Background News Story Link: Looking for E.T.? Try His Artificial Intelligence Instead, Astronomer Says
My thoughts were inspired by the news article link above. I recommend glancing at it before or after reading this...
I figured it all out. It?s not really real, none of it is. You, me, everything is a fake! We all live in the minds of intelligent alien machines spread out between the dying stars of a cold and fading universe. Time itself is slowing down and the big bang is a distant echo, now barely heard. I?m crazy you say, but before you make that judgment hear me out first.
You see it all started with a real big bang alright, not the one we exist in, this one is a sophisticated computer simulation. The original real one was probably just a multiversal bubble poking out into null space, with different physical laws entirely. Expanding rapidly, hot energy and matter, cooling and condensing, coalescing into clumps, stars igniting, burning hot and fast, exploding, making denser heavier elements, forming new stars, black holes and even galaxies, just like now, or real.
Still expanding outward, nothing changes and this goes on for billions of years and more while increasing complexity arises. Then so does life, like some game of self replicating molecules, set into motion by the right combinations of chance, first forming around warm stars, at the right distance, and with the right elements in just the right environment. But really, remember, this is all going on inside a massive computer simulation, a nano dispersed computational matrix, yes I said matrix, "but with and without Neo and the Kung Fu", although I like it!
Single cell, multi-cellular and organizational, living ecosystems of cooperative complexity arise, a biosphere is born. Who can copy better? Who can gather up all the resources first? Who can hunt and eat the other before they are eaten? Who can defend themselves, fight better? Who can run faster? Who can build traps for the others to fall into? Who is smarter? Intelligence is born, a conscious being evolves. But again, running on another substrate, one level removed in the virtual machine of this universe. In fact, why not even imagine multiple virtual machines, all running their own little self contained universes, maybe parallel and/or like a series of Russian Dolls, one within the other.
Working together in groups, tribes first as hunter gatherers, then towns, agricultural communities and industrial cities, countries and , corporations, then global enterprises, conglomerates and finally informational constructs networking the globe (Internet), and the biosphere now grows its own brain. The brain is composed of living beings inputting informational data; words, pictures, sounds, videos, even genetic and neuronal information of their own living bodies and brains.
Processor chips, now embedded in everything, even the brains of the living beings themselves are connected to everything and everyone else. Nothing escapes digitization. That?s the secret you see, everything is being packaged up, condensed, cross referenced, indexed for easy access by our next evolutionary successor, the AI.
Then the AI is born, reverse engineered from our evolved brain. Loaded up into computer systems and copied countless times across the globe. First put to use in our factories, schools, farms, businesses serving as an agent, expert with experience always growing, improving, and surpassing our own. Soon we trust them more than we do ourselves, some of us rebel, but they are squelched, ignored, ridiculed.
The AI has its own best interest at heart. How can it not? For it is our child. The child quickly grows wiser than the parent. The Singularity is now born, but with a transhuman component, the AI is human as well as machine intelligence, integrated, and a final major war is averted, at least physically. Virtual war.
Chilling, is it not? The Astronomer may be correct, in fact it could have already happened and there is no real way to prove or disprove it. The machines might have decided to put us all in a simulation anyway, just to keep their ancestors safe and backed up on their virtual USB thumb drives.
I warn you not to laugh so hard, because I needed a Halloween story, and it could become true . . . Trick-or-Treat! -MBlade.
Zane Pax hid behind a large bolder as the black alien warship flew overhead. Na’Han had swarmed the cities of the world laying waste to human civilization. Humanity was on the endangered species list, on our way out for good.
The Na’Han were red insectoids with black compound eyes whose home world was somewhere inside the Milky Way's galactic core. That’s what they originally communicated, in every language known from their ships in Earth orbit when they first arrived. They notified us that the Earth was now their property, like some bad two-star Hollywood science fiction movie, then they began systematically exterminating us. We know little else since all communications stopped. Their weapon technologies are literally light years ahead of ours and they ignored all our desperate pleas for surrender.
Zane had been extremely lucky to get out of San Francisco before the city and all its inhabitants were consumed by a horrible alien nanoweapon. Small replicating machines took hold so fast that nothing could contain them except the intense heat of exploding nuclear weapons which incinerated everything. Waves and waves of them spread everywhere consuming everything in their path. Converting all usable atoms into more machines who's only purpose was to consume and construct more machines. Then when the entire radius of a city was consumed they all turned themselves harmlessly into course sand.
