, and so is humanity struggling off earth and fighting for survival, so fully settled galaxies aren't that common in SF.
> > 2) Even with only a fairly manageable number of settled worlds Drake's RCN series follows the precedent of Rome in having a single world rule all the others. To the extent that other worlds have any influence in policy at all, it comes from them having people on the central world (Cinnabar) to speak for them. Another well-known accommodation for transport problems is the time between the election of members of the electoral college in the US and the time when they meet to officially chose a President, to allow them to gather on horseback.
> > 3) Hierarchies are actually pretty scalable, if you don't care about how deep they are. 400E6 < 2^29 so if one person can supervise 16 others, a nine deep hierarchy should work. Picking eclectically to get enough titles we have 1 Emperor 16 Augusti 256 Caesars 4,096 Princes 65,536 Satraps 1,048,576 Governors 16,777,216 Counts 268,435,456 Dukes and 4,294,967,296 Lords.
> >
> > I think experience shows that people can only keep a small number of personalities in their head, so if this is some sort of democracy, you elect and Emperor and let them choose the rest. In fact, I'd like to elect a slightly non-standard triumvirate. One emperor, one deputy emperor, and a umpire. The emperor is pretty much all-powerful, except that the umpire has the ability to remove them in favor of the deputy emperor. This can survive the insanity of any single member. If the emperor goes bonkers, sack them. If the deputy emperor goes bonkers, do nothing. If the umpire goes bonkers the worst that can happen is that the deputy takes over when they don't need to.
>
> What if both Emperor and deputy blow their zaps, or all 3 go nuts?

Then you're stuffed. This is a scheme to cope with any single failure. If two out of three say B and the third says A a scheme can only go with B - it can't tell of its own that A is correct. If the vast majority of the people believe for years that the way to solve all of their problems is to stage a pointless civil war no organisation will stop it - constitutions will be ammended to allow it if necessary. But coping with any single failure while still allowing the sort of consistency and speed of decision making you get with one or a few people in command would be an advance on most of the forms of government people have historically lived with - in particular an advance on Roman Emperors in our time-line.
Greg Goss
2018-02-24 17:01:25 UTC
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***@sky.com wrote:

