|Captain Birds Eye and his fish sticks. He is a reassuring, fatherly, positive presence. Why don't we elect him as president? The advantage is that he can't be assassinated since he doesn't exist.|
Long ago, leaders used to fight on the frontline with their troops. Everything changed with the invention of firearms, when they discovered that they were magnets for enemy fire and they had to distance themselves from the frontline. Napoleon used to stay at a safe distance from the battle, although close enough that he could see what was going on. More than a century later, during WW2, Adolf Hitler spent most of his time secluded in his bunker in Berlin. In 2003, Saddam Hussein barely managed to survive the American bombing by moving frequently and hiding in bunkers.
But the life of the leaders is dangerous also in peacetime. 4 US presidents out of a total of 45 have been assassinated while in office. It corresponds to a probability of about 9% for a president to die on the job. As a comparison, American soldiers in Iraq had just a 0.4% probability to die during the 2003 invasion. Most high-level leaders take extreme precautions nowadays to avoid all risks, rarely appearing in public, if ever.
But, with the arrival of drone technologies, things have changed for the worse for leaders. The recent assassination of Commander Qasem Soleimani in Bagdad is a case in point. Targeting him using a drone was surprisingly easy and it carried almost no risks for the people who had planned the assassination. Drones are inexpensive and accurate weapons: no government in the world has a monopoly on military drone technology. It doesn't even need to be a drone belonging to a specific armed force: it could be bought, hired, or hacked. So, what would happen if a drone were to "take out," say, President Trump while he plays golf in Palm Beach?
Whatever the case, the assassination in Bagdad has suddenly made the life of all high-level government officers a nightmare. They are not safe anywhere from rogue drones targeting them. Will they have to spend their life hidden in bunkers? Maybe, but perhaps there is a better way: go into secrecy. Imagine that nobody really knows for sure who is the president of the United States. It is rumored that he might be someone named Donald Trump, but most people think it is highly improbable that such a person could really be the US president. So, what sense would it make to drone him?
Farfetched? Maybe, but think about this: it is the way mafia works. You never know who the real mafia bosses are, although there are rumors about this or that person being one of them. That means they are hard to target. Are governments different from the mafia? I would say not. They are mostly criminal organizations dominated by powerful economic lobbies. So, why not to adopt the strategies that the ancient mafia has honed to near perfection over centuries of struggle?
If governments are shady organizations dedicated to criminal activities, then it makes sense for the high profile bosses to quietly disappear from the public view. It is already likely that most of our leaders are just front men for powerful forces hiding behind, then why not go one step further and turn them into virtual leaders? Yes, something like Captain Birds Eye. Actually, he would make an excellent figure for a president: he looks smart, dependable, charismatic, and more. And he would be impossible to assassinate since he doesn't exist. At best, you could assassinate one of the actors playing him, but by using deep-fake technologies you don't even need actors. The president can be completely virtual.
Now, you may think that people will never accept to be ruled by a virtual president. Maybe, but consider that most people, especially in the US, are used to take orders and counsel from a non-existing being. It would take very little to convince them that a virtual president is the best for them. You could even tell them that they can choose their president they like. How about Captain Birds Eye pitted against Ronald McDonald in the next presidential elections?
Eventually, most government officers could become virtual. Maybe it wouldn't be a worse world than the present one, although it might be a little confusing. But it already is, anyway.