|Intelligent Systems And Their Societies||Walter Fritz|
How important is our society to us? Is it just something nice to have? Could we even do without it? Let's think about what proportion of the quality of life of a person depends on his own efforts and what part is due to his belonging to a society. At first sight it seems that nearly all is due to his own efforts. But if we imagine how we would live without the knowledge and the material things accumulated by the society in which we live, we would realize that we would live without electricity and water, because we have not invented the generation and use of electricity nor build water works. Previous members of our society have done this. There would be no tools, machines, and no books. All this has been created by previous generations; not by ourselves. We could not even make tools, for instance a pair of pliers; there would be no iron (released from the ore), nor tools or machines to work the iron with.
Probably the greatest advantage for the IS, member of a society is having access to its accumulated knowledge. Since the life span of a society is so much greater than the life span of an individual IS, this accumulation is considerable.
Another advantage is the possibility of cooperation, the division of labor. Each member learns only part of the accumulated knowledge. So he (or she) has to learn during less time and so can be productive for a greater portion of his life span. He works using the part of the total existing knowledge he has learned, and supplies the other members with the results of his work. The society facilitates this exchange by standardizing measures of time, weight, length, and so on, and issuing money. This allows each member to reach its objectives much easier than without a society; it permits to have a better standard of living. For instance most of us do not have the knowledge of an architect or the machines of a construction company. So we let them build our house instead of building it ourselves. Finally, within a society, by cooperation, the common defense is much easier. The society is very much stronger than individual members.
We see, that it is of fundamental importance for human beings to belong to a society. Without our society we would be reduced to living like wild animals.
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