Thursday, March 1, 2012

P = NP: An Apocalypse.

Historians and data archaeologists studying the period immediately preceding the discovery of P = NP are in general agreement that the people of the 20th and early 21st centuries did not equate the hypothetical unification of P and NP with their civilization's collapse.

Civilizational collapse was a topic of discussion in both academic and popular arenas at the time, but was usually relegated to discussions of fossil fuel dependency, nuclear proliferation, and global environmental change. The problem of P and NP was understood as an important computational question, and even known to posses ramifications for cryptography, but was not generally regarded as having the potential to delegitimize all world governments, effect massive apostasy from all world religions, and restructure popular expectations and social mores regarding the universal human tendency towards prevarication.

In the immediate wake of the events of December 6th, 2012, Self and Locke were awarded a $1,000,000 prize by the Clay Mathematics Institute, which had deliberately sought to incentivize work on the P/NP problem. The result was seen as an advance in mathematics and computer science, and was believed at the time to promise societal advance.

The potential for societal collapse was not understood, even by the academic establishment, until the events of Revelation Saturday, two days later.

When global digital transparency was effected at the behest of elements of the "hacktivist" group Anonymous on December 8th, the perpetrators of the act believed that the infiltration of all internet accounts and the leaking of all private information would primarily affect the more oppressive ruling regimes of the pre-Revelation world's governments. However, as virtually all human electronic correspondence became publicly accessible, it soon became apparent that a panoply of impacts had not been considered.  When in the following week divorce filings were made by over half of all married couples, Anonymous pronounced its apologies and regrets. When the following mass disbarment of lawyers effectively destroyed the global legal apparatus required to prosecute members of Anonymous, render divorces, and carry out justice within a codified, legal framework, the societal implications of the mathematical breakthrough became better understood.

Popular opinion quickly coalesced around an amorphous opposition to the reestablishment of pre-Revelation legal and judicial systems, as virtually all legal and political institutions had been undermined and delegitimized by their internal data and correspondences. The parallel collapse of religious institutions was at first widely recognized on Sunday December 9th.

The causes and effects of the collapse pre-Revelation civilization are well understood, and a matter of large consensus among present-day theorists and historians.

There remain, however, open questions regarding how pre-Revelation civilization initially came about. Principally, it is not understood how the vast majority of humans came to give credence to their institutions while at the same time understanding first-hand their own human inclinations towards deception.

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1 comment:

  1. " is not understood how the vast majority of humans came to give credence to their institutions while at the same time understanding first-hand their own human inclinations towards deception."

    I live now and I don't understand. At all. But I did like your oblique approach to the question.