Not a post about chess, but chess will do as an introduction. According to this video, no human chess player has beaten a high level chess computer since 2005 under normal chess tournament conditions.
Suppose we take this achievement and use it to indulge in some idle speculation. As it is now 14 years since that last human victory we recall how much cheaper and powerful computers are today. Add that to all the research into artificial intelligence, how likely is it that governments are developing information systems broadly aimed at understanding human behaviour in minute detail?
Crime by area and by street, traffic movements, housing density, house types, house building, road building, industrial development, industrial decline, employment, unemployment, income, welfare, spending patterns, car ownership, population density, drug use, dereliction, gentrification, ethnic mixes, religious adherence, schooling, health services, dentistry, mental welfare, alcohol consumption, tobacco consumption, calorie consumption, animal fat consumption, electricity usage, gas usage, recycling patterns and so on and so on.
It would not be an economic model but more like a gigantic and vastly complex chess computer. In other words it may eventually be possible for governments to play the political game by owning machines which know in enormous detail what is going on.
Rather like chess computers they would evaluate billions of possible scenarios in order to come up with a favourable move. Favourable to whom? Favourable to the machine owners of course. A policy tweak, a modified regulation, a funding shift, a tax change, a press release, a conference or merely a working lunch to discuss a new policy initiative. A policy initiative suggested by the machine of course.
This would be a form of indirect control rather than the draconian social credit system China seems to be introducing. Because it is indirect it would not be easy to criticise because we all want things to work as well as they can don’t we?