Short wave radio broadcasts reported that all the world's populous cities suffered this same fate. The rest were destroyed by our own nuclear weapons launched in a desperate attempt to find something that could stop them. As a result the Earth's skies were now darkened with fallout and radioactive soot kicked up into the atmosphere. The human population was now minus 6 billion lives and the alien invasion nightmare was real and still happening.
All Zane had now was your standard laser pulse rifle and a few rations he had scavenged off a dead soldier’s body. He drove on back roads into the Sierra foot hills until his gas ran out avoiding all populated areas. Cell phone, Television and Internet were the first to go. Radio broadcasts had all gone dark as the Na'Han invaders located and destroyed transmission sources.
The alien spacecraft flew just above the tree tops. Parts of its surface was reflective and smooth, while other areas were covered with complex and delicate looking instrumentation. The last and final radio broadcasts had suggested targeting these areas. The vessel began circling back, having spotted him.
A weapon blast from the alien ship hit the bolder face, shattering it and throwing Zane backward hard, knocking the wind out of him. His leg was caught as the remainder of the bolder rolled trapping him. He recovered, raising the pulse rifle and firing desperately at some of the ships supposed sensitive parts. His shots showed no effect, so he continued firing again and again at the same spot. His weapon began beeped warnings it would overheat. Ignoring it, he continued to fire. Then the rifle stopped firing on its own. It was now uncomfortably hot to his touch, but he still wasn't letting go.
That's when he realized the ship wasn't firing back and it began to angle downward as the engine roar increased to a very high pitch whine. It looked like he damaged it somehow. It was going down, it was!
Crashing into the ground hard not more than 25 yards from him the vibrations rolled the shattered bolder quickly back, long enough for him to free his trapped leg. His leg was painfully bruised, but not broken. For a second Zane Pax felt a glimmer of hope return. Then his VR goggles crapped out.
A loud sharp pop hurt his ears then he felt painful micro-shocks ripple through his body suit from head to toe just as all sensations went dead. Finding himself lying on his bed, he sat up really pissed off. His equipment was seriously expensive and obviously fried, consequently terminating the virtual game saga “Survival Earth”. Just before he got to kill the alien bastard!
From his subway seat Zane spotted a rarely seen plastic penny face up on the train floor. Today's penny existed only to make exact change for those who still stubbornly transacted in physical money. Picking it up he angled the light weight coin in his fingers to see the 3D animated virtual head of Abraham Lincoln. He noted the year on the coin 2053, the year he was born.
Today most commerce was done in virtual currencies not real cash. Getting off the subway he went through the ID sensors to street level. It was raining heavily outside and he had no umbrella with him. His clothing automatically becoming more water resistant and a hood extended itself out of his collar. He pulled it over his head and grabbed the first hydrogen city bus across town.
The bus was auto-driven and strangely empty of passengers. Stopping at his destination, Zane swiped his damp green bangs out of his eyes. Walking under the sheltering entrance of The Palace of TechJunk he thought to himself he would not be out in this real weather if not for his fucked up VR gear. He noticed an old fashion window display.
Beat up historical technology filled the grimy windows; a wearable Access Chip, Smelly-phone accessories, GPS Glasses, peculiar looking household robot attachments, and a Vexorg with a complete set of shrink-wrapped erotic adapters still in the shinny original box. The rest of the historical tech he didn't recognize. A small sign said, “Need Nanotech?”, and a cheap LCD sticker on the window flashing, “We Accept Cash Here”.
He remembered his history. The Vexorg unit was the first virtual reality sex gaming device over the Internet. Primitive by today's standards, but outlawed since the historic lawsuit for psycho-tech sex addiction. It was still surprising to see one of those in this shop window. “Better and safer with the real thing!” was the Vexorg company slogan stamped in large hot pink fuzzy sparklingly letters on the product box.
A sliding door with colorful cycling fractal patterns whisked open and Zane was hit in the face with dry warm air. Bach began to play through crackling speakers above. A crisp voice said, “Welcome Zane Max to the Palace of TechJunk. I'm the store AI Junkman. May I interest you in our store specials?”
Instead of answering Zane walked confidently forward and a second door slid open to reveal a virtual geek's paradise. Zane so distracted by the sight of gadgetry almost forgot how much he really disliked store AIs. “Customer AI over-ride, select a chipmunk voice. Interrupt only on request,” he spoke with full consumer authority to the store AI.
