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The Age Of Automated Autocracy (and how to defend against it)

In the past, autocracies needed to employ a lot of people to gather intelligence on potential dissidents.

This meant that running an autocracy was difficult, as there was a higher chance of successful revolt if the autocrat did not have enough people on their side.

In the age of automation, things have changed

Autocrats can now use cameras and listening devices to monitor citizens, and this monitoring can be done by AI, which reduces the need for human labor and brings results faster1.

Furthermore, since most payments are now done digitally, it is easier for autocrats to freeze the assets of dissidents and subdue them to stop resistance. If someone has financial troubles, they are more focused on finding food rather than resisting the government.

With automation, assets can be frozen in seconds, without any human intervention, as soon as someone does something the government does not like.

How to resist

This paints a bleak picture of the future, but there are ways to resist automated autocracies. The key is to have wealth stored in censorship-resistant assets, such as cryptocurrencies, which are under the control of no one and cannot be frozen by autocrats.

In addition to this, it is important to have communication channels, such as chats, on decentralized systems. Web3 Social provides platforms that cannot be taken down, and end-to-end encryption (E2EE) helps ensure that communication can be private when needed.

Zero-knowledge technology and ZK proofs also play a role in resisting automated autocracies by allowing us to prove certain facts about ourselves without revealing too much personal information.

Start building now

Overall, these tools can help humanity resist the danger of automated autocracies. However, it is important to start building and using this technology even in liberal democracies, as you never know when a dictator may seize power.

After all, many dictators were initially elected democratically.

  1. These systems are used not only by autocrats, but also by democracies as explained by Yuval Noah Harari in his interview with Lex Fridman. ↩︎