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White Mirror, S1E3
Submitted by Twitter user @alexant08
The global economy has been reshaped by Aethica, an artificially intelligent cryptocurrency that allows producers to benefit from all downstream externalities of their products & transactions.
Companies are directly penalized for negative externalities (for instance, pollution and negative health impacts of tobacco or soda), and directly rewarded for positive externalities (for instance, community building that creates more long-term value in a given region).
The result is a system which encourages ethical, thoughtful, long-term decision-making over quick, short-term gains.
It's in everyone’s best interest to work primarily on quality-of-life and sustainability problems, especially in the developing world, rather than on more marginal increases in well-being in the developed world.
Large-scale problems like hunger, health, education, sustainable energy, and infrastructure become the sites of a series of new gold rushes.
Those who get in early and can make the largest impact will be reaping the compounding benefits for centuries to come.
And since some people are outlining stories about their concepts, I might as well join in too...
Our episode follows Moses, an ambitious pioneer of sustainable energy infrastructure in the developing world, as he builds an empire of wealth from nothing, improving the lives of millions.
However, in the process, his personal life decays as he becomes increasingly obsessed with status and respect. He's constantly comparing himself to others, lashing out at strangers and people far below him.
At a charity gala, when he doesn't get the recognition he feels he deserves for his contributions, he gets into a fist fight with the unsuspecting announcer. He's promptly removed from his own company.
After a few nights of drinking and erratic behavior blowing through what's left of his reputation, Moses gathers his composure and hatches a scheme for revenge.
He steals the untested plans for a reactor from his old company, launching a rival business with new investors, convincing investors that he's solved fusion power.
While his team is brilliant, they are also inexperienced. Moses sets unrealistic goals, encouraging his team to cut corners in every part of the process. He wants to win, and he wants to win fast.
Just as Moses begins to get the recognition he knows he deserves, a prototype reactor test goes horribly wrong, jeopardizing countless lives.
Because of the disorganization, Moses is the only one with a full picture of the system's operation, putting him at a critical junction: Shut off the test himself, sacrificing his life (and worse, his pride), or double down on his selfishness, letting others perish.
"Isn't the point of it all to make things better?" He realizes. "Isn't that why I got as far as I did? Because I helped people. Because I made a real difference.”
In perhaps the only moment of real virtue in Moses's life, he shuts down the test, saving thousands.
Epilogue: Moses is not remembered as a good man--only for his mistakes, pettiness, and recklessness in the end. The wealth which he built from nothing vanished --back to nothing--in the blink of an eye.