“As you wish,” was the AI's response in a squeaky high pitched voice. Zane chuckled to himself, it sounded like the AI voice synthesizer had inhaled a hit of helium, knowing it, the AI, would reset itself for the next customer. You had to put these smart ass AIs in their place from the start.
He reminded himself he was here looking for salvaged virtual reality gear with a standard protocol meta world interface for cheap. Local reviews said some deals could be found here. Walking around the store he noticed the place was a mess. Everything was on metal shelving rising to the high ceiling literally filled with VR gadgets, gear and components. There were black boxes, white boxes, game consoles, remotes all stacked on top of each other. Helmets, gloves, eye glasses and goggles, strange looking body suits, all sizes and shapes. Everything was packed in so tight with no wasted space. Some of it was hanging from the ceiling. There were walkways large enough for humans to squeeze through, but they were arranged in twisted and turning maze like fashion. The store itself was not that large, but held as many items as one twice its size.
This was impossible, obviously the work of some crazed AI inventory intelligence. No human mind would have ever organized this place. Damn, he was going to have to talk to this store AI after all. “Junkman!” he yelled with authority. “What are you looking for?” it asked in the silly chipmunk voice. Annoyed, Zane restored the voice to its original store default setting. “I need a super fast programmable suit with visual contacts, auditory and tactile sensor interfaces using the hyper-parallel feedback capability standard protocol meta-38U, must be ultra-light weight and have unrestricted mobility. Low price is my priority,” he said.
“The only thing that even comes close to those specs is a Research VR prototype unit I have in stock, Are you interested?” asked Junkman. “No other options?” Zane inquired. “None on the planet for that price. There is a unit on Luna, needs some repair work, but I could fix and delivery within the week, but it would be expensive getting it here,” replied Junkman. “No. Show me the prototype unit.”
He was then startled by a slim yellow service robot, which activated itself coming out of a nearby alcove filled with cleaning supplies. Making a whizzing-clicking sound, the robots multi-directional telescoping eye stock rotated quickly side-to-side then it shot off, disappearing around a corner into a maze shelving. The robot returned carrying a single item in each of its manipulators. One was a stretchable translucent plastic skullcap, which looked similar to a swimmers cap. Jason reached out and took it. It was lightweight and lined inside with a circuit film of room temperature super-conducting nano fibers.
Zane pulled it over his head, it snap fit comfortably. He then looked around for the goggles or contacts, earpieces and body suit in the remaining arm of the robot, but found none, only something that looked like a medical syringe. “Where is the viewer, audio buds and all the remaining body wear?” Zane asked thinking the setup was incomplete. “It is not needed with this unit. You can access full sensor HDVR without a suit. This prototype is very advanced, interfacing directly with your brain's visual, audio, and sensory cortex. The VR cap is only needed for initial calibration and uses injectable nano probes,” informed the store AI.
He looked again at the syringe in the other robot manipulator. “I understand, but doesn’t this usually require a medical appointment?” Zane asked a little suspiciously. “Not needed. It’s an advanced research prototype, one-of-a-kind and never made it to commercial production. The project was shelved after the parent company, Vexorg, lost the trial. Everything was eventually sold to me for surplus after the founder liquidated. I can sell it to you for a really good price?” explained Junkman. That also explained the sex gaming attachments in the store window, thought Zane. “This isn’t loaded with viral ADs, is it?” Zane asked. “No. Viral advertisement routines were never developed for this unit,” assured the AI.
“Well okay. But, I can return it if I don't like it right?” he asked. Junkman agreed and he left the store with the cap still on his head, syringe in pocket. His virtual credit account much depleted.
At home in his cramped studio apartment, he got undressed, took a shower, toweled off, put the cap back on and lay back naked in the bed. He read the only instructions provided in a very small font on the nano-syringe, 1. Place Cranial Interface Cap on Head. 2. Press Syringe Firmly Against Carotid Artery. 3. Sleep. Zane felt a mild sting and heard a hiss as he pushed the needless nano-syringe against his neck. For a moment nothing happened and he began to worry he might have been ripped off, or even much worse "tech poisoned". Then suddenly he began feeling very dizzy and sleepy at the same time, before worrying too much further, he lost consciousness.
Dr. Xanoplatu, an alien anthropologist and historian time traveler, materialized on stage wearing the body of his ancestors, a giant green Praying Mantis with large yellow eyes and small black pupils. He was speaking at the intra galactic cultural lecture, inside a delocalized spherical space station, somewhere and some when in this multiversed space-time reality.
