05 May 2011

The World Is Pregnant - Revisited

A long time ago, before language, the loudest we could be was to literally scream. Then our collective consciousness started to emerge with the invention of language.  Then writing systems replaced word of mouth.  Today we can be heard throughout the world at the speed of light because of our technologies.  Because we can instantly communicate our ideas globally, our collective consciousness is taking a real foothold, and it isn't letting go. This blog is the story of where it is going.

The following blog was originally written and published as 3 separate parts on Plus Ultra Technologies.

John Volanin

Lets begin with our personal take on a question so large its almost a joke to ask; What is the meaning of life? To us, the meaning must tackle all significant aspects of reality and consciousness. It must be Darwinian, yet still touch on the ultimate wishes of humanity (which are echoed in religion). It must be a simple equation, like E=MC², but it can’t be an unconscious mathematical equation, rather a simple phrase. It is where we have always been going, and on a cosmic scale will inevitably continue. Its cerebral, with a hint of love. The meaning of life is to Meet, Merge, and Repeat.

We can see this trend repeating when reflecting back on the path we’ve traveled thus far. Our abilities to meet and connect with one another has caused problems in the past. In earlier times if you were different, it meant we could enslave you like an animal, but now we are coming to terms with the fact that we are all human. Sure things aren’t perfect, and some of you may still have a pessimistic vision of war, greed and discrimination, but the big picture presents a wonderful, ever increasingly optimistic picture. For as long as we can trace back, IQ and life expectancy have been rising, while poverty and violence are diminishing. Even with the horrors of modern warfare, terrorism and corporate greed, the global picture ever improves. Virtually all our problems today will be cured via technology in time, even environmental worries. Solar power is projected to be cheaper than coal power in just 2 years. Worried about over population due to radical life extension? Well, we won’t stay biological for long, and we won’t stay confined to just this planet either.

So we are meeting, in person and via technology. With greater exposure to other cultures, we are slowly but surely moving towards a one world mentality. The next phase is a complete merger. Famed futurist Ray Kurzweil best expressed the trend of merging in The Singularity Is Nears’ first chapter; The Six Epochs. Kurzweil charts out how ever increasing complexity of information rises to greater order of information at an ever increasing rate; from atoms, to DNA, to single celled life, to multi cellular life, to brains, to technology. He then predicts a merging of technology and brains in Epoch 5 and finishes in the 6th Epoch when “The Universe Wakes Up.”

So first we Meet, wether it be two  atoms meeting to form a molecule, or two super intelligences encountering one another on the high seas of reality. The next phase is to Merge. When it comes to intelligence, a merge is mutually beneficial. All conflicts of interest will be absolved with a merge, and all of their knowledge will be mutually gained. Even their subjective nature will be gained through a complete merger of consciousness, because the only way to truly know someone, is to literally become them. Then what is left to do? Repeat. With a little imagination we can foresee our mastery of reality marching on as we continue to offer mutually beneficial merging with other conscious entities. Perhaps our power will become so great we will be able to rewrite the rules of reality itself, similar to a quantum fluctuation, but controlled. With such power reality could be rewritten to accomodate consciousness better, and produce a more pleasurable reality for consciousness. we believe we will continue this trek to master and know all, and even leap back to capture those conscious entities that didn’t make it. Bringing them into the collective consciousness would feel like heaven, perpetually increasingly wonderful, forever.

Assuming existence is infinite (in possibilities or actualized) the Meet, Merge and Repeat cycle has no foreseeable end.

Second thoughts on part 1
Some may say, a super intelligence would not come back for such primitive conscious entities. Well, first, all of us individually are conscious experiences that are of unique value. Second all life is goal driven, even a brainless plant reaches for the sun. Life needs a goal. Stagnant states suffer entropy. Without a goal it would stagnate and die. If it reaches all of its’ own goals, perhaps it would be forced to look back and see what rational goals it failed to achieve in previous states. When it comes to humans the most popular ultimate goal would be to reach heaven. Even if that sounds to an atheist unspeakably impossible, to an intelligence that has mastered reality, heaven would be achievable. And if you think there just isn't enough time to master reality, let alone time travel, then I suggest you consider how far we’ve come with just our biological brains. We have so many cosmological decades ahead of us that this universe is still an infant.

