Podcast No. 1 – Posted on iTunes 7/14/2010   2 comments

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Podcast No. 1 on The Truths of Terasem – Posted on iTunes 7/14/2010

 

(Text used to record podcast)

TITLE:  Introduction to the Truths of Terasem

SUB TITLE:  Far reaching ethical principles to guide us and optimize our future, as computers become self-conscious.

SUMMARY:  During the latter part of this century, humans may transcend biological origins.  Many may move their identities into computers, experiencing speeds of thought thousands of times those they formerly possessed, developing replicator nanotech so that further advances take place in an almost explosive way.  What codes of ethics can guide us safely through this era, termed a “Singularity”?  The Truths of Terasem seek answers to these and other related questions.

(Fred)  Hi!  We’re Fred & Linda Chamberlain, and this is a new podcast series, on The Truths of Terasem.

(Linda)  These are far reaching ethical principles to guide us and optimize our future, as computers become self-conscious.

(Fred)  Those of us affiliated with Terasem go over this set of principles annually.  In this podcast, we’ll break that up into a weekly review; make it easier and more interesting.
Next week we’ll jump forward about midway through the year to be in sync with our annual timing.  If you want to see the full Truths of Terasem online, in advance, go to either terasemweb.org or terasemfaith.net.

(Linda)  The Truths as originally written are very condensed; here, we’ll discuss and interpret them, with tips from Terasem’s Founders. 

(Fred)  The Truths of Terasem ask and answer six fundamental questions about Terasem:    Who? (is it?)    What? (does it do?)    When? (will that happen?)    Where (does this take place)?    Why (should we care)?  And…    How? (do we make it work)?   Each of these questions is more general, in the actual truths.  The comments were simply to illustrate!

(Linda)  “Terasem” means “Earth-Seed”, doesn’t it?

(Fred)  Sure does!  Suppose the Earth was the only place in the universe where intelligent life existed right now.  And suppose during the next few centuries, we change ourselves into a lifeform that spreads out into the Universe, at either the speed of light or more.  That way, instead of being lifeless, the rest of the universe would become filled with harmonious life.  The Earth would have “seeded” the universe with life.

(Linda)  Awesome!  How long would something like that take?

(Fred)  If speed of light was an absolute barrier, it could take billions of years. But if we got around that…

(Linda)  Like with nanobots… and wormholes?

(Fred)  Uh huh!  Then, it might be less than a thousand years.  So, if Earth has the only intelligent lifeforms now, and we go out into the Cosmos, staying in touch with each other like we have an Internet with no time lag, wouldn’t that be like the Earth was a tiny seed, and a huge super-consciousness grew out of it?  Finally, wouldn’t a high-speed awareness like that be almost like what we might presently call a “God”?

(Linda)   That’s a wild idea!  Speaking as someone who’s been a lifelong atheist, is it really necessary to use terminology like that?

(Fred)  Well, more people might understand it that way.  Arthur C. Clarke said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” but now with the explosive growth of technology Ray Kurzweil talks about in The Singularity is Near, even “magic” seems too tame.    In only a decade or two, self-conscious cyberbeings may be thinking at thousands of times the rate of bio-humans.  They may be using replicator nanotech to do things which sound impossible, right now.  Those who still think at biological speed may be almost unaware, day to day, of what’s going on.

In 1980, Carl Sagan in his “Cosmos” TV series warned that one push of a finger on a “red button” could start a global H-bomb war that would turn this Earth into a “Hell.  Soon, replicator nanotechnology could make worlds like “Matrix” or “Terminator” possible.  The TOT foresee this.  They’re designed to protect against a “hellish” outcome of these kinds, turning things into so much of “Heaven”, on Earth and maybe throughout the universe, that it’s not easy to describe any other way.

(Linda)  So, filling the Cosmos with ethical, intelligent life would be like creating a “God” … and a “Heaven”?

(Fred)  That’s the way some of us visualize it.  The TOT ask, really, “What might humankind become?  They help us take our first baby-steps down a “yellow brick road” to the stars.  Humanity may be right where Carl Sagan predicted once when he said, “If we do not destroy ourselves, someday we will go to the stars.”  The Truths of Terasem now help us to start building a ladder up which we can try to climb… safely… ethically… to the stars!

My first look at the Truths of Terasem was on a plane ride last fall, coming back from Hawaii.  With the Kindle edition, I was able to quickly scan the whole set of them, yet it took a while for it to come into focus.  It was like a table full of picture puzzle pieces and you try to see, in your mind, how they all might fit.

(Linda)  I remember that!  You kept saying, “Jeeze!  You gotta look at this stuff; it’s an incredible pattern of principles!  It all fits together!  It fits!”

(Fred)  Yeah!  It was like one of those 3D pictures that look like a bunch of random color smears.  Then a picture flickers in and out, and you ‘get it’. 