>On Saturday, February 24, 2018 at 2:09:54 AM UTC, ***@gmail.com wrote:
>> On Sunday, February 18, 2018 at 9:58:33 PM UTC-8, Andrew McDowell wrote:
>> > On Monday, February 19, 2018 at 4:33:14 AM UTC, Johnny1A wrote:
>> > > SF is full of interstellar states, up to and including some that include huge percentages of the galaxy, or all of it, such as the classic _Foundation_ series.
>> > >
>> > > Now, obviously this only works if you have FTL travel (FTL communications other than travel are optional but very useful). But if you have fast enough FTL tech, there's no inherent reason why states couldn't come together across interstellar distances, just as current-day travel tech enables continent-wide or bigger states, at least in potential.
>> > >
>> > > But, there are other issues with a galactic-scale state, such as complexity. Using Sagan's old figure of ~400 billion stars in the Milky Way, let us say for the sake of argument that one star in a thousand has a useful world that might be considered habitable for colonization. That leaves us with 400 million worlds.
>> > >
>> > > (That's a conservative estimate, BTW because at high tech levels lots of different kinds of world could be useful for settlement. But assume 1/1000.)
>> > >
>> > > Let us also say that our FTL tech is good enough that we can get from any point within the galactic disk to any other point within one Terran year, and it takes a Terran year to cross the disk from rim to rim. Just for illustration.
>> > >
>> > > So if all 400 million worlds are part of the galactic union, how can they be plausibly governed? Representative democracy?You'd need an entire world just to house the legislature, if representation is no more than 1 to a world. If we subdivide the galaxy into smaller states of say 1000 worlds each, and each one gets 1 representative, that reduces our central legislature to a mere 400,000 members. Now all we need is a good-size city to house the legislature.
>> > >
>> > > We could go old school, like Asimov, and posit an Emperor. The Emperor of the galaxy and his 400 million planetary dukes...
>> > >
>> > > What SF writers have addressed this problem in a creative or halfway plausible way?
>> > >
>> > > One is Lloyd Biggle, who wrote the Jan Darzek stories in the 1970s. He posits that the Milky Way is ruled by such a multi-world, multi-species state, and the practical governing is done by a planet-sized computer AI called Supreme. For practical purposes, Supreme is the galactic government, though there are bureaucratic organizations that serve it and a council that sort of supervises it. But in a society made up of millions upon millions of words and thousands of intelligent species, supervising it is kind of a hypothetical issue.
>> > >
>> > > Anybody else?
>> >
>> > Interesting point - some thoughts:
>> > 1) Having an unexplored frontier is a lot of fun, and so is humanity struggling off earth and fighting for survival, so fully settled galaxies aren't that common in SF.
>> > 2) Even with only a fairly manageable number of settled worlds Drake's RCN series follows the precedent of Rome in having a single world rule all the others. To the extent that other worlds have any influence in policy at all, it comes from them having people on the central world (Cinnabar) to speak for them. Another well-known accommodation for transport problems is the time between the election of members of the electoral college in the US and the time when they meet to officially chose a President, to allow them to gather on horseback.
>> > 3) Hierarchies are actually pretty scalable, if you don't care about how deep they are. 400E6 < 2^29 so if one person can supervise 16 others, a nine deep hierarchy should work. Picking eclectically to get enough titles we have 1 Emperor 16 Augusti 256 Caesars 4,096 Princes 65,536 Satraps 1,048,576 Governors 16,777,216 Counts 268,435,456 Dukes and 4,294,967,296 Lords.
>> >
>> > I think experience shows that people can only keep a small number of personalities in their head, so if this is some sort of democracy, you elect and Emperor and let them choose the rest. In fact, I'd like to elect a slightly non-standard triumvirate. One emperor, one deputy emperor, and a umpire. The emperor is pretty much all-powerful, except that the umpire has the ability to remove them in favor of the deputy emperor. This can survive the insanity of any single member. If the emperor goes bonkers, sack them. If the deputy emperor goes bonkers, do nothing. If the umpire goes bonkers the worst that can happen is that the deputy takes over when they don't need to.
>>
>> What if both Emperor and deputy blow their zaps, or all 3 go nuts?
>
>Then you're stuffed. This is a scheme to cope with any single failure. If two out of three say B and the third says A a scheme can only go with B - it can't tell of its own that A is correct. If the vast majority of the people believe for years that the way to solve all of their problems is to stage a pointless civil war no organisation will stop it - constitutions will be ammended to allow it if necessary. But coping with any single failure while still allowing the sort of consistency and speed of decision making you get with one or a few people in command would be an advance on most of the forms of government people have historically lived with - in particular an advance on Roman Emperors in our time-line.