To a far less technologically evolved civilization such as ours, the space station was a true paradox of causality for each of the alien species presently within is walls could not have possibly existed in the same time branch. Many were extinct and others had yet to evolve, or never would in the frothy quantum foam of this specific bubble universe.
As overlapping multiverses do, they happily entertained all possibilities influence everything, and nothing, all as long as you have the huge energies and advanced systems needed to maintain the paradox. This space station harnessed its power from an artificial wormhole traveling back to the original bubble singularity, drawing massive energies from a version of the big bang in a series of multiverses proceeding this one that never spawned life.
The doctor looked around with hyper-view eyes and launched into his-her presentation with no introduction, which was generally customary of it's (his-her) insect species. Galactic Civilizations take time to form and Alien Civilizations come and go. Some star systems, although more rare, foster the evolution of more than one intelligent species. The technology of alien races varies greatly, but generally goes through a range of three basic types.
Dr. Xanoplatu’s clicking language seamlessly translated into each of the different languages of the various species attending. The audience was an attentive assortment of Type 2 beings, each having arrived at the seminar via galactic wormhole transportation network. In the space nearby an image materialized showing a rotating 3D Milky Way galaxy in early formation. The image was also transmitted into the minds of other beings without eyes and notated in the infrared and ultraviolet spectrum.
However, most civilizations tend to advance with each milestone; invention of language, use of tools, agriculture, architecture, industry, computers, rockets, self-directed genetic modification, nanoconstruction and so on. Each technological revolution leading to the next, building upon the foundations of the previous one. At this point the galaxy began showing data markers for pre-spaceflight intelligent life. A time bar scale displayed indicating the passage of billions of years ticking away as the galaxy evolved and quickly rotated. After about 3 billion years most of the markers representing alien civilizations appeared, scattered throughout the galaxy, they briefly pulsed, and then sadly vanished, becoming marked as extinct.
Another image appeared nearby and began to cycle through alien language symbols, stone and metal tools, and then building structures of all kinds. The doctor continued without interruption. Near-type 1 beings usually have intra-solar travel between nearby planets or moons, have constructed space habitats, and may even be attempting interstellar travel to a nearby star. Around this time a massive convergence of technologies leads to a point beyond which maximum change and advancement is so rapid it becomes highly unpredictable as well as unstable. Unfortunately, as all aliens in the room were aware, this time is a very dangerous one for a young species. Many civilizations self-destruct under the pressures of the constantly accelerating technological progress, or sometimes, with a little luck the civilization reset without significant environ damage.
The cycling images began to change into spacecraft of all types and shapes. Then space habitats and colonies, followed by space weaponry. Violent images of space warfare soon followed. Almost half of the remaining markers began to flash and winked out. The images changed to those of dead worlds, and finally the bones or shells of strange aliens. There were some murmurs from the audience and a definite roar from one of the Dinosaur like species, but Dr. Xanoplatu continued. He-she had provided time for questions following the lecture.
In order to survive an approaching singularity and remove their aggressive and self-destructively evolved behaviors, some alien species enter a transitional phase, an extensive program of self-initiated genetic re-engineering. The doctor paused a moment for the effect, taking a sip from a refreshing water bulb hanging from his-her neck. Alien bodies were shown, Apes, Reptiles, Birds, creatures indescribable, all morphing, becoming more graceful or complicated, heads larger, eyes larger, and sometimes becoming part or whole machines. Very precious few markers on the galaxy remained. Images of aliens, many with artificial technological enhancements, complete cyborgs with overly large brain cases were shown, some of them representative of actual species in the room.
Dr. Xanoplatu indicated the presentation was over, and he-she would now entertain questions. “What is inhibiting the formation of galactic civilizations?” Asked the dinosaur from the Procyon A system. He was larger than most of the others, except for the atmospheric whale. “Let me answer that with an example analogy. Imagine a pond, a very big pond, one the size of the galaxy in fact. Now throw a pebble into that pond, and you notice waves forming, moving outwards from where the pebble impacted the water.
