The above video is not an endorsement of this short fictional writing piece, only an introduction.
The Galactic Culture
Galactic civilizations take time to form. Alien civilizations come and go. Star systems almost never have more than one intelligent species naturally, with more than one planet in the habitable zone. Microbial life permeates the universe, but sentience is far more rare. The technology of alien races varies greatly, but generally goes through a range of types.
Pre-type 1 beings are usually limited to a single planet; they evolve via natural selection in a planetary gravity well and become sentient. They may use space travel to colonize or explore other worlds either robotically or in person. Some civilizations never seem to need to venture beyond their home worlds; these civilizations are not the norm. They can be deceptively simple, and since space travel cannot be used to measure their capabilities, caution is advised when contacting these civilizations.
They usually suffer a cataclysmic event, a planetary collision by a large massive body such as a comet or meteor. Their existence is generally short lived on the cosmic time scale.
However, most civilizations tend to advance with each milestone; invention of language and recorded communication, use of tools, agriculture, architecture, industry, computers, rockets, self-directed genetic modification, nano construction and so on. Each technological revolution leading to the next, building upon the foundations of the previous. Unless there is something very unique about a race or their civilization, direct contact is normally avoided until full maturity.
Near-type 1 beings usually have intra-solar travel between nearby planets or moons and maybe attempting interstellar travel to a nearby star. A technological singularity is sometimes reached near this time, which is a convergence of technologies leading to a point beyond which there is maximum change and advancement is so rapid it becomes unpredictable to the species itself. For some individuals of the species this can lead to a condition called future shock, resulting in a backlash to technology or temporary setback.
Once a type 1 civilization has achieved the significant milestone of star travel, contact is usually made. In fact, the civilization may have been under close clandestine surveillance for a long time, with aliens awaiting just this significant event. Unfortunately this time is a very dangerous one for a young race. Many civilizations become highly unstable, self-destructing under the pressures of the constant accelerating change of technological progress, sometimes resulting in a total extinction event (explaining the Fermi Paradox).
This could be an all-out nuclear war, genetically engineered plague, runaway global warming or a nano-replication disaster (gray or green goo). The dangers are many. This is why it is best to avoid contact until type 1 status is achieved and the civilization is deemed stable. Although some type 1 civilizations have been saved from themselves by aliens, these cases are extreme exceptions. It is more likely that they are saved by alternative surviving quantum future versions of their civilizations which have chosen to visit them through alternate-past simulation in the form of alien (i.e. UFOs, Ghosts, etc.) situations. Not entirely unfeasible.
If a natural extinction event has occurred, it is not unusual for another type 1 civilization to reclaim a habitable planet and take up residence in the star system. After all, if they don?t pick over the bones of information, someone else might.
Advancement by extraterrestrial civilizations can be measured by other criteria than space travel, although in most cases space travel coincides with other criteria. These criteria include the amount of energy a civilization can manipulate or measurements of their computational density. Example: Have they reached limits on miniaturization of computers using parallel processor silicon chips, biogenetic DNA molecular processors, quantum optical processors, etc? How many of these permeate their habitable environment? Have they achieved transference of their consciousness into dense computational devices yet?
Finally, in order to survive the approaching technological singularity and remove their aggressive and self-destructive evolved behaviors, pre-type 1 species sometimes begin an extensive program of self-initiated genetic re-engineering and intelligence amplification (usually proceeded by development of a global computing system -Internet). Sometimes this is successful, other times not.
Around this time the species has several optional paths it can take: they can genetically modify their bodies, adding robotics, and nano technology, to essentially become cyborgs, potentially integrating their minds into a group collective, or hive mind (i.e. the Borg of Star Trek). Allowing each individual to think independently or become much more capable than themselves when merged.
Alternately, they could shed their bodies, wiring brains together and immersing themselves inside a virtual reality of their own making, while overlaying it with input from shared external robotic "Body Remotes". Eventually converting brain into pure digital computation and storage. New bodies could then be grown, if wished, but virtual bodies would usually suffice. This option might be called "Brain in a Jar VR" or "The Matrix without Flesh" (or Kung Fu, just joking).
Finally a relatively small percentage, or large percentage would refuse either option, choosing to remain Homo Sapient or whatever. Inheriting the Earth, left behind on a ruined and ravaged world while other more advanced variants, species of post-humans, specially adapted for star travel, spread themselves out among the stars in search of others, aliens, but more like themselves.