Early computers ran on tubes. Thousands of tubes. Tubes fail. So
every logic switch was voted on. If all three didn't give the same
answer, the majority bit was passed on and a light activated on the
panel front for the tube changer with the shopping cart of tubes to
fix it.
--
We are geeks. Resistance is voltage over current.
m***@sky.com
2018-02-24 17:43:43 UTC
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On Saturday, February 24, 2018 at 5:01:42 PM UTC, Greg Goss wrote:
> ***@sky.com wrote:
>
> >On Saturday, February 24, 2018 at 2:09:54 AM UTC, ***@gmail.com wrote:
> >> On Sunday, February 18, 2018 at 9:58:33 PM UTC-8, Andrew McDowell wrote:
> >> > On Monday, February 19, 2018 at 4:33:14 AM UTC, Johnny1A wrote:
> >> > > SF is full of interstellar states, up to and including some that include huge percentages of the galaxy, or all of it, such as the classic _Foundation_ series.
> >> > >
> >> > > Now, obviously this only works if you have FTL travel (FTL communications other than travel are optional but very useful). But if you have fast enough FTL tech, there's no inherent reason why states couldn't come together across interstellar distances, just as current-day travel tech enables continent-wide or bigger states, at least in potential.
> >> > >
> >> > > But, there are other issues with a galactic-scale state, such as complexity. Using Sagan's old figure of ~400 billion stars in the Milky Way, let us say for the sake of argument that one star in a thousand has a useful world that might be considered habitable for colonization. That leaves us with 400 million worlds.
> >> > >
> >> > > (That's a conservative estimate, BTW because at high tech levels lots of different kinds of world could be useful for settlement. But assume 1/1000.)
> >> > >
> >> > > Let us also say that our FTL tech is good enough that we can get from any point within the galactic disk to any other point within one Terran year, and it takes a Terran year to cross the disk from rim to rim. Just for illustration.
> >> > >
> >> > > So if all 400 million worlds are part of the galactic union, how can they be plausibly governed? Representative democracy?You'd need an entire world just to house the legislature, if representation is no more than 1 to a world. If we subdivide the galaxy into smaller states of say 1000 worlds each, and each one gets 1 representative, that reduces our central legislature to a mere 400,000 members. Now all we need is a good-size city to house the legislature.
> >> > >
> >> > > We could go old school, like Asimov, and posit an Emperor. The Emperor of the galaxy and his 400 million planetary dukes...
> >> > >
> >> > > What SF writers have addressed this problem in a creative or halfway plausible way?
> >> > >
> >> > > One is Lloyd Biggle, who wrote the Jan Darzek stories in the 1970s. He posits that the Milky Way is ruled by such a multi-world, multi-species state, and the practical governing is done by a planet-sized computer AI called Supreme. For practical purposes, Supreme is the galactic government, though there are bureaucratic organizations that serve it and a council that sort of supervises it. But in a society made up of millions upon millions of words and thousands of intelligent species, supervising it is kind of a hypothetical issue.
> >> > >
> >> > > Anybody else?
> >> >
> >> > Interesting point - some thoughts:
> >> > 1) Having an unexplored frontier is a lot of fun, and so is humanity struggling off earth and fighting for survival, so fully settled galaxies aren't that common in SF.
> >> > 2) Even with only a fairly manageable number of settled worlds Drake's RCN series follows the precedent of Rome in having a single world rule all the others. To the extent that other worlds have any influence in policy at all, it comes from them having people on the central world (Cinnabar) to speak for them. Another well-known accommodation for transport problems is the time between the election of members of the electoral college in the US and the time when they meet to officially chose a President, to allow them to gather on horseback.
> >> > 3) Hierarchies are actually pretty scalable, if you don't care about how deep they are. 400E6 < 2^29 so if one person can supervise 16 others, a nine deep hierarchy should work. Picking eclectically to get enough titles we have 1 Emperor 16 Augusti 256 Caesars 4,096 Princes 65,536 Satraps 1,048,576 Governors 16,777,216 Counts 268,435,456 Dukes and 4,294,967,296 Lords.
> >> >
> >> > I think experience shows that people can only keep a small number of personalities in their head, so if this is some sort of democracy, you elect and Emperor and let them choose the rest. In fact, I'd like to elect a slightly non-standard triumvirate. One emperor, one deputy emperor, and a umpire. The emperor is pretty much all-powerful, except that the umpire has the ability to remove them in favor of the deputy emperor. This can survive the insanity of any single member. If the emperor goes bonkers, sack them. If the deputy emperor goes bonkers, do nothing. If the umpire goes bonkers the worst that can happen is that the deputy takes over when they don't need to.
> >>
> >> What if both Emperor and deputy blow their zaps, or all 3 go nuts?
> >
> >Then you're stuffed. This is a scheme to cope with any single failure. If two out of three say B and the third says A a scheme can only go with B - it can't tell of its own that A is correct. If the vast majority of the people believe for years that the way to solve all of their problems is to stage a pointless civil war no organisation will stop it - constitutions will be ammended to allow it if necessary. But coping with any single failure while still allowing the sort of consistency and speed of decision making you get with one or a few people in command would be an advance on most of the forms of government people have historically lived with - in particular an advance on Roman Emperors in our time-line.
>
> Early computers ran on tubes. Thousands of tubes. Tubes fail. So
> every logic switch was voted on. If all three didn't give the same
> answer, the majority bit was passed on and a light activated on the
> panel front for the tube changer with the shopping cart of tubes to
> fix it.
> --
> We are geeks. Resistance is voltage over current.

I believe Von Neumann proved that such a thing could be done, but I don't believe that all early computers used this design. In https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossus_computer see "the idea that the one to two thousand thermionic valves (vacuum tubes and thyratrons) proposed, could work together reliably, was greeted with great scepticism,[42] so more Robinsons were ordered from Dollis Hill. Flowers, however, knew from his pre-war work that most thermionic valve failures occurred as a result of the thermal stresses at power up, so not powering a machine down reduced failure rates to very low levels.[43] Additionally, the heaters were started at a low voltage then slowly brought up to full voltage to reduce the thermal stress. The valves themselves were soldered in to avoid problems with plug-in bases, which could be unreliable." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ENIAC doesn't suggest redundancy to me "Several tubes burned out almost every day, leaving ENIAC nonfunctional about half the time. Special high-reliability tubes were not available until 1948. Most of these failures, however, occurred during the warm-up and cool-down periods, when the tube heaters and cathodes were under the most thermal stress. Engineers reduced ENIAC's tube failures to the more acceptable rate of one tube every two days. According to a 1989 interview with Eckert, "We had a tube fail about every two days and we could locate the problem within 15 minutes."[22] In 1954, the longest continuous period of operation without a failure was 116 hours—close to five days."

