With Enough Printer Paper…

The laser jet printers-ten of them so far-hadn’t stopped whirring the moment she brought the first USB stick back.

Sunset Shimmer…no, Princess Sunset Shimmer looked at the room near the Mirror of Worlds that Princess Celestia and Princess Cadence had set up.  From floor to ceiling was piles of text books, reference works, rolls of blueprints, and thousands upon thousands of USB drives that she had made recordings of, well, everything from Earth.  Ponies came from the printers and took another pile of printed notes to be bound, organized, and indexed.

“And, they don’t know how to use magic?”  Princess Celestia asked.

“The other Twilight Sparkle is trying,” Princess Sunset Shimmer said, twitching her new wings in frustration.  These had appeared the first time she had come back through the Mirror to Equestria.  “She’s got some theories, but she doesn’t want to make it public because…”

“I don’t think humans are that irresponsible,” Princess Cadence interrupted.  “They seem to be a decent species, for omnivores that don’t have magic.”

“She doesn’t want to take that risk,” Princess Sunset Shimmer replied.  “And, to be honest, I can’t blame her.  I was human for the last seven years and humans have such a range in comparison to ponies that it’s terrifying.  Greater range for nobility-and a greater range for atrocities.  I’ve read in their histories things that would make King Sombra vomit to consider doing.  And, he practiced blood magic.”

“So, what are your plans for the next time you go back?”  Princess Celestia asked, curiously.

“Same as before,” Princess Sunset Shimmer nodded at the piles of paper that grew, coming out of the printer.  “Bring diamonds to Earth and sell them, use the money to get more reference materials.  We really need to bring more ponies into this,” she noted.  “Dreamers, innovators, and ponies that can think.  Just the improvement to steam engines and the idea of organized agriculture alone is going to change the face of Equestria.”

“And, I want you think ahead,” Princess Celestia noted.  “On both sides of the Mirror.  We can bring innovations that we’ve created here, and make their world better.  And, as the technology improves there, we can make use of that ourselves.”

Princess Sunset Shimmer thought about this for a moment.  “A new court for Equestria?”

“I’m thinking of something larger,” Princess Celestia replied, her eyes thoughtful.  “Twilight Sparkle’s newest student might Ascend soon, and I am tired of some of the deference that alicorns get just because of what we are.  I’m going to create a whole new branch of government.  I’m calling them ‘Ministries’, and the first three are going to be formed on the backs of three alicorns.  The first is the Ministry of Love, and we’re going to help ponies to find what they want and what they love, and help them to be happy.”

“Auntie,” Princess Cadence started to object, “I’m way too busy trying to bring the Crystal Kingdom into the current century, let alone take on another task like this.”

“I expect your job to be more managerial than ‘hooves on’,” Princess Celestia interrupted gently.  “By providing the Ministries with alicorn leadership, I think it’ll cut through a lot of the deference and conservatism that our little ponies have.  The second Ministry is going to be the Ministry of Magic, and I’m giving that one to Twilight Sparkle.  She’ll find new ways to use magic, and if she can cooperate with the other Twilight Sparkle on the other side of the mirror, we can create greater wonders.

“And, finally,” Princess Celestia said, turning to face Princess Sunset Shimmer.  “The third Ministry that I’m going to create is the Ministry of Innovation.  You’re going to find the dreamers, the innovators, and the ponies that can think; and show them everything here, in one form or another.  We’re going to avoid the worst parts of the Industrial Revolution here on Equestria and bring ourselves closer to the stars.”

Princess Sunset Shimmer stood stock still, eyes wide open for a moment.  “That’s…a major task.”

“Nothing less for one of my greatest students,” Princess Celestia replied.

The printers continued to hum, spitting out page after page.

Trope A Day-Precrime Arrest

Precrime Arrest-When you have a massive database of potential behaviors, access to 24/7 surveillance (both public and private), live logging, powerful enough AIs, and a whole bunch of sensors, you can do this, easily.

Except that the moment you do this, you’re in violation of the Covenant.  Very specifically, the Right To Free Will clause, which highly prohibits this kind of tracking for both government and private individuals.  This presents issues with the Ministry of Love, which regularly has to scale back portions of the Friendster system that helps ponies and others find people that would like and love them.  Mostly because the database and tracking software starts to find ponies that are about to do horrible things, and they have to walk a fine line between “letting it happen” and “accidentally informing the right authorities.”  So far, most of the decisions being made are in the “accidentally informing” category, because no-one wants to have some pony with mental issues commit suicide.  Worse yet, they have to keep scaling back because the systems keep getting better at finding these things before they happen.  And predicting the reasons why.  Or catching Changeling infiltrators.  Or spies.

There’s serious talk about calling another Convention to amend the Covenant to allow for this kind of thing, as long as there is no direct, active interference in free will.  The proposed modifications would alter the Right To Free Will article so that the tools can be used in a careful and legal manner.  You can be warned, you can be offered help…but, ultimately your decisions are your own.

The same problem happens in the Griffin Moot, which has a much more developed system (and fewer restrictions on database access) and the Imperial Zebra government keeps a close eye on their own version of the system.  Highly adverted in the Senate and Minotaur Republic, which takes paranoia about loss of free will to extreme levels.  Even proposing this kind of thing opens you up for all sorts of lawsuits and more “passive” shunning behaviors among the minotaurs.