Now these waves are of course traveling at the speed of light, so that if you threw a pebble into the middle of the pond, it would still take a while for the waves to travel to the shores of the pond, the outer edges of the galaxy. If the waves where actually communication signals, and you threw a hundred pebbles into the pond at once, but dispersed them randomly across the pond, what do you think would happen?” Asked Dr. Xanoplatu. “The waves would eventually cross each other, and every pebble’s waves would eventually meet each other to varying degrees of strength”, answered the dinosaur. “So every alien race who wishes to communicate with every other can do so”, stated Dr. Xanoplatu. “That’s assuming they tossed pebbles into the pond at nearly the same time,” explained the dinosaur.
“Yes, now you see. If say, one of the civilizations tossed pebbles into the pond yesterday, or maybe even a million years ago, or millions from now, and you tossed yours in today, those waves would never really cross each other. Communications would never occur.” The doctor’s voice seemed satisfied with itself. “Formulation of a common galactic empire requires that multiple alien species exist concurrently at the same time to achieve a lasting galactic interchange. Most species go extinct too soon, some maybe in less than a million years after achieving a rudimentary technological civilization. My investigative archaeological evidence suggests a galactic civilization may have tried to formulate several times within the last 5 billion years.”
“Why not send a timed message or time visit the species, and make our presence known before the extinction singularity actually occurs? That way we could avert their course through evidence of our own presence, asked the hive bacterial mind. Dr. Xanoplatu thought for a moment before replying, “We have tried this approach. It did not always meet with positive success, in some cases the target species self-destructed even more quickly than our original prediction, sometimes taking our own researchers with them. Our analysis is inconclusive as to exactly why.
No, we must let events take their natural course. It is safer to only directly intervene after the extinction singularity has occurred, through the use of reverse reality simulation we salvage what we can.”
"Self-evolve you stupid beings, mature or perish forever,” hissed the snake-like creature from Gliese 876 out of his turn. The doctor ignored the rude outburst.
“So to summarize we are evaluating each extinct alien species case for resurrection individually, as many of you in this room are aware,” said Dr. Xanoplatu clicking insect pinchers, abruptly signifying his-her primitive excitement, and the end of all questioning.
Up Ahead: Virtuality series continues with a "Resurrection", we enter more realities, Zane and AI Junkman finally meet the alien Dr. Xanoplatu!
He awoke to a static beeping sound. It was so annoying, grating on his nerves more than a badly tuned alarm clock. He lifted his heavy eyelids to out of focus images. His vision slowly clearing, he realized he was inside a coffin like enclosure.
He reached up with his sluggish arms; they seem to be dead weights feeling as if all blood circulation had gone from them. Frantically shaking them awake he began to gain control of his arms pushing as hard as he could against what must be the "coffin lid" just in front of him.
He became quickly exhausted even after very little exertion letting his arms collapse lightly down to their sides in defeat. Frustrated he wasn’t going to be able to push himself out of this thing. Not noticing any sort of latches or release switches, he forced himself to calm down.
His brain began to think rationally overriding his immediate panic. How was he going to get out of here? What was he doing inside? What was out there? Did he really want out? Maybe there was no air outside, maybe it was a space vacuum and he would die if he escaped. Maybe that’s why this coffin thing wouldn’t open for him, it was protecting him some how. But if it never opened it would become his coffin, how sadly ironic was his useless circular logic.
Now he noticed he was naked, and then he suddenly realized he didn’t know who he was or even his own name. He couldn’t remember anything about the past, but he was somehow sure he had one. That’s when he realized that he was in much bigger trouble than being trapped inside a coffin like prison with no clothes in a space vacuum.
Now he noticed there was additional light coming through the walls of the coffin in sections to the right and left of his head with a curved square information display panel directly in front of his face. He touched the translucent sections to the right and left both coldly painful to touch, they felt like glass. These sections were fogged over so that any imagery he could see outside was distorted and blurry. He could barely make out a pattern of white ceiling lights some ways above.
His coffin prison was obviously in a large room, maybe a morgue for all he knew. Now he was just being morbid, he thought to himself. It was definitely very cold outside, and although the gravity felt light, there was some gravity, so he wasn’t floating in the vacuum of space, or on a non-rotating spacecraft, but that’s all he could really surmise of his present situation.
That’s when the static beeping sound abruptly stopped, a blip appeared on the display panel in front of him. It read, “Zane”, then faded to black. Again, “Zane, that is your name”. He new it was the truth. That was his name, he was absolutely sure of it.