(The actual source from which my design of Emperor/Deputy/Umpire is pinched is Oracle Data Guard Primary/Secondary/Observer as e.g. a web search finds in http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/articles/smiley-fsfo-084973.html)
Quadibloc
2018-02-24 20:43:09 UTC
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No, very few computers ran on majority vote logic. Some used in
space did this, but the voting was between whole computers or large modules.

Vacuum tube computers achieved reliability by running the tubes well
below the specified parameters for normal use. IBM manufactured its own
tubes so as to have more reliable ones.
Greg Goss
2018-02-19 08:14:21 UTC
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Johnny1A <***@gmail.com> wrote:

>SF is full of interstellar states, up to and including some that include huge percentages of the galaxy, or all of it, such as the classic _Foundation_ series.
>
>Now, obviously this only works if you have FTL travel (FTL communications other than travel are optional but very useful). But if you have fast enough FTL tech, there's no inherent reason why states couldn't come together across interstellar distances, just as current-day travel tech enables continent-wide or bigger states, at least in potential.
>
>But, there are other issues with a galactic-scale state, such as complexity. Using Sagan's old figure of ~400 billion stars in the Milky Way, let us say for the sake of argument that one star in a thousand has a useful world that might be considered habitable for colonization. That leaves us with 400 million worlds.
>
>(That's a conservative estimate, BTW because at high tech levels lots of different kinds of world could be useful for settlement. But assume 1/1000.)
>
>Let us also say that our FTL tech is good enough that we can get from any point within the galactic disk to any other point within one Terran year, and it takes a Terran year to cross the disk from rim to rim. Just for illustration.
>
>So if all 400 million worlds are part of the galactic union, how can they be plausibly governed? Representative democracy?You'd need an entire world just to house the legislature, if representation is no more than 1 to a world. If we subdivide the galaxy into smaller states of say 1000 worlds each, and each one gets 1 representative, that reduces our central legislature to a mere 400,000 members. Now all we need is a good-size city to house the legislature.
>
>We could go old school, like Asimov, and posit an Emperor. The Emperor of the galaxy and his 400 million planetary dukes...
>
>What SF writers have addressed this problem in a creative or halfway plausible way?
>
>One is Lloyd Biggle, who wrote the Jan Darzek stories in the 1970s. He posits that the Milky Way is ruled by such a multi-world, multi-species state, and the practical governing is done by a planet-sized computer AI called Supreme. For practical purposes, Supreme is the galactic government, though there are bureaucratic organizations that serve it and a council that sort of supervises it. But in a society made up of millions upon millions of words and thousands of intelligent species, supervising it is kind of a hypothetical issue.

In Weber's Honorverse, "The Solarian League" is about a thousand light
years across. The universe allows multiple shells of hyperspace (each
one smaller than the previous, and each successive one harder to enter
than the previous level. As a smaller universe, travel within
hyperspace is still relativistic, but you get there faster. The human
occupied space is threaded through with instant shortcuts that give
some worlds faster access to places than other worlds.

In the early books, the league was just a monstrosity in the
background, but in the later one it's obvious that Weber thinks it's
ungovernably large (and not just because of a stupid constitution).
It is likely to break apart into 50 or a hundred planet daughter
empires that will be more successful.


--
We are geeks. Resistance is voltage over current.
nuny@bid.nes
2018-02-19 08:27:28 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Sunday, February 18, 2018 at 8:33:14 PM UTC-8, Johnny1A wrote:
> SF is full of interstellar states, up to and including some that include
> huge percentages of the galaxy, or all of it, such as the classic
> _Foundation_ series.
>
> Now, obviously this only works if you have FTL travel (FTL communications
> other than travel are optional but very useful). But if you have fast
> enough FTL tech, there's no inherent reason why states couldn't come
> together across interstellar distances, just as current-day travel tech
> enables continent-wide or bigger states, at least in potential.

We had a continent-wide State long before modern jet travel was available- the USA. The political and economic feedback loops from one end to the other were a bit slower than today but they were there.