John Volanin

Evolution of Sex:
Everything evolves, including our reproduction methods. Reproduction started off asexual. One cell would simply divide into two, and so on. For a very long time not much happened, until multicellular life forms exploded on the scene and introduced sexual reproduction. Now, it took two beings of opposite sex, of the same species to donate random bits of information (in the form of DNA) to create offspring. This new form of reproduction allowed for evolution to occur at a much faster rate.

While it hasn't been observed yet, the obvious next evolution of sex would be for all of that species, or at least a large proportion of that species to merge together, input what they deem appropriate “DNA” (in the form of knowledge), and produce something greater than all of them. Likely what would emerge would be them reborn as a collective consciousness. This new form of mass copulation (merging) would cause a paradigm shift as immense as the rise of multicellular life. We imagine this would be the final evolution of sex, as from there on out it would probably be pure merging of intergalactic conscious entities. For human beings this step is being aided by technology (most notably the internet), because it has to be. The rate of technological evolution is occurring faster than people are reproducing and biologically evolving.

Epochs of Knowledge:
Knowledge started on this planet even before humans arrived, and has went through many stages. In a nod to Ray Kurzweil’s Six Epochs we will describe these as The Seven Epochs of Knowledge.

It started in Epoch 1: Memory/Learning. Even goldfish, contrary to popular belief, have a memory and can learn to do basic tricks. This is the foundation of all knowledge.

The 2nd Epoch of Knowledge is Crude Communication. Territorial marking, body language, and squawking to alert others of danger are a few examples of crude communication. This allowed for basic alerts to be expressed, but no complicated concepts could be expressed this way.

The 3rd Epoch is Drawing. This allowed early man to realize his memories or imagination as images on cave walls. Some images were just portrayals of animals and situations he/she encountered and remembered, but the most magnificent images are those of Therianthropes and abstract patterns and lines. These findings clearly show advanced imagination started at a early time in human evolution.

The 4th Epoch of Knowledge is Spoken Language. This invention of humans could convey complex information, but can be very easily corrupted, as memory and interpretation can vary. Certainly many great legends were lost due to lack of a written language.

Which brings us to the Epoch 5: Writing Systems. Information could now be easily kept intact much longer than spoken word. Today we store information in various ways from paper to hard drives, from written text to video footage. In the future we may have full immersion virtual reality, yet still one aspect won't fully be conveyed; the subjective experience.

Epoch 6: The Home Of Knowledge. When these writing systems were applied to portable material, such as the book, they directly led to “homes” for the knowledge, most commonly known as a Library. Today, this epoch appears to have reached its' peak in the form of the internet. Here information is digitally available globally, and instantly, from anywhere our smart phones get a signal. The information is linked to similar information by hyperlinks. A.I. further links us to other relevant information via genetic algorithms, and even basis relevance by previous users.

 We are so close to our knowledge now that the only foreseeable Epoch would be complete merger of consciousness with all of the world's knowledge in Epoch 7: A Collective Consciousness. A collective consciousness would have all of it's knowledge so readily available that the retrieval process itself would disappear. Perhaps we can compare it to having all of your information always stored in quick access ram memory. Epoch 7 would require a mass merger of human consciousness described in The World Is Pregnant Part 1 and would coincide with the end of sexual reproduction as we know it.

Second Thoughts on Part 2
With the evolution from asexual to sexual reproduction one could argue death also arose, which is the biggest problem we face today. And while that is partially true, something much greater arose out of it; consciousness and knowledge. It is technology (from knowledge) which has escalated so much that we are living longer and in greater peace. Its is bringing us closer and closer together. The transhumanists' ultimate goal is often portrayed as achieving radical life extension/immortality though technology, thus solving a problem we have been dealing with since sexual reproduction introduced it.

John Volanin

facebook - Today over 600 million users are creating it, inputting so many thoughts, so much information. Facebook is part of us all. Facebook is our baby.