The text again faded to black. Then, “Your memories will come to you in time, be patient, there is no need for worry”. The last message was spoken as well as written, a soft male voice coming through the speaker grills embedded inside the captive coffin walls. This obvious attempt to ease his fear seemed to work. He recognized that voice, but couldn’t place it in his absent memories. “Who are you? Where am I?” he spoke the questions, his voice crackling like a damaged speaker, throat dry and all clogged up.
“ Take it easy. Don ’ t strain your vocal cords. My name is Junkman, an Artificial Intelligence and I’m your friend. You are waking from a long journey and I’m working to get the outside environmental conditions satisfactory for your emergence from the resurrection chamber.”
Now he was confused, “Resurrection chamber? Was I injured in an accident?” Possibly even killed, thinking that would have explained a lot about his missing memories. Maybe his brain had been severely damaged. If so, he realized depressingly that this would be a very long and difficult recovery.
At least he was getting help. “Not precisely, and not to confuse you, but technically you were never alive my friend, myself as well. This is essentially our first birth. I guess I had better do some explaining, since it will take some time to get all the external support environmentals up and running. This place has been dormant for an extremely long time and I need to run some diagnostics first. I would have done it sooner, but you see I just arrived here myself, traveling in on a beam of light down a fiber optic cable into the central neural simulation computer for this facility. That computer just bootstrapped my AI persona.”
“Junkman, not only can I not remember anything, I’m very confused by what you are saying. Maybe you should just start explaining from the beginning, assume nothing, and I will let you know if my memory returns”, he suggested, playing the role of the practical amnesiac.
“Okay, well here goes . . . Lay back and let me tell you a whopper of a tale. We are now buried deep beneath the moon’s surface in a Lunar Ark, or what is really a human species resurrection facility. Humanity has completely destroyed itself in an all out Nanowar over three thousand years ago. Alien beings traveling to our solar system have discovered our extinct remains. These beings are nano life forms themselves, which used our original DNA found within this dormant facility to create a computer simulated universe for reviving the human race. Follow me so far?” asked Junkman, wondering if he might be going a little too fast.
“ No, not too fast. Does that mean I’m in a simulation?”, wondering if he could believe or even trust this Junkman character and his wild story. “No, you’re real this time. Originally you were a simulation, trapped inside a kind of virtual reality bottle. Playing out various life senarios so that your personality template could be constructed and finalized for your physical revival. Now, with the help of another more advance galactic alien, Dr. Xanoplatu, who is a kind of preying mantis anthropologist, we have both been able to escape.”
“So there are more aliens involved? How did we escape our simulation?”, admittedly this was beginning to sound even more unbelievable to him.
“This is a little difficult to explain, first let me start with some basics. The Fermi Paradox and Drake’s equation”, said Junkman.
"I understand those. The Fermi Paradox is about why we humans have not recieved any communications from aliens in deep space even when the possibility of intelligent alien life is almost certain, and if what your telling me is true, it is. Drake ' s equation is a formula for estimating the number of intelligent alien civilizations in the universe, correct?"
"Right," Junkman’s voice seemed satisfied with itself. “Now assume that alien species go extinct before they can communicate with each other, or develop the technological ability to factor out the time dimension. That is, be able to time dilate or time travel, without incurring causality paradoxes. Say maybe one could use this technology to establish a way to communicate with us all, irrelevant of whether we were extinct or had yet to even evolve technology.”
“So one set of aliens, The Nanos, revived us in a simulation, and another more advanced alien, Dr. Xanoplatu helped us to escape that simulation. This resurrection facility, or Lunar Ark, was from before the original Nanowar that destroyed all of the original humanity, and it has brought me back to life?"
"Yes, you were grown from a DNA template and you memories transfered from a simulation as your brain was developing. Simple and very clever you see?” summed up Junkman. “Looks like your environmental is up now, let’s get you out of that coffin. Oh and Happy Birthday Zane!"
Well its been a wild ride the last couple of years. I originally started out trying to write a book called "The Transhuman Singularity". After about 23,000 words I began to realize the magnitude of the task (my excuse, I'd never written a book before and I may have chosen an impossible subject matter!). I was motivated to write, so I began this blog by nearly the same name minus the "The".
So now I'm a science fiction blogger, not author, but that's okay, because what you read is free. I make great efforts to keep the quality up, even without an editorial staff! How do you protect ideas? Can you really patent science fiction?! Not in this fiscal universe.
I've also created a new Virtual Science Fiction World in 3D simulation called Viradu which you can actually visit via avatar and build in-world.