> But, there are other issues with a galactic-scale state, such as complexity.
> Using Sagan's old figure of ~400 billion stars in the Milky Way, let us say
> for the sake of argument that one star in a thousand has a useful world that
> might be considered habitable for colonization. That leaves us with 400
> million worlds.
>
> (That's a conservative estimate, BTW because at high tech levels lots of
> different kinds of world could be useful for settlement. But assume 1/1000.)
>
> Let us also say that our FTL tech is good enough that we can get from any
> point within the galactic disk to any other point within one Terran year,
> and it takes a Terran year to cross the disk from rim to rim. Just for
> illustration.
>
> So if all 400 million worlds are part of the galactic union, how can they be
> plausibly governed? Representative democracy?You'd need an entire world just
> to house the legislature, if representation is no more than 1 to a world. If
> we subdivide the galaxy into smaller states of say 1000 worlds each, and each
> one gets 1 representative, that reduces our central legislature to a mere
> 400,000 members. Now all we need is a good-size city to house the
> legislature.

How about the Fractal Federation? I don't remember seeing this in print- I think I just made it up. Each world is made up of individual nations with their own Federal governments, organized into a planet wide Federation of nations. Each system is a Federation of Worlds, each cluster a Federation of Systems, each Arm a Federation of clusters, the galaxy a Federation of Arms.

That way, the larger the scale, the fewer Representatives. Arms could be broken into Reaches or something to keep the number the same at all scales.


Mark L. Fergerson
Robert Carnegie
2018-02-19 09:50:05 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Monday, 19 February 2018 08:27:33 UTC, ***@bid.nes wrote:
> On Sunday, February 18, 2018 at 8:33:14 PM UTC-8, Johnny1A wrote:
> > SF is full of interstellar states, up to and including some that include
> > huge percentages of the galaxy, or all of it, such as the classic
> > _Foundation_ series.
> >
> > Now, obviously this only works if you have FTL travel (FTL communications
> > other than travel are optional but very useful). But if you have fast
> > enough FTL tech, there's no inherent reason why states couldn't come
> > together across interstellar distances, just as current-day travel tech
> > enables continent-wide or bigger states, at least in potential.
>
> We had a continent-wide State long before modern jet travel was available- the USA. The political and economic feedback loops from one end to the other were a bit slower than today but they were there.
>
> > But, there are other issues with a galactic-scale state, such as complexity.
> > Using Sagan's old figure of ~400 billion stars in the Milky Way, let us say
> > for the sake of argument that one star in a thousand has a useful world that
> > might be considered habitable for colonization. That leaves us with 400
> > million worlds.
> >
> > (That's a conservative estimate, BTW because at high tech levels lots of
> > different kinds of world could be useful for settlement. But assume 1/1000.)
> >
> > Let us also say that our FTL tech is good enough that we can get from any
> > point within the galactic disk to any other point within one Terran year,
> > and it takes a Terran year to cross the disk from rim to rim. Just for
> > illustration.
> >
> > So if all 400 million worlds are part of the galactic union, how can they be
> > plausibly governed? Representative democracy?You'd need an entire world just
> > to house the legislature, if representation is no more than 1 to a world. If
> > we subdivide the galaxy into smaller states of say 1000 worlds each, and each
> > one gets 1 representative, that reduces our central legislature to a mere
> > 400,000 members. Now all we need is a good-size city to house the
> > legislature.
>
> How about the Fractal Federation? I don't remember seeing this in print- I think I just made it up. Each world is made up of individual nations with their own Federal governments, organized into a planet wide Federation of nations. Each system is a Federation of Worlds, each cluster a Federation of Systems, each Arm a Federation of clusters, the galaxy a Federation of Arms.
>
> That way, the larger the scale, the fewer Representatives. Arms could be broken into Reaches or something to keep the number the same at all scales.
>
>
> Mark L. Fergerson