Many futurists say we are becoming ever connected with technology, and that is true. But when many of them get into detail we’ve heard them point to virtual worlds like Second Life and World of Warcraft as an insight into our future lifestyles, and how we will change our avatars to look like whomever/whatever we want. While this might be the case in the short run, they easily may be just as mistaken as the futurists of the early 1990’s who predicted the “information super highway” would be like “tv, but better”. No, the internet didn't turn out like TV at all.

The non linear nature of the internet allowed us to do so much more. The same goes for our future selves. Why would we want to emulate the restraints of physical reality in a virtual world? Would we want location restraints limiting us to audible and visual fields? Wouldn't we find a non-local presence more useful? Even digital avatars start to sound tailored for simpler minds when you consider the word's origin. The word avatar comes from Hinduism, and is used to refer to a supreme being manifesting a form capable of interacting with humans in human reality. Its imaginable that our collective future self will only present itself as one physical image (or avatar) when we need to interact with less mature minds,presenting itself in a form compatible with the thought processes of the beings we desire to communicate with. Facebook is already much more than Second Life and World of Warcraft could ever dream of becoming, and thats because of the freedom of interaction it allows; a smorgasbord of thoughts, feelings and happenings.

For many of us, probably most, Facebook is the most detailed personal account of our physical existence. We list our friends with whom we share our thoughts, pictures, and jokes. We post links of interest and plan events. We list all our contact information, but really, who cares? Facebook is the most complete communication device ever created. We “check in” when we go out. We list our sexual orientation and our relationship statuses. How many times do you find yourself checking Facebook a day, perhaps just to take a peek. For many of us its pretty often, often enough that Facebook is being used more hours a day than any other website. It evokes a greater sense of personal meaning to connect and interact with others. Some have said Facebook has killed privacy, and while Facebook’s privacy policy is arguably over-stretching, most of us are still willing to post away private information. Why? Because Facebook connects us all so intimately. We are with our Facebook friends and family even when we aren't with them in the physical. They are still all there on Facebook, waiting for a status update, reply, joke, or poke.

The internet was the ideal environment for us to grow something spectacular. It is the home of knowledge. Search engines are its maps, and hyperlinks its roadways. Facebook grew in this cyber world, and it is now the largest object in the internet. Facebook has grown so large and connected that even competitive sites like Twitter are easily integrated to transfer posts on both sites. China has its own Facebook equivalent which is literally translated into People People. When the time comes, a Facebook/People People merge will be an easy task. The realm of technology evolves at a much faster pace than biology, and clearly engages in linking and merging very frequently; cloud computing, Facebook integration, smart phones, bluetooth, 3G, wifi. If you can think of a way to link technology, some programer is probably already working on it.

The desire to be more and more connected is addicting, because it is fulfilling. Imagine if you were one of two people left on this planet. How significant would the goal of reaching that one other human be to you? That is the power of connecting.

Facebook started out on our computer desktops, now we can feel it’s heart beating away with every new message vibrating on our Facebook connected cell phones. As technology progresses, our intimacy with Facebook will only grow stronger. In a few years Facebook will be in augmented reality glasses. Possibly a decade later it will be imbedded directly into the brain, feeding us updates as thoughts. Perhaps even as automated updates, for example; the individual may set parameters wherein a certain emotion or stress level is reached, then that emotion will be sent out as a status update. It will be technological telepathy.

As we emotionally and physically merge with technology an ever increasing sense of oneness will ensue. We will have many more Facebook friends as physical location becomes less and less meaningless. This feeling of oneness will grow so intimate that people will stop obeying the rules of government, and start following those of Facebook. Facebook today has 600 million users. The entire population of USA is only 300 million. What happens when virtually everyone is intimately connected? Just imagine how painful it would to be exiled from that connected world. Governments as we know them are destined to break down as we all unite into a collective consciousness. Facebook is already like an external body part, one which constantly connects us. Once we can emotionally feel our collective consciousness emerging it will be the most exhilarating orgasmic experience in Earth’s history. There won't be a need for a friends list anymore, because no one will be left out. This will be the moment of rebirth, the moment we transcend.

Facebook is the most complete communication device ever created.
Facebook at six hundred million users and counting is unstoppable.
The world, as a whole, is pregnant. And Facebook is our baby.

Jeremiah Bilas

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