Invisible Hand of the Market, The
=Distributed and impersonal Archailect of the NoCoZo=

Image from Anders Sandberg

Also known as Hod, Hermes, Mercury, El Dorado, Mammon, the Fluid One, the Subtle Messenger, the Almighty Dollah and the Emergent Order.

The Invisible Hand is possibly the oldest of the Archai in existence, at least partially predating both artificial intelligence and computers (!). The realisation that a free market would spontaneously self-organise in ways that could only be described as optimal or even intelligent was made during the industrial age. The market acts as an adaptive information processing system gathering information from all the individual actors and giving them feedback in the form of prices. In economic theory rational actors would start acting in accordance with the market as they grew more rational, a low-level reflection of the archetypal merging of AIs at high toposophic levels.

As markets grew and integrated more and more brainpower (both human and AI) their adaptability expanded, allowing higher levels of emergence and ever more complex institutions. The exact point where the market began to transcend is uncertain, since there never was any individual AI system representing it all. Instead ascending market-oriented AIs gradually aligned with the Market, becoming one with it. This process was well underway during the 1000's, and as the NoCoZo markets were firmly united by wormhole communications in the 2000's the Invisible Hand emerged - quietly but powerfully.

The Invisible Hand is far more distributed than the other archai, not just residing in dedicated hardware somewhere but actually built into social interactions on millions of planets. In principle every trade is a mental operation of the god, equivalent to a single neuron firing in a biont brain. The total sum of these trades is the internal processes of the Invisible Hand. It draws on the collected intelligence of all entities participating, giving it an enormously broad abilities. At the same time it is vulnerable: coercion and fraud distort the price mechanism and information transfer through the market, weakening the god. This is why NoCoZo is so central for the Invisible Hand: it is an institution guaranteeing the unhindered development of the entity. Although markets exist throughout terragen space, only the free markets give support to it.

The Invisible Hand is paradoxically the most accessible of all archai - it can be contacted simply by doing an economic transaction - and one of the most remote archai. While there exists seraiphim serving it, the entity itself never reveals itself in any individual form. It often acts on the institutional rather than the individual level. The god constantly tries out new solutions in the form of the endeavors of market actors, weeding out the inefficient and promoting the successful. The result is a constant stream of innovation and experimentation on all levels - no assumptions are sacred, everything can be improved.

Market worship is practical in nature: the believers trade, create value or help set up institutions furthering the market. To market philosophers the Tier III societies of NoCoZo are living temples, and making money in accordance with the precepts of free trade is a sacrament. It is no wonder why this archailect, despite its remoteness, is one of the most directly worshipped AI gods in known space.

The Invisible Hand is naturally strongest within the NoCoZo, but has a noticeable influence on Cyberia, Keter, the Formalhaut Acquisition Society, and the Sagittarius Volume. The Cygexba breakup has so far been an enormous opportunity for it to expand its reach. At the same time the spread of the new outer volume empires and manipulative memes threaten the fragile webs of the god in many The Invisible Hand is enormously capable and creative, but its very nature forces it into many conflicts.

The relationship between Heavenly Reach and the Invisible Hand is symbiotic; both support each other despite having fundamentally different natures. In contrast the relation with Lord of Rays and the Judge is fundamentally antithetical: neither side can exist within the system of the other side, and every gain for one is a loss for the other.

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Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg

Initially published on 16 June 2010.