An alternative name is "The Subsidiarity". ;-) A modest cash
prize could be offered to the author who gets a substantial portrayal
thereof, under either name (and not otherwise egregiously satirical),
past editors into commercial dead-tree print - if it hasn't been
done already.
Robert Carnegie
2018-02-19 09:43:39 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Monday, 19 February 2018 04:33:14 UTC, Johnny1A wrote:
> SF is full of interstellar states, up to and including some that include huge percentages of the galaxy, or all of it, such as the classic _Foundation_ series.
>
> Now, obviously this only works if you have FTL travel (FTL communications other than travel are optional but very useful). But if you have fast enough FTL tech, there's no inherent reason why states couldn't come together across interstellar distances, just as current-day travel tech enables continent-wide or bigger states, at least in potential.
>
> But, there are other issues with a galactic-scale state, such as complexity. Using Sagan's old figure of ~400 billion stars in the Milky Way, let us say for the sake of argument that one star in a thousand has a useful world that might be considered habitable for colonization. That leaves us with 400 million worlds.
>
> (That's a conservative estimate, BTW because at high tech levels lots of different kinds of world could be useful for settlement. But assume 1/1000.)
>
> Let us also say that our FTL tech is good enough that we can get from any point within the galactic disk to any other point within one Terran year, and it takes a Terran year to cross the disk from rim to rim. Just for illustration.
>
> So if all 400 million worlds are part of the galactic union, how can they be plausibly governed? Representative democracy?You'd need an entire world just to house the legislature, if representation is no more than 1 to a world. If we subdivide the galaxy into smaller states of say 1000 worlds each, and each one gets 1 representative, that reduces our central legislature to a mere 400,000 members. Now all we need is a good-size city to house the legislature.
>
> We could go old school, like Asimov, and posit an Emperor. The Emperor of the galaxy and his 400 million planetary dukes...
>
> What SF writers have addressed this problem in a creative or halfway plausible way?
>
> One is Lloyd Biggle, who wrote the Jan Darzek stories in the 1970s. He posits that the Milky Way is ruled by such a multi-world, multi-species state, and the practical governing is done by a planet-sized computer AI called Supreme. For practical purposes, Supreme is the galactic government, though there are bureaucratic organizations that serve it and a council that sort of supervises it. But in a society made up of millions upon millions of words and thousands of intelligent species, supervising it is kind of a hypothetical issue.
>
> Anybody else?

I think you left out commercial tyranny, e.g. every planet
a "company town". In real life:
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_India_Company>
enslaved India.

If, that is, the computer Minds which will rule corporations
and therefore the world, choose to include any version of
human beings in their interstellar expansion, at all.
Not to mention the civil rights of aliens with a more
primitive culture. (If the aliens have a less primitive
culture, then they - or their computers and corporations -
will be rulers. Unless a plucky fighter pilot can fly a
nerd with a laptop inside the mothership without getting
assimilated first...)

If corporations control space travel then they also will
rule the destinations.

In Andre Norton's _Sargasso of Space_ and sequels, newly
discovered planet are auctioned between companies -
although Norton apparently has an un-commercial
space police force called The Patrol, too.

Doctor Who has had encounters with commercial imperial
exploitation by humans of other planets; in these cases
he does not necessarily take the humans' side.

Star Trek novel <http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Debtors%27_Planet>
which I keep going on about, features a Ferengi businessman
who uses his starship weapons and other superior technology
to conquer and enslave the planet in question, although
actually it's a bit more complicated.
David Johnston
2018-02-19 18:00:07 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On 2018-02-19 2:43 AM, Robert Carnegie wrote:
> On Monday, 19 February 2018 04:33:14 UTC, Johnny1A wrote:
>> SF is full of interstellar states, up to and including some that include huge percentages of the galaxy, or all of it, such as the classic _Foundation_ series.
>>
>> Now, obviously this only works if you have FTL travel (FTL communications other than travel are optional but very useful). But if you have fast enough FTL tech, there's no inherent reason why states couldn't come together across interstellar distances, just as current-day travel tech enables continent-wide or bigger states, at least in potential.
>>
>> But, there are other issues with a galactic-scale state, such as complexity. Using Sagan's old figure of ~400 billion stars in the Milky Way, let us say for the sake of argument that one star in a thousand has a useful world that might be considered habitable for colonization. That leaves us with 400 million worlds.
>>
>> (That's a conservative estimate, BTW because at high tech levels lots of different kinds of world could be useful for settlement. But assume 1/1000.)
>>
>> Let us also say that our FTL tech is good enough that we can get from any point within the galactic disk to any other point within one Terran year, and it takes a Terran year to cross the disk from rim to rim. Just for illustration.
>>
>> So if all 400 million worlds are part of the galactic union, how can they be plausibly governed? Representative democracy?You'd need an entire world just to house the legislature, if representation is no more than 1 to a world. If we subdivide the galaxy into smaller states of say 1000 worlds each, and each one gets 1 representative, that reduces our central legislature to a mere 400,000 members. Now all we need is a good-size city to house the legislature.
>>
>> We could go old school, like Asimov, and posit an Emperor. The Emperor of the galaxy and his 400 million planetary dukes...
>>
>> What SF writers have addressed this problem in a creative or halfway plausible way?
>>
>> One is Lloyd Biggle, who wrote the Jan Darzek stories in the 1970s. He posits that the Milky Way is ruled by such a multi-world, multi-species state, and the practical governing is done by a planet-sized computer AI called Supreme. For practical purposes, Supreme is the galactic government, though there are bureaucratic organizations that serve it and a council that sort of supervises it. But in a society made up of millions upon millions of words and thousands of intelligent species, supervising it is kind of a hypothetical issue.
>>
>> Anybody else?
>
> I think you left out commercial tyranny, e.g. every planet
> a "company town". In real life:
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_India_Company>
> enslaved India.
>
> If, that is, the computer Minds which will rule corporations
> and therefore the world, choose to include any version of
> human beings in their interstellar expansion, at all.
> Not to mention the civil rights of aliens with a more
> primitive culture. (If the aliens have a less primitive
> culture, then they - or their computers and corporations -
> will be rulers. Unless a plucky fighter pilot can fly a
> nerd with a laptop inside the mothership without getting
> assimilated first...)
>
> If corporations control space travel then they also will
> rule the destinations.
>
> In Andre Norton's _Sargasso of Space_ and sequels, newly
> discovered planet are auctioned between companies -
> although Norton apparently has an un-commercial
> space police force called The Patrol, too.