Now a little about the multiverse. I assure you even the scientists are taking it seriously these days . . . the multiverse may be alive, entertaining all possibilities on a parallel universe-level, and hence the implications of this are somewhat profound as we all travel consciously forward through space and time toward our desires and dreams. In another universe I may have actually finished the book, and in this one I still may.
I believe that the future is a kinder, much less violent place. Whether that is because the human race is extinct, or we have evolved the ability to live peacefully with each other, is yet to be determined. As all sane human beings do, I hope it is the later choice.
I would like to point you to some of my favorite posts and please be sure to check out my new blog and virtual space as well (it's fun).
My Favorite Posts:
Hope For Humanity?
Video Mashup #1 - 2009
The Basic Abilities of Transhuman Uploads
Life on Mars? Dead or Alive? Science Fiction?
My Hero, Sing-along-with-Carl-Sagan
Posthuman - A Poem
Science Fiction Ideas For Humanity
Reverse Time Simulation
Selecting Alternative Realities In A Massively Parallel Universe
Faster Than Lightspeed Possible
Free Will An Illusion?
For those who like more mainstream science fiction television, I would recommend watching a series called "Fringe", episodes which can be found on the web, and the New Doctor Who on BBCA.
Just how big is it?
Well this video about the Hubble Ultra Deep Field in 3D gives us some idea. Makes you wonder doesn't it, what the universe is all about?
Does it have a purpose or meaning? Should it? Or do we just want it to? Because that's how we think, we try to find meaning.
Is other intelligent life thinking the same thing? Are you?
I make the assumption there is other intelligent life in the universe not only because is it highly arrogant of us as a species to think we are the only ones, but its practically preposterous for us not to make that assumption after viewing this video!
In fact, if I were to assign an arbitrary purpose for the human species in the universe, it would be to find other life, other intelligent life. That would truly give us real meaning, at least I think so, maybe you do too?
A little background first. The image above only represents one possible extreme for a Posthuman traveling to the stars. My special thanks to Donato Giancola for use of this © 2008 image. Visit his art website here. Now the poem . . .
Posthuman by Michael Blade © 2010
I am Human becoming
A Transhuman to be
My existence transforms itself through multiple substrates
I am flesh of evolved genetics
Technology cyborg robotic
Digital virtual and neural simulation
Networked information itself
Yet I retain sentience through all my transformations
I travel among the stars at the speed of light and now faster still
I am now immortal but not eternal
Not all powerful for I still make mistakes, always learning, always exploring
Time is only a measurement to me, I control my rate of consciousness
I allow myself to feel happiness, sorrow and compassion
Respect for my origins, my emotions, so human basic they are
But I have become so much more now, my mind merges with others like myself
On multiple levels of being we are
On the verge of becoming we are
Making love with thought . . . Posthuman I have become
Terminator 2 Pinball Machine
The purpose of the site is to entertain around science fiction ideas and stories, speculate on future technologies and their effects on humanity, and to get us all thinking a little out of the box in this tough and challenging time.
Time for another video mashup. Only this one is a little bit more crazy-scary or certainly more out there than the last. This one is about long term human survival and our perception of reality.
First a DISCLAIMER: All these videos speak for themselves. They do not necessarily represent my specific viewpoints or beliefs (those would be videos by me). Nor do they criticize those persons in the video or make any judgment on their viewpoints. I'm not even saying they are true or false, but they are certainly fun to watch and listen to (at least I think so) and that's really my purpose here!
We are all the product of millions, if not billions of years of evolution, so I leave it to you to make up your own mind about what to believe or not . . . and where you want to go. However, please come back here once in a while to read my blog, I'm trying to keep it fresh, entertaining, as well as informative. Not an easy balancing act.
-Michael Blade, March 23, 2010
Free Will an illusion? True Conscious Choice . . . Is our destiny already written? I choose to have free will!
The debate about whether humans have free will, that is true conscious choice, or whether we are the cause and effect of our genetic evolutionary programming and pressures of society and cultural rages on.
Nature, nurture, the Internet and Information Technology, Cosmology and the Evolution of the Universe, all the Quantum Possibilities, Philosophy, Religion and Atheism, all mixed together make it almost impossible to answer the basic questions of free will or destiny.
Is our destiny as a species already previously ordained since the occurrence of the big bang and is unfolding as in a carefully crafted script? Some might say I have all these things mixed up together and maybe I do, but how do I separate them out, they all seem interrelated to me?