Anyway, let’s take a look at the wisdom packed into the TOT.  We said earlier that we’re going to start mid-way through the year, for those of us who review them frequently.  But, for those who are new to Terasem, here’s a quick summary of the ones we’re skipping over, for now.

The Truths start by asking “Who is Terasem?” and they answer it this way: “Terasem is a collective consciousness dedicated to diversity, unity and joyful immortality.” 

All right!  What’s a “Collective Consciousness”?  Is it like the behavior of a beehive?  What about the social network of great whales, worldwide, communicating in ways we don’t yet understand?  Isn’t the Internet like the stirrings of a giant neural network?  What kind of network is Terasem?  As you’ll see later, it’s a group of individuals who pledge to honor each other’s individuality, find joy in each moment, and pursue this endlessly.

The first Truth in the “Who” section says:  “(1.1) Collective: All consciousness anywhere that accept the Truths of Terasem are the sum and substance of Terasem.”  All this is saying is that those who accept each other’s individuality and aim to be grateful for each moment, endlessly, can create a near perfect community.
 
 (Linda)  The next Truth explores different ways of seeing how people link together, doesn’t it?

(Fred)  It sure is, Linda.  Here it is:  “(1.1.1) Accept others as part of the We of I and the collective will become clear for you.”  To be part of Terasem, you really have to deeply respect the individuality of others.  Just as every one of the neurons in your brain has a unique, individual character and interconnection with the others, Terasem expects its final network to be composed of a wide variety of individuals.
 
What about the others being “part of the We of I”?  Here, the message is simply that what we are, as unique individuals, depends on the existence of one or more “collectives”, of which we are members.  Becoming part of a community dedicated to going on endlessly, at the same time respecting the individuality of the others there and relishing each moment is a very, very positive vision of personal destiny.  Most people hunger for this.  Here it is!

 (Linda)  Yes, but some people worry there might be a kind of “Borg”, like in Star-Trek, trying to absorb everyone.  Couldn’t it turn out to be like that?

(Fred)  No.  It’s just the opposite of what some fear, where a group of faceless individuals is what happens.  Let’s look at an example most people can relate to.  Handbooks on major sports teams emphasize each of the individual players.  Baseball is an interesting example.

Each player has a “dual personality” in the game, in addition to what he or she is with family and friends.  There’s a batter personality and a field-player personality.  We might go so far as to say that each baseball team is a collective of its players, each of whom is in turn a collective of at least two personalities, and each of these is a unique collective of brain centers, including a unique left brain, right brain, lower mammalian cortex, and reptilian cortex atop the brain stem.

(Linda)  “Collective consciousness” may still sound ominous to a lot of people.  Maybe it’s just a gut reaction that’s hard to get rid of?

(Fred)  Perhaps the next Truth helps:  “(1.1.2) Collectivity means unity of diversity not mandatory homogeneity.”  Let’s get to the heart of that.  The players on a baseball team cannot be just cookie cutter clones of Ted Williams, for example.  There would be terrible weaknesses in this, since a team needs a wide variety of individualized skills.  When we get to the Terasem pledge, diversity is just as important or more, than unity.  The individuality of each person is not just respected, but honored.  “Mandatory homogeneity”, on the other hand, is absolutely rejected.  This is extremely important to keep in mind, as we encounter the next of the Truths.

(Linda)  I hate to say it, Fred, but we’re almost out of time.
 
(Fred)  Okay.  Let’s wrap it up.  Next week we’re going to get into the ideas of time-compression, for those who do an identity transfer into cyberspace.  Earlier, I forgot to mention… and it’s mindboggling, that in only a few decades, self-conscious cyberbeings may think and interact with each other at such speeds that during each one of our years, a thousand or more seem to pass for them.”

The Truths of Terasem in Section 4.0, “When is Terasem”, delve into the rapidity with which the Singularity is expected to unfold, and how this will seem to both those who prefer to stay in biological form and those who leave biology behind and become part of the cyber-civilization that’s going to be our next “New Frontier”.

(Linda)  Star-Trek always referred to Space as the “final frontier”.  Will cyberspace replace “real space”?

(Fred)   Not at all!  It will be hard to spread intelligent life outward and fill the entire universe with it, remanufacturing planets as we go, if we stay rooted here on Earth!  Terasem, with its “spacecasts” already in progress toward other stars, is not exactly letting the grass grow under its feet!  We’ll be expanding on this and similar ideas, in the weeks ahead!
 
(Linda)   In closing, we’d like to encourage all listeners to explore Terasem.  Set up your own mindfiles.  There’s no cost right now when you register for and use Terasem’s research program at CyBeRev.org.