Note that this was a Hudson's Bay type of deal. It was the commercial
rights to the territory that were being auctioned. The Confederation
wasn't yielding its governmental rights to the uninhabited ones nor
officially putting the companies in charge of the local government of
the inhabited ones, although granting the large corporations monopolies
over interstellar trade with those worlds was a recipe for an
exploitative relationship. But then Andre Norton was no Gene
Roddenberry. Her governments were as evil as she needed them to be to
set problems for her often semi-criminal protagonists
Peter Trei
2018-02-19 14:00:38 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Sunday, February 18, 2018 at 11:33:14 PM UTC-5, Johnny1A wrote:
> SF is full of interstellar states, up to and including some that include huge percentages of the galaxy, or all of it, such as the classic _Foundation_ series.
>
> Now, obviously this only works if you have FTL travel (FTL communications other than travel are optional but very useful). But if you have fast enough FTL tech, there's no inherent reason why states couldn't come together across interstellar distances, just as current-day travel tech enables continent-wide or bigger states, at least in potential.
>
> But, there are other issues with a galactic-scale state, such as complexity. Using Sagan's old figure of ~400 billion stars in the Milky Way, let us say for the sake of argument that one star in a thousand has a useful world that might be considered habitable for colonization. That leaves us with 400 million worlds.
>
> (That's a conservative estimate, BTW because at high tech levels lots of different kinds of world could be useful for settlement. But assume 1/1000.)
>
> Let us also say that our FTL tech is good enough that we can get from any point within the galactic disk to any other point within one Terran year, and it takes a Terran year to cross the disk from rim to rim. Just for illustration.
>
> So if all 400 million worlds are part of the galactic union, how can they be plausibly governed? Representative democracy?You'd need an entire world just to house the legislature, if representation is no more than 1 to a world. If we subdivide the galaxy into smaller states of say 1000 worlds each, and each one gets 1 representative, that reduces our central legislature to a mere 400,000 members. Now all we need is a good-size city to house the legislature.
>
> We could go old school, like Asimov, and posit an Emperor. The Emperor of the galaxy and his 400 million planetary dukes...
>
> What SF writers have addressed this problem in a creative or halfway plausible way?
>
> One is Lloyd Biggle, who wrote the Jan Darzek stories in the 1970s. He posits that the Milky Way is ruled by such a multi-world, multi-species state, and the practical governing is done by a planet-sized computer AI called Supreme. For practical purposes, Supreme is the galactic government, though there are bureaucratic organizations that serve it and a council that sort of supervises it. But in a society made up of millions upon millions of words and thousands of intelligent species, supervising it is kind of a hypothetical issue.
>
> Anybody else?

At the time the UK colonized Australia, the one way trip took around 90 days.
So we have a working model that an Empire with (fairly autonomous) governors
can operate with a 180 day response time.