Type 2 and 3 beings are orders of magnitude more advanced and different than type 1 beings. They have self-evolved to the point of becoming unrecognizable by their own ancestors. For all intents and purposes they have become immortal gods and judiciously avoid type 1 species, unless their curiosity is peaked, or they?re bored, not likely in either case.
Unlike type 1 civilizations, which shuffle across the stars by slow sub-light propulsion, type 2 civilizations warp space-time itself. By controlling and using massive energies at their disposal, they hurtle themselves nearly instantaneously across star systems. It is difficult to generalize what type 2 beings do, but more simply they busy themselves with cataloging and recording civilizations, alive or dead, along with interesting cosmic phenomena. They seem content to build networks of interstellar wormholes and other large galactic infrastructure projects, possibly Dyson Spheres (again, this Clarke, Niven, Ringworld RAMA theory seems to fly into the face of the Fermi Paradox) , shared only with other type 2 species in alternate realities.
Type 3 beings are the rarest of all, because of the young age of the universe, about 13.7 billion years; it is believed that there has not been enough time for a significant number of them to arise. There are maybe only a few existing, if that is the proper term. They busy themselves exploring other galaxies and other parallel universes, sometimes studying universes in which their species may never have arose or are significantly different in some way.
Type 3 civilizations are masters of multi-verse physics. They basically engineer universes. Sometimes they end up creating their own parallel universes somewhere or some when, which they promptly move into, winking out of existence entirely, never to return. It has been suggested, that the creation of this big bang universe bubble is the result of just such an experiment, possibly an abandoned type 3 tinker toy.
If a Type 4 species even exists, ?they? are beyond the perceptive capabilities of any of the other sub-types combined. It is suggested it-they may have become a being of pure quantum energy-thought, weaving itself into the parallel multi-dimensional fabric of the meta-verse engine itself, becoming "God", for lack of a better description, in the future, past, and present for all realities.
-Michael Blade, Just Sci-Fi 's
We all find ways to deal with the crisis of global economy; from emotionally supporting our friends and family who receive pink slips; to finding ways of tightening our own belts and save a little more (while simultaneously paying off those credit cards). We may pay a little more at the grocery store, a little less at the gas pump.
I myself seem to focus less on the really big questions I use to ask myself. Are we alone in the universe? What is the purpose of humanity?
These questions, and whether this economic down turn will in some way slow the release of CO2, hence slow the rate of global warming and give us precious time to set a new course to renewable energy technologies, or ultimately stall The Singularity itself. I certainly can't tell you.
Could it be that the planet as a whole, "Humanity-Internet-Earth-The-Collective-Emerging-Intelligence", thinking on a new global world-wide-level, reacting to our planets rising fever by taking some metaphorical "ECONOMIC COLD SHOWER"? No, that would just seem too crazy right? Well maybe I'm not. Others are thinking along these lines as well.
Meanwhile my science fiction virtual world keeps crashing, while simultaneously being vandalized by rebel avatars! Nothing really seems quite normal to me, because at the moment I write this, it seems like I am living in a science fiction world, an overpopulated and poorly allocated world.
Humanity (my definition): A struggling and hopeful new species trying to survive and understand their fellows on the third planet orbiting their common yellow star, as it slowly turns in a spiral galaxy while the universe rapidly expands, all the while being possibly observed by other hidden aliens? To our hopeful and triumphant survival, the arrival of variant post-human species to nearby moons, planets and stars.
Great science fiction writers contribute so much to our very society; to our dreams and nightmares of the very future. They inspire and warn our imaginations of what can be; challenging the notion of what it means to be a human. All of this done at the same time they entertain us.
Recently I've been building dedication collage placards for those who are no longer living (although their ideas and works are still very much alive). I have placed them in my new science fiction themed virtual world called Viradu.com . I thought you might enjoy seeing them as well. They bring back so many memories for me as a kid reading and watching them.
This was just too funny (Although, Rated Somewhat Mature). So I guess this is the first video mashup for 2009!
Some current news . . . here is a link to a nice interview of Ray Kurzweil by silicon.com, whom I had the pleasure of meeting very briefly in person at the 2008 Singularity Conference in San Jose, CA.
Also recently I have been working very hard at creating a new virtual world call Viradu.com with a blog / vlog (video log) and instructions for downloading and installing the necessary software (Client Virtual World Viewer), a browser for viewing virtual worlds of the opensimulator.org variety (open source code derived from SecondLife.com).
