New World Matrix

The three main elements that make up the world matrix have come into ever accelerating motion. Technologies – that is, what we use to manage the world and ourselves – are changing. The environment in which we are immersed and without which we cannot survive is also changing. We ourselves are changing: not only as individuals, but also as a system of various communities: from states to almost informal associations.

We live in an extremely confusing world. In a certain sense, the numerous conflicts that we witness, and often participate in, occur as a result of people’s inability to cope with complexity and intricacy, their inability to regulate the extremely developed interdependence of all elements of the modern world.

If you look at the debates that are raging today, then, of course, in first place is the discussion of the problems of acute conflicts, some of which, unfortunately, have reached the point of large-scale bloodshed; there is the related issue of the common security architecture necessary for the modern world. However, at the same time, it is obvious that conflicts and security are viewed in the context of many other topics, each of them most directly affecting both the course of conflicts and the possibility of creating a consistent security system.

First of all, such topics include technologies that radically change the capabilities of mankind in all spheres of activity: from healthcare to military affairs, from education to the creation of new types of cities; in general, they cover all human life. The problem is not so much that, for example, so-called “artificial intelligence” can be and already is used during combat operations or for compiling dissertations, but rather that various technologies create new dimensions to what could be called the world matrix. The development of the information and communication sphere has already led to the number of subjects of communication interaction reaching hundreds of millions, if not billions. An ordinary blogger, a simple social media activist, can deliver his point of view as well as his perception of the facts, or what he considers to be the facts, to almost any person on Earth. All communication processes are fundamentally cross-border, and there is no trace of any meaningful regulation of these processes. However, the new information and communication environment in which we live influences the political, economic, and others decisions being made, both in individual countries and in the world as a whole. It is not known exactly who controls this information and communication environment and how. Of course, there are influential media and bloggers, there are large corporations, and there are authorities at various levels, but there is no clear management, as it seems. There are, of course, opportunities to influence individual groups of people in one way or another, to cause discord in relations between them or, conversely, to smooth out contradictions, but there is no meaningful recipe for managing people through the use of new information and communication technologies. Moreover, there is a feeling that the chaotic and intensely competitive struggle in the new environment will only increase; that is, the hypothetical destructiveness will intensify. Elections at all levels, international relations, private life along with human rights, basic democratic institutions and much more are now under threat. The topic is really vast and concerns literally all aspects of life.

Man does not live by technology alone. People are still people, no matter how difficult it may be; they need somewhere to live and something to eat. So far, no technology can eliminate hunger or somehow cleverly change the human metabolism so that you can easily eat tree bark or turn stones into bread.

At the same time, particularly due to the aforementioned technologies, the world is increasingly dependent on humans.

Many animals now exist only thanks to humans. To be fair, human morals have softened recently. Before this, people killed more animals than they saved. Now, however, we’re not talking about that, but about the growing dependence of nature on humans. Sometimes this is called the climate problem or, more norrowly, the problem of global warming. I cannot claim that this problem does not exist. I am not ready to discuss the reasons for rising temperatures; there may be more than one. Our scientific knowledge is always limited and subject to doubt; this is the nature of science. However, the problem of the relationship between nature and man will not go away. It was there before, but now it plays a critical role. Take fresh water supplies, for example: it is obvious that this is an important conflict-generating factor. In Africa, we see a relative increase in conflicts of varying degrees of intensity. Much of this seems to be due to changes in both nature and lifestyles, and, more importantly, to changes in the relationship between nature, the environment and lifestyles, the type of people employed and the like.

In general, the way we interact with the world, that is, technology, is radically changing. The world as such is changing quickly, and largely as a result of the activities of man himself. Finally, man himself and the communities that he creates are changing.

This is the third important circumstance. I, of course, do not presume to say that humans will soon grow tails or have a third eye, although some experts argue that the symbiosis of man and machine, or computer, is inevitable. There is no doubt that Chat GPT and similar software have already had a serious impact; in the future they will have an even greater impact on people’s work and lives. However, something else is even more important.

In general, during the course of history, human emancipation has occurred. Overall, humanity has become freer and more powerful: in movement, in communication, in creativity, in creating comfortable housing or living environment.

Of course, this process, is not linear, but more or less noticeable. In the context of a global world created by the aforementioned technology, this leads to changes in human socio-political behaviour. Many note the rise of what is called the Global South; they talk about the destruction of the world hierarchy and the emergence of a new world order. Apparently, this is true. This means that societies in general, and their elites in particular, are evolving. They set new goals for themselves, intend to follow their own path and strive to take a place in a world that they themselves consider worthy. That is, a new world in which the role of the countries of the Global South is systematically growing, becoming more diverse and competitive, and looking for a system of interaction that could, with growing interdependence, play the role of an adequate and effective regulator.

In general, all three main elements that make up the world matrix have come into ever accelerating motion. Technologies – that is, what we use to manage the world and ourselves – are changing. The environment in which we are immersed and without which we cannot survive is also changing. We ourselves are changing: not only as individuals, but also as a system of various communities: from states to almost informal associations.

All this is happening against the backdrop of the very real emergence of a new world order. Naturally, this order isn’t emerging on its own. It is created by people. In order for this new world order to be truly better than the previous one — and what we see today is clear evidence that it is not good — we need a bold and truly creative approach. I understand that this sounds, frankly, naive. But, alas, what to do! In order for the world to become a better place, it is necessary that responsible elites take on this responsibility. This requires enormous courage and intelligence, tolerance and firmness; in general, the best human qualities. You won’t be able to do without this. But it won’t work without and a creative approach. A new world order needs to be invented, a new world needs to be constructed. To accept this design and to understand how it can be created, that is the path to it.

Of course, we can rely on artificial intelligence, on the fact that it will somehow figure out what we need, take everything into account and build an appropriate model. However, for some reason it seems to me that only people can set the appropriate task.

If this is not done, then it will be difficult for us to extricate ourselves from a series of conflicts, the escalation of which threatens humanity, if not with complete destruction, then with serious degradation.

Splendid Diversity
Andrey Bystritskiy
Any polycentric system entailing the coexistence of various forces (states, corporations, religious associations, trade unions and so on) is fraught with additional conflicts. But it is precisely the latter circumstance, coupled with global problems of social development, that is pushing countries to accelerate the search for cooperation and the establishment of better regulation mechanisms, writes Valdai Club Chairman Andrey Bystritskiy.
Message from the Chairman