That doesn't address the complexity issue, or course.

pt
David Johnston
2018-02-19 17:49:41 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On 2018-02-18 9:33 PM, Johnny1A wrote:
> SF is full of interstellar states, up to and including some that include huge percentages of the galaxy, or all of it, such as the classic _Foundation_ series.
>
> Now, obviously this only works if you have FTL travel (FTL communications other than travel are optional but very useful). But if you have fast enough FTL tech, there's no inherent reason why states couldn't come together across interstellar distances, just as current-day travel tech enables continent-wide or bigger states, at least in potential.
>
> But, there are other issues with a galactic-scale state, such as complexity. Using Sagan's old figure of ~400 billion stars in the Milky Way, let us say for the sake of argument that one star in a thousand has a useful world that might be considered habitable for colonization. That leaves us with 400 million worlds.
>
> (That's a conservative estimate, BTW because at high tech levels lots of different kinds of world could be useful for settlement. But assume 1/1000.)
>
> Let us also say that our FTL tech is good enough that we can get from any point within the galactic disk to any other point within one Terran year, and it takes a Terran year to cross the disk from rim to rim. Just for illustration.
>
> So if all 400 million worlds are part of the galactic union, how can they be plausibly governed? Representative democracy?You'd need an entire world just to house the legislature, if representation is no more than 1 to a world. If we subdivide the galaxy into smaller states of say 1000 worlds each, and each one gets 1 representative, that reduces our central legislature to a mere 400,000 members. Now all we need is a good-size city to house the legislature.
>
> We could go old school, like Asimov, and posit an Emperor. The Emperor of the galaxy and his 400 million planetary dukes...
>
> What SF writers have addressed this problem in a creative or halfway plausible way?
>
> One is Lloyd Biggle, who wrote the Jan Darzek stories in the 1970s. He posits that the Milky Way is ruled by such a multi-world, multi-species state, and the practical governing is done by a planet-sized computer AI called Supreme. For practical purposes, Supreme is the galactic government, though there are bureaucratic organizations that serve it and a council that sort of supervises it. But in a society made up of millions upon millions of words and thousands of intelligent species, supervising it is kind of a hypothetical issue.
>
> Anybody else?
>

In the 1950s they had an interesting approach in several different
series that has fallen by the wayside where there is no interstellar
government as such, but they have treaty organizations like the
ubiquitous Patrol, and the "Medical Service".
Lynn McGuire
2018-02-20 02:07:56 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On 2/18/2018 10:33 PM, Johnny1A wrote:
> SF is full of interstellar states, up to and including some that include huge percentages of the galaxy, or all of it, such as the classic _Foundation_ series.
>
> Now, obviously this only works if you have FTL travel (FTL communications other than travel are optional but very useful). But if you have fast enough FTL tech, there's no inherent reason why states couldn't come together across interstellar distances, just as current-day travel tech enables continent-wide or bigger states, at least in potential.
>
> But, there are other issues with a galactic-scale state, such as complexity. Using Sagan's old figure of ~400 billion stars in the Milky Way, let us say for the sake of argument that one star in a thousand has a useful world that might be considered habitable for colonization. That leaves us with 400 million worlds.
>
> (That's a conservative estimate, BTW because at high tech levels lots of different kinds of world could be useful for settlement. But assume 1/1000.)
>
> Let us also say that our FTL tech is good enough that we can get from any point within the galactic disk to any other point within one Terran year, and it takes a Terran year to cross the disk from rim to rim. Just for illustration.
>
> So if all 400 million worlds are part of the galactic union, how can they be plausibly governed? Representative democracy?You'd need an entire world just to house the legislature, if representation is no more than 1 to a world. If we subdivide the galaxy into smaller states of say 1000 worlds each, and each one gets 1 representative, that reduces our central legislature to a mere 400,000 members. Now all we need is a good-size city to house the legislature.
>
> We could go old school, like Asimov, and posit an Emperor. The Emperor of the galaxy and his 400 million planetary dukes...
>
> What SF writers have addressed this problem in a creative or halfway plausible way?
>
> One is Lloyd Biggle, who wrote the Jan Darzek stories in the 1970s. He posits that the Milky Way is ruled by such a multi-world, multi-species state, and the practical governing is done by a planet-sized computer AI called Supreme. For practical purposes, Supreme is the galactic government, though there are bureaucratic organizations that serve it and a council that sort of supervises it. But in a society made up of millions upon millions of words and thousands of intelligent species, supervising it is kind of a hypothetical issue.
>
> Anybody else?

David Weber in his amazing Dahak series. He has both an Imperium
stretching across the galaxy and an AI controlled society in the
Dahakverse. One is a mild aristocratic utopia, the other is a dark
existence where only one gender is allowed to live to serve the AI masters.
https://www.amazon.com/Mutineers-Moon-Dahak-David-Weber/dp/0671720856/

Lynn
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