Hollywood has a Christmas present for you! Its the releasing of a re-make of "The Day The Earth Stood Still", with Keanu Reeves in it. I'm excited, since this is one of my favorite old time black-and-white science fiction movies from late 1951. I hope they stay true to the original 1951 movie or maybe you would enjoy reading the original short story, "Farewell to the Master", by Harry Bates.
Happy Holidays to you all, and I should be setting up a holiday scene in Viradu, as well as transferring copies of the Science Fiction Cafe from Second Life. So if your interest and have some time during this busy season, check it out. . . Viradu.com
Now after shamelessly plugging myself twice in this post, how about a little science fiction blogging you say! . The beginnings of an idea for a story below. Since I have been laid up after knee surgery (no little nanobots to repair my knee just yet!) and the virtual world launch, I haven't had much time for this blog. My apologies to my readers, so here are a few paragraphs of some background material I began writing just recently. Not sure were I'm going with it at this time, but your welcome to comment and help guide me with some ideas of your own.
Humans had become immortal. Many well respected critics questioned whether we were still human because of it, their sound voices and reason ignored.
We had gone so far as to make copies of our appearance and mannerisms in machines which could host organic neural networks, our fleshy meaty brains transported around inside titanium steel bodies covered with beautiful tank grown artificial skin.
People had begun opting for nano components and robotics implants for life extension, and there seemed to be no downside or limit on its potentials. Even our societies attitude had changed, adapted when faced with the inevitable grim reaper.
Thus the cyborgs were born. Technology was becoming more affordable all the time as various extension plans came with higher tax brackets and health triple-life-plus coverage. However many could not afford it just yet, unfortunate souls still died under general health quality plans.
There were a very few, who turned away from the technology, and even organized and rebelled against it . . .
So you may be asking what does this Transhuman Singluarity mean?
Well, Transhuman implies transitional, or transformational humans. Human beings enhanced or changed by technology, but still recognizable as being human. Singularity is the Technological Singularity (not to be confused with a black hole), which is a convergence of technologies leading to a point beyond which there is maximum change and advancement is extremely rapid (exponential growth as opposed to linear). Some believe this may involve the creation of self improving Artificial Intellegence.
So I have merged these two topic subjects to imply the transhuman singularity is a rapid enhancement of humans by technology leading to the unpredictable posthuman(s) through the integration of humans with artificial intelligence, cyborg implants, life extension treatments, virtual reality augmentation, mind uploading, and space migration technologies.
The results of this are very speculative, and hence I have written science fiction stories to describe this. The dangers are many, possible extinction, but the rewards are just as great, immortality, god-like powers, and super knowledge.
One of my big worries is that as a consequence of this increasing technological acceleration, humanity may become self-endangered, we have a potential for an "Extinction Singularity". The uncontrolled hard take off of technology versus a more controlled soft climb, but I would bet a lot of this is influenced by population density and planet resource utilization. I suggest that may be one explanation for the Fermi Paradox.
That's why I would strongly suggest that humanity build a Lunar Ark as soon as feasibly possible. Then continue to keep it up to date as the technology advances, as a sort of "Singularity Insurance".
I fondly remember as a kid staying up with my dad, past my bed time, to watch the original Star Trek TV series and discussing afterward the ideas and morals of the story. I also remember the fun I had with my brother and dad building and launching solid propellant model rockets. I guess that made me a childhood dreamer with an interest in science. In addition to reading great science fiction by Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, and working a summer job with my cousins to buy my first "home computer" (TRS-80 Model I). Still short on money, my dad helped make up the difference, and I was soon on my way to becoming a computer nerd with an appetite for science fiction. I dedicate this work to my father who inspired me as a child to dream the impossible.
STAR TRAVEL BY LIGHT WAVE!
Unfortunately, I don't believe humanity will travel to the stars inside normal size starships. However, our dreams will come true, we will make it to the stars. The real question we should be asking ourselves is, will we be the same human beings when we finally get there?
I believe we are first destined to digitize ourselves into cyberspace, then transmit redundantly at the speed of light to nearby star systems. By using Microstarships employing nano technology and light sails, it should be possible to first send them ahead at near sub-light speeds, building receiver stations on the other side, waiting to receive transhumans, ageless, traveling on a beam of light. After that, we could engage ourselves studying the new alien solar system, or sleep until the next hop comes online. Who knows what we will find? or become? The options are nearly limitless as long as you free your mind and think outside of the box.
Here is the first "VIDEO MASHUP SERIES". By combining theses videos together in "gulps", you can learn about various ideas and be entertained... Youtube does this through key tags, but I watch and filter each video for the mashup.