(Fred)  “Mindfiles”?  What are they?  Go to mindclones.blogspot.com for in-depth discussions of this by Martine Rothblatt.   There’s one other thing.  Terasem is a strong and growing network; to be part of it, all that’s needed is to “join”.  All the details are at terasemfaith.net!

We’ll be talking about all this more on podcasts to come, but, one thing at the outset, and it’s important.  Terasem has a priority list; those who join earlier are going to be waking up in cyberspace earlier.  That’s a biggee!

(Linda)  Absolutely!  First in, first out.  Don’t be left behind! 

(Fred)  Remember, self-conscious cyber-beings may soon make things happen in the real world so fast that the term “Singularity” fits.  Our next podcast digs straight into that, so don’t miss it!

(Linda)  And this is a personal invitation, for you…

(Fred)  Come with us – into tomorrow.

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Posted November 13, 2010 by Truths of Terasem - Podcasts in Uncategorized

2 responses to “Podcast No. 1 – Posted on iTunes 7/14/2010

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  1. I read lots of weblogs lately and your own is 1 of the most effective. I like reading via you that obvious too also crafted. Your internet page goes proper to my personal bookmarks. I acquired a few nice inspirational thoughts reading this.

    Response:

    Thanks very much, Rosetta Stone. We expect to have more interaction to offer you in the future! (See next comment, below.)

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  2. Below you will see a discussion that began in email between Edgar Swank (Ed-below), President of ACS (the American Cryonics Society) and ourselves, Fred & Linda Chamberlain (FNL-below). Our thanks to Edgar for permission to cross-post email exchanged here (with minor editing), for viewing by others, some of whom may wish to add comments of their own.

    BEGINNING OF DISCUSSIONS – COMMENTS AND RESPONSES:

    Ed – I’ve listened to the first two podcasts, and I thought I would respond with some thoughts of my own.

    I think in one podcast you say something like that life in virtual reality can proceed at electronic speeds, so that one might spend years in virtual reality and return to the “real” world to find only minutes had passed.

    My thought, once one had entered a (sufficiently robust) virtual reality, who would want to come back to the real world. “How you gonna keep ’em down on the farm?” What could the “real” world offer that is not surpassed by the virtual one? In virtual reality, the laws of physics need not apply. Anything you wish for immediately comes to pass. (Added FNL comment – yet to be drafted.)

    FNL -Things will move faster in VR, but the ability to perfectly emulate the real world will be marginal. In VR, if you looked into a virtual microscope at 100x, would you see good magnified images of exactly what you expected? N ot likely, unless the VR had a massive database of what everything would look at from any position within it, at any angle with respect to it, magnified to 100x. So real-world trumps VR from a “data richness” standpoint. Of course, from VR you can peer into the real world via sensors, nanobot avatars, and etc., but how do you handle the mismatch of speed of thought and action to the real world?

    Ed -Yes, you would see exactly “what you expected.” The AI VR-manager would have a massive database of all recorded scientific knowledge, plus all the observations of all the inhabitants of all the virtual universes it was managing. Views from different positions and angles can be computed on the fly. And, what it doesn’t have data for, it can just make up something plausible. Since the AI is much smarter then any of the inhabitants, such views will be completely convincing. That is unless the AI is programmed to be completely honest, and the inhabitant asks, “Is this the real world, or are you just screwing around with me?” (Added FNL comment – yet to be drafted.)

    Ed – Mismatches of speed/thought are not a problem. Virtual world and Cyberbeings can always be slowed down to match real world, if desired. However if your non-virtual friends don’t slow down with you, you won’t see them again in a recognizable form, except as virtual copies. (Added FNL comment: Here, we agree. If you don’t surf the wave where the ride is fastest, you’ll be ‘toast’ in VR and miss the best part of the show. Lee Corbin, over twenty years ago, wrote a fantastic short story named Occupation Immortal where the main character got to witness the heat death of the end of the universe, courtesy of a faster running version of himself that slowed his ‘run time’ down sufficiently.)

    I have personally experienced this. A few years ago I looked up my old high school and college best friends. They had all changed so much, we no longer had anything in common. I suppose I had changed also, but was blind to that.

    FNL – One approach to the speed of thought/action mismatch would be to use nanobot avatars that would look and feel like being in a real, biological body, but scaled down to 1/10 size, meaning 1/1000 the mass of your hand, etc., so you could move about in the real world that you would be like a shadow passing to a biological human being; you would experience the 1000x thought acceleration without tearing a full size body to pieces due to speed of motion. And… so forth. This is only a very fragmentary response, but at least some possible ways of looking at it.

    Ed – I expect it will be possible to visit and experience the real world through avatars as you speculate, or android or cyborg bodies, but I don’t think many will want to. A visit to the real world will be like a very bad camping trip. (Added FNL comment – yet to be drafted.)

    The nearest we can come to virtual reality now is via dreaming, especially lucid dreaming. I have had a few of these.