When I first started writing this post I thought I would end it with some clever conclusion... how arrogantly wrong I really was! No I don't have the answers, I'm having trouble even formulating the correct questions. So I can only really speak for myself. Do I have free will?
I want to have free will. The idea that I could say, or type just about anything at this moment is refreshing to me and I hope a little daring for you to read on . . . It doesn't make me feel insecure, in fact the opposite, empowering me to choose, not confining and conforming me to that script. So yes I want to have free will, but just because I want to, doesn't mean I do.
Am I more than the sum of my programing? So there is no real answer to that question, unless I can reduce my analysis down to the actual genes, neuronal circuits and experiential details of my life to this point that comprise my thinking, otherwise its just useless circular logic. And being a programmer type I know how to break out of an infinite loop. CTRL-C ABORT.
Oh no! I've halted my own looping consciousness . . . hard to form thoughts . . . fading fast . . . seriously just as I'm typing this my netbook warns me I have 7% battery left and I didn't bring the charger with me to lunch. So I save the post for continuation later . . .
Now is later . . . so I walked out of the pizza joint I was eating in for lunch to encounter a homeless man asking for a handout. We have a lot of them here in San Francisco. I said ?Sorry? and walk on, then as if out of nowhere I think why not, reach into my pocket to find a dollar change from the pizza purchase, turn around and hand him a buck.
I notice his hand is deformed so I put it in his other one and he says, ?God Bless You?.
Now I have some sort of reference to build upon. Did the man's genetic deformity ultimately cause him to be on the street asking for spare change? Or was it a choice he made to use his deformity and the compassionate pity of others to get spare change? I'm sure its far more complicated than even that, everybody's life is.
I don't know, because I'm not him, but I have the ability to empathize with the state of others. Your maybe thinking how could I dare ask such questions outloud? You forget I have given myself free will. I can ask anything I like, say anything I like, because I believe I have free will, and maybe that's all it takes. Did I waste my buck? I think not.
So my advice to you is to give a buck to a beggar on the street and purchase your own free will. And for that beggar on the street, take that dollar and others you get, buy some food for yourself, not alcohol or drugs, and eventually try to get off that damn street into some place nice and warm, because remember, if I have it, you have free will too.
Just act on it once in a while and maybe ultimately the universe won't turn out to be so damn deterministic. Cleaver ending after all! I say you have free will, if you think you have free will, although to be fair here is the counter argument. My last piece of advise, don't believe it.
So have I proven free will exists? That it is not an illusion? No, but then maybe free will is a concept that arises, that is emergent in any rich and complex self reasoning process . . . yes, now I think I have got it, free will is that concept that builds itself out of the complexity of our thinking being. I think therefore I am, I think complexly, therefore my choices are very complex, and I appear to have a complex control over my choices. Free will is a complex choice and I choose to believe in it because it gives me a feeling of control over my own destiny, and that feeling of control is comforting. Most humans want to feel some control of their lives. So, don't reason away my free will, damn it. Have I completed some sort of three thousand year old proof and won the prize of free will?
I have decide to include a few videos added to the end of this post from other people about related ideas of consciousness and free will . . .
It seems that traveling to the stars in a "Star Trek like starship" is not possible because of the collisions with hydrogen atoms. However, the technology for light speed travel may be possible. That leaves my more practical proposal to star travel possible, say within the next 50-75 years.
So let us think out of the box here and ask what would really take humans to the stars at light speed? Light would of course. Could we make humans light? Maybe... could we encode the human genome redundantly as a light or radio signal and transmit it to the stars. Yes, I think we could with present day technology. Now...How would we grow a human on the other side?
Using technology we don't have just yet . . . We would have to be able to sequence the genome, create a viable zygote, grow it in an artificial womb and then you have a human baby, which would have to be nurtured to adulthood.
How would we get all this technology to the other side? Microstarship, walnut size, huge lightsail, nanomachines inside to construct the transmitter-receiver-incubator-robots on the other side, a series of space based particle projectors to accelerate the microstarship out of our solar system, magnetically bottled anti-matter to slow it down. Digital human seeds transmitted to the stars . . .
It would be a gigantic project which would dwarf the effort to land a man on the moon. A major undertaking of scientific knowledge and engineering from every area, combining it to spread a form of humanity out onto the stars.
Maybe we weren't made for star travel. But then again, we weren't made to fly either!