    The real world has flying cars? In virtual you can fly like Superman, or teleport. You want companionship? The AI, which is smarter than you, running the virtual world can give you any number of virtual persons, made to order. Some people may want communication with other virtual realities, or with other persons in either virtual or real space, and no reason that can’t happen. But the first sign of discord, and a virtual doppelganger can be seamlessly substituted on both sides. In virtual reality, you are God in your own private Heaven, with as many devoted worshipers as you might like. Any fantasy you can imagine can be experienced. And when you run out of ideas, the AI can provide more. (Added FNL comment – yet to be drafted.)

    FNL – A truly ‘synthetic reality’ like this, even if given the apparent ‘independent action of the beings in it’ such as are depicted in various Star Trek holodeck episodes, would be stale by comparison of a VR with independent beings of approximately the same magnitude of thought and action speed as yourself.

    Ed – I disagree. An AI sufficiently developed can easily simulate apparently “independent” virtual beings. The AI is smarter than you; the virtual beings will be also; and will be smart enough to hide it if that is what makes you most comfortable.

    However, there is always the option of allowing Cyberbeings uploaded from real people into your virtual reality. But I predict such visits will be short and infrequent, human discord being what it is. (Added FNL comment – yet to be drafted.)

    FNL – Second Life is, in my way of looking at it, and embryonic start at bringing people together globally, which will full body sensory suits and sensory perception, will enable the kind of immersion in VR so well depicted in Matrix, or to project that back into the real world of a different character, in the movie “Avatar”.

    Ed – Second Life is a complete waste of time. Ways of emulating VR in the real word will be tried, but when full uploading is available they will be found wanting. It occurs to me, here is an answer to the Fermi Paradox. Any civilization sufficiently advanced to construct virtual realities disappears into them and never comes out. (Added FNL comment – yet to be drafted.)

    FNL – The conjectures of the conventional high-speed computer community has already begun to stretch its imagination amazingly. There’s a Kurzweil.Net page that points this out, titled: From cosmism to deism | KurzweilAI, at:

    http://www.kurzweilai.net/from-cosmism-to-deism?utm_source=KurzweilAI+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=b38c694a2f-UA-946742-1&utm_medium=email

    Ed – I took a look at the file. It doesn’t say much about virtual reality, just that sufficiently advanced AI may be able to create real universes, and may have created ours. (Added FNL comment – yet to be drafted.)

    In another place, you seem to say that Cyberpersonhood may be limited to the “kind,” or at least some kind of rehabilitation might be required. Why? If each virtual reality is (optionally) private, who cares if the occupant is kind or not? You want to be Hitler and kill 6,000,000 (or 100 billion) virtual Jews? Why not? We just need to isolate such people from the real world (although such an interaction could be simulated), and from other virtual realities where they’re not wanted. (Added FNL comment – yet to be drafted.)

    FNL – The idea is here that there will be a meeting ground where “unkind” people will no more be able to get in than a fly can get through a screen door. If you want in, there are rules of behavior that go beyond ridding yourself of bad breath and body odor. If you want to create and live in a hell, why not? Except, then be careful that a garbage truck doesn’t simply take you away. Other hellish worlds may be more advanced than yours and dispose of you as easily as an apartment dweller gets rid of cockroaches that he/she finds annoying. More likely that the “managing AI (referred to below) will simply maintain internal cleanliness”, perhaps encompassing entire galaxies. The nearest ‘hell’ could be 2000 light years away. It may be hard to ‘thumb a ride’ there.

    Ed – I expect so, but there will be many meeting grounds where the “unkind” can get together if they want. I assume the default initial condition will be one uploaded being in one isolated virtual reality. Any ingress of other Cyberbings will require consent of the inhabitant. (or inhabitants in cases of multiple occupancy). And any misbehavior will result in instant eviction. But the misbehaver may not be aware of this, as virtual beings replace the cyberbeings seamlessly. If the Country Club won’t admit you, create your own virtual copy. Since your hell world will be isolated, it’s not an annoyance to anyone. We must hope the AI programming respects property rights. (Added FNL comment – yet to be drafted.)

    It occurs to me that a no limits virtual reality might be bad for one’s mental health. As one commits more and more outrageous virtual atrocities with no negative consequences, could one lose all self-control, even become insane? But not to worry. Should that happen, the managing AI can just rewind you to the point of no return (determined retrospectively) and give you a warning and maybe a little virtual psychotherapy. There should be no need to physically isolate virtual realities by real world physical space. The boundaries are inherent in the programming.

    The mental health scenario happened to the Tom Cruise character in “Vanilla Sky.” But that was a rather poor VR, which just emulated a continuation of his previous screwed-up life in the real world and didn’t give him much control. (Added FNL comment – yet to